John James Audubon was born in Haiti, illegitimate and multi-racial, in 1785. His birth name was Jean Rabin. At first he liked to shoot birds and said it was a bad day when he shot fewer than 100 birds. Later, he came to regret this.
What made him such a great and important man?
Firstly, he was a magnificent artist. He didn't just paint pretty bird pictures, he portrayed fellow creatures, each an individual being with a living spirit and self-awareness. From then on we were obliged to see them that way forever.
That is why he was a genius and why we now see ourselves as inextricably bound to all life on earth. That is why there exists an Audubon and other such important societies that cherish the web of life.
Audubon was a visionary genius who entrusted this vision to us.