Environmental movement

Environmental movement

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The environmental movement, a term that includes the conservation
Conservation movement
The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....

 and green politics
Green politics
Green politics is a political ideology that aims for the creation of an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, social liberalism, and grassroots democracy...

, is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement
Political movement
A political movement is a social movement in the area of politics. A political movement may be organized around a single issue or set of issues, or around a set of shared concerns of a social group...

 for addressing environmental issues.

Environmentalists
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 advocate the sustainable
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 management of resources and stewardship
Stewardship
Stewardship is an ethic that embodies responsible planning and management of resources. The concept of stewardship has been applied in diverse realms, including with respect to environment, economics, health, property, information, and religion, and is linked to the concept of sustainability...

 of the environment
Environment (biophysical)
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

 through changes in public policy and individual behavior. In its recognition of humanity as a participant in (not enemy of) ecosystems, the movement is centered on ecology
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

, health
Health
Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain...

, and human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

.

The environmental movement is represented by a range of organizations, from the large to grassroots
Grassroots
A grassroots movement is one driven by the politics of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures...

. Due to its large membership, varying and strong beliefs, and occasionally speculative nature, the environmental movement is not always united in its goals. At its broadest, the movement includes private citizens, professionals, religious devotees, politicians, and extremists.

History of the movement


The roots of the modern environmental movement can be traced to attempts in nineteenth-century Europe and North America to expose the costs of environmental negligence, notably disease, as well as widespread air and water pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

, but only after the Second World War did a wider awareness begin to emerge.

The US environmental movement emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with two key strands: preservationist such as John Muir
John Muir
John Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions...

 wanted land and nature set aside for its own sake, while conservationists such as Gifford Pinchot
Gifford Pinchot
Gifford Pinchot was the first Chief of the United States Forest Service and the 28th Governor of Pennsylvania...

 wanted to manage natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

s for human use. Among the early protectionists that stood out as leaders in the movement were Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

, John Muir
John Muir
John Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions...

 and George Perkins Marsh
George Perkins Marsh
George Perkins Marsh , an American diplomat and philologist, is considered by some to be America's first environmentalist, although "conservationist" would be more accurate...

. Thoreau was concerned about the wildlife in Massachusetts; he wrote Walden; or, Life in the Woods
Walden
Walden is an American book written by noted Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau...

as he studied the wildlife from a cabin. John Muir founded the Sierra Club
Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892, in San Francisco, California, by the conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president...

, one of the largest conservation organizations in the United States. Marsh was influential with regards to the need for resource conservation. Muir was instrumental in the creation of the world's first national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

 at Yellowstone in 1872.

During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, several events illustrated the magnitude of environmental damage caused by humans. In 1954, the 23 man crew of the Japanese fishing vessel Lucky Dragon 5
Daigo Fukuryu Maru
was a Japanese tuna fishing boat, which was exposed to and contaminated by nuclear fallout from the United States' Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, on 1 March 1954....

was exposed to radioactive fallout from a hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll is an atoll, listed as a World Heritage Site, in the Micronesian Islands of the Pacific Ocean, part of Republic of the Marshall Islands....

. The publication of the book Silent Spring
Silent Spring
Silent Spring is a book written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin on 27 September 1962. The book is widely credited with helping launch the environmental movement....

(1962) by Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson
Rachel Louise Carson was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement....

 drew attention to the impact of chemicals on the natural environment. In 1967, the oil tanker Torrey Canyon
Torrey Canyon
The Torrey Canyon was a supertanker capable of carrying a cargo of 120,000 tons of crude oil, which was shipwrecked off the western coast of Cornwall, England in March 1967 causing an environmental disaster...

went aground off the southwest coast of England, and in 1969 oil spilled from an offshore well in California's Santa Barbara Channel
Santa Barbara Channel
The Santa Barbara Channel is a portion of the Pacific Ocean which separates the mainland of California from the northern Channel Islands. It is generally south of the city of Santa Barbara, and west of the city of Ventura....

