That's the title of an article by Jedediah Purdy in the August 13 issue of the New Yorker. It's an article anyone interested in conservation and environmental protection should read. Purdy's article distinguishes the two strains of environmental protection that I discussed: the romantic-transcendentalist strain associated with Emerson, Thoreau, and Muir and the resource conservation strain associated with Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot.1
The article begins by describing Madison Grant's career "at the center of the same energetic conservation circle as Roosevelt." It continues by pointing out that in 1916 he published a book, The Passing of the Great Race, or The Racial Basis of European History, in which he argued that people of Nordic ancestry were natural aristocrats being overtaken by lesser races.2 Adolf Hitler wrote Grant an admiring letter.
Now it's clearly the case that just because Grant was a racist doesn't mean that all of them were, but Purdy points out that Roosevelt and other prominent conservationists in the resource conservation strain praised the book, and he argues that their aristocratic opinion of themselves in relation to other people is consistent with their aristocratic approach to conservation that focused on "noble" animals and ignored others.
Purdy admits that racist tendencies in the romantic-transcendentalist strain of conservation are gentler, but he still finds evidence of them in Muir. He points out that in this regard, Muir fell short of Thoreau who wrote in Slavery in Massachusetts, "What signifies the beauty of nature when men are base? . . . The remembrance of my country spoils my walk." But even Thoreau "proposed that American greatness arose as 'the farmer displaces the Indian even because he redeems the meadow, and so makes himself stronger and in some respects more natural.'"
In short, Purdy describes a troubling history of racism among environmentalists. I encourage you to read the whole article.