“Andrea Wulf’s new book The Invention of Nature reveals the extraordinary life of the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and how he created the way we understand nature today. Though almost forgotten today, his name lingers everywhere from the Humboldt Current to the Humboldt penguin. Humboldt was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. Perceiving nature as an interconnected global force, Humboldt discovered similarities between climate zones across the world and predicted human-induced climate change. Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he inspired in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art and literature. In The Invention of Nature Wulf brings this lost hero to science and the forgotten father of environmentalism back to life.”
Alexander von Humboldt has been described as the last great ancient geographer concerned with understanding an eclectic cosmography as well as the first modern geographer. He is honored far and wide throughout Europe and especially Latin America for his explorations, but given that people are confused as how to categorize him and classify his contributions, today he is under-appreciated. Geographers need to reclaim his memory and call his extensive, globetrotting work on a wide range of subjects ‘geography.’ Here are more articles and videos on the man that I feel geographers should publicly champion as their intellectual ancestor the way that biologists point to Darwin.