The Sustainability Issues in Peter Kalm’s "Travels into North America"

By Li-Ru Lu.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 6, 2014 $US5.00

Peter Kalm was a Finnish/Swedish naturalist, botanist/scientist, and travel writer in Colonial America. Travels into North America (1753-1761), Kalm’s representative work described the North American colonies in the eighteenth century. Exploring how "Travels into North America" offered incisive commentaries on the European colonists’ short-sighted thinking and wasteful use of North America’s natural resources, this study argues that Kalm’s work offered an alternative to the dominating and predominant expansionary ethos of the age, and therefore helped introduce the idea of sustainability and initiate a minority tradition of environmental concern into early American environmental history. In this way, Kalm became an essential precursor to conservation history of the following two centuries.

Keywords: Peter Kalm, “Travels into North America,” Environmental Sustainability

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 2, March 2014, pp.19-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 6, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 621.325KB)).

Li-Ru Lu

Associate Professor, The Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Li Ru Lu is an associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature in National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan. Her Research interests are Early American Literature and Literature-and-Environment Studies. She wrote a book entitled Writing the Wilderness Environment: The Discourse of Wilderness Preservation in the Texts of American Environmental Writers (published by Bookman Publishing Company in 2005). Also, she writes many papers published by the academic journals in both Taiwan and America, including “Alexander Wilson’s Delineation of Early America’s ‘Lovely Face of Nature’" (published by Humanitas Taiwanica in 2010), “Representing the Natural Space in Pre-revolutionary America: an Ecocritical Understanding of John Bartram” (published by The Journal of Contemporary Thought in 2012), “Voyaging to the New World and Narrating Discovery: Peter Kalm’s Delineation of New England in Travels in North America” (published by Review of English and American Literature in 2012), “Early National American Identity-building in John Kirk Townsend’s Narrative of a Journey” (published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities in 2013), and so forth.