. In 1971, the conclusion of a law suit in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 drew international attention to the effects of decades of mercury poisoning
Mercury poisoning
Mercury poisoning is a disease caused by exposure to mercury or its compounds. Mercury is a heavy metal occurring in several forms, all of which can produce toxic effects in high enough doses...

 on the people of Minamata.

At the same time, emerging scientific research drew new attention to existing and hypothetical threats to the environment and humanity. Among them were Paul R. Ehrlich
Paul R. Ehrlich
Paul Ralph Ehrlich is an American biologist and educator who is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology. By training he is an entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera , but...

, whose book The Population Bomb
The Population Bomb
The Population Bomb was a best-selling book written by Paul R. Ehrlich and his wife, Anne Ehrlich , in 1968. It warned of the mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals, and advocated immediate action to limit population growth...

(1968) revived concerns about the impact of exponential population growth. Biologist Barry Commoner
Barry Commoner
Barry Commoner is an American biologist, college professor, and eco-socialist. He ran for president of the United States in the 1980 US presidential election on the Citizens Party ticket. He was also editor of Science Illustrated magazine.-Biography:Commoner was born in Brooklyn...

 generated a debate about growth, affluence and "flawed technology." Additionally, an association of scientists and political leaders known as the Club of Rome
Club of Rome
The Club of Rome is a global think tank that deals with a variety of international political issues. Founded in 1968 at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome, Italy, the CoR describes itself as "a group of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of humanity." It consists of current and...

 published their report The Limits to Growth in 1972, and drew attention to the growing pressure on natural resources from human activities.

Meanwhile, technological accomplishments such as nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...

 and photos of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 from outer space
Outer space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

 provided both new insights and new reasons for concern over Earth's seemingly small and unique place in the universe.

In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment
The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was an international conference convened under United Nations auspices held in Stockholm, Sweden from June 5–16, 1972...

 was held in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, and for the first time united the representatives of multiple governments in discussion relating to the state of the global environment. This conference led directly to the creation of government environmental agencies and the UN Environment Program. The United States also passed new legislation such as the Clean Water Act
Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. Commonly abbreviated as the CWA, the act established the goals of eliminating releases of high amounts of toxic substances into water, eliminating additional water pollution by 1985, and ensuring that...

, the Clean Air Act
Clean Air Act
A Clean Air Act is one of a number of pieces of legislation relating to the reduction of airborne contaminants, smog and air pollution in general. The use by governments to enforce clean air standards has contributed to an improvement in human health and longer life spans...

, the Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

, and the National Environmental Policy Act
National Environmental Policy Act
The National Environmental Policy Act is a United States environmental law that established a U.S. national policy promoting the enhancement of the environment and also established the President's Council on Environmental Quality ....

- the foundations for current environmental standards.

By the mid-1970s anti-nuclear activism had moved beyond local protests and politics to gain a wider appeal and influence. Although it lacked a single co-ordinating organization the anti-nuclear movement's efforts gained a great deal of attention. In the aftermath of the Three Mile Island accident
Three Mile Island accident
The Three Mile Island accident was a core meltdown in Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania near Harrisburg, United States in 1979....

 in 1979, many mass demonstrations took place. The largest one was held in New York City in September 1979 and involved two hundred thousand people; speeches were given by Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other movie awards and nominations during more than 50 years as an...

 and Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader is an American political activist, as well as an author, lecturer, and attorney. Areas of particular concern to Nader include consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government....

.

Since the 1970s, public awareness, environmental science
Environmental science
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems...

s, ecology
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

, and technology have advanced to include modern focus points like ozone
Ozone
Ozone , or trioxygen, is a triatomic molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic allotrope...

 depletion, global climate change
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

, acid rain
Acid rain
Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it possesses elevated levels of hydrogen ions . It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen...

, and the potentially harmful genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Scope of the movement


Environmental science
Environmental science
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems...

 is the study of the interactions among the physical, chemical and biological components of the environment.
  • Ecology
    Ecology
    Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

    , or ecological science, is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment.

Primary focus points


The environmental movement is broad in scope and can include any topic related to the environment, conservation, and biology, as well as preservation of landscapes, flora, and fauna for a variety of purposes and uses. See List of environmental issues. When an act of violence is committed against someone or some institution in the name of environmental defense it is referred to as eco terrorism
  • The conservation movement
    Conservation movement
    The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....

     seeks to protect natural areas for sustainable consumption, as well as traditional (hunting, fishing, trapping) and spiritual use.
  • Environmental conservation is the process in which one is involved in conserving the natural aspects of the environment. Whether through reforestation
    Reforestation
    Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation....

    , recycling
    Recycling
    Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

    , or pollution control, environmental conservation sustains the natural quality of life.
  • Environmental health
    Environmental health
    Environmental health is the branch of public health that is concerned with all aspects of the natural and built environment that may affect human health...

     movement dates at least to Progressive Era
    Progressive Era
    The Progressive Era in the United States was a period of social activism and political reform that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s. One main goal of the Progressive movement was purification of government, as Progressives tried to eliminate corruption by exposing and undercutting political...

    , and focuses on urban standards like clean water, efficient sewage handling, and stable population growth. Environmental health could also deal with nutrition
    Nutrition
    Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet....

    , preventive medicine
    Preventive medicine
    Preventive medicine or preventive care refers to measures taken to prevent diseases, rather than curing them or treating their symptoms...

    , aging, and other concerns specific to human well-being. Environmental health is also seen as an indicator for the state of the environment
    Environment (biophysical)
    The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

    , or an early warning system for what may happen to humans
  • Environmental justice
    Environmental justice
    Environmental justice is "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies." In the words of Bunyan Bryant,...

     is a movement that began in the U.S. in the 1980s and seeks an end to environmental racism
    Environmental racism
    Environmental racism is a sociological term referring to policies and regulations that disproportionately burden minority communities with negative environmental impacts....

     and prevent low-income and minority communities from an unbalanced exposure to highways, garbage dumps, and factories. The Environmental Justice movement seeks to link "social" and "ecological" environmental concerns, while at the same time preventing de facto
    De facto
    De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

     racism, and classism. This makes it particularly adequate for the construction of labor-environmental alliances.
  • Ecology movement
    Ecology movement
    The global ecology movement is based upon environmental protection, and is one of several new social movements that emerged at the end of the 1960s. As a values-driven social movement, it should be distinguished from the pre-existing science of ecology....

     could involve the Gaia Theory, as well as Value of Earth
    Value of Earth
    In green economics, value of Earth is the ultimate in ecosystem valuation, and important to value of life calculations. It begins with the simple problem that if the Earth ceases to support life, and human life does not continue elsewhere, all economic activity will also cease.-Methods of...

     and other interactions between humans, science, and responsibility.
  • Deep Ecology
    Deep ecology
    Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. The philosophy emphasizes the interdependence of organisms within ecosystems and that of ecosystems with each other within the...

     is an ideological spinoff of the ecology movement that views the diversity and integrity of the planetary ecosystem, in and for itself, as its primary value.
  • Bright green environmentalism
    Bright green environmentalism
    Bright green environmentalism is an ideology based on the belief that the convergence of technological change and social innovation provides the most successful path to sustainable development.-Origin and evolution of bright green thinking:...

     is a currently popular sub-movement, which emphasizes the idea that through technology, good design and more thoughtful use of energy and resources, people can live responsible, sustainable lives while enjoying prosperity.
  • The anti-nuclear movement opposes the use of various nuclear technologies
    Nuclear technology
    Nuclear technology is technology that involves the reactions of atomic nuclei. Among the notable nuclear technologies are nuclear power, nuclear medicine, and nuclear weapons...

    . The initial anti-nuclear objective was nuclear disarmament
    Nuclear disarmament
    Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated....

     and later the focus began to shift to other issues, mainly opposition to the use of nuclear power
    Nuclear power
    Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

    . There have been many large anti-nuclear demonstrations
    Demonstration (people)
    A demonstration or street protest is action by a mass group or collection of groups of people in favor of a political or other cause; it normally consists of walking in a mass march formation and either beginning with or meeting at a designated endpoint, or rally, to hear speakers.Actions such as...

     and protest
    Protest
    A protest is an expression of objection, by words or by actions, to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations...

    s. Major anti-nuclear groups include Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
    Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
    The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

    , Friends of the Earth
    Friends of the Earth
    Friends of the Earth International is an international network of environmental organizations in 76 countries.FOEI is assisted by a small secretariat which provides support for the network and its agreed major campaigns...

    , Greenpeace
    Greenpeace
    Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

    , International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
    International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
    is a non-partisan federation of national medical groups in 63 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens who share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation...

    , and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service
    Nuclear Information and Resource Service
    The Nuclear Information and Resource Service is an anti-nuclear group founded in 1978 to be the information and networking center for citizens and organizations concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation and sustainable energy issues...

    .

Property rights


Many environmental lawsuits question the legal rights of property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 owners, and whether the general public has a right to intervene with detrimental practices occurring on someone else's land. Environmental law organizations exist all across the world, such as the Environmental Law and Policy Center
Environmental Law and Policy Center
The Environmental Law and Policy Center is a Midwest environmental advocacy organization. It focuses on clean energy, public transportation, and land use. The Center was largely responsible for drafting and successfully advocating the Illinois Energy Efficient Commercial Building Act...

 in the midwestern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Citizens' rights


One of the earliest lawsuits to establish that citizens may sue for environmental and aesthetic harms was Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference v. Federal Power Commission, decided in 1965 by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The case helped halt the construction of a power plant on Storm King Mountain in New York State. See also United States environmental law and David Sive
David Sive
David Sive is an attorney, environmentalist, and professor of environmental law, who has been recognized as a pioneer in the field of United States environmental law, and is credited with helping create the field of environmental law...

, an attorney who was involved in the case.

Nature's rights


Christopher D. Stone's 1972 essay, "Should trees have standing?" addressed the question of whether natural objects themselves should have legal rights. In the essay, Stone suggests that his argument is valid because many current rightsholders (women, children) were once seen as objects.

Environmental reactivism


Numerous criticisms and ethical ambiguities have led to growing concerns about technology, including the use of potentially harmful pesticide
Pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

s, water additives like fluoride
Fluoride
Fluoride is the anion F−, the reduced form of fluorine when as an ion and when bonded to another element. Both organofluorine compounds and inorganic fluorine containing compounds are called fluorides. Fluoride, like other halides, is a monovalent ion . Its compounds often have properties that are...

, and the extremely dangerous ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

-processing plants.

NIMBY syndrome
NIMBY
NIMBY or Nimby is an acronym for the phrase "not in my back yard". The term is used pejoratively to describe opposition by residents to a proposal for a new development close to them. Opposing residents themselves are sometimes called Nimbies...

 refers to public outcry caused by knee-jerk reaction to an unwillingness to be exposed to even necessary developments. Some serious biologists
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 and ecologists
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

 created the scientific ecology movement
Ecology movement
The global ecology movement is based upon environmental protection, and is one of several new social movements that emerged at the end of the 1960s. As a values-driven social movement, it should be distinguished from the pre-existing science of ecology....

 which would not confuse empirical data with visions of a desirable future world.

Modern environmentalism



Today, the sciences of ecology
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

 and environmental science
Environmental science
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems...

, rather than any aesthetic goals, provide the basis of unity to most serious environmentalists. As more information is gathered in scientific fields, more scientific issues like biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

, as opposed to mere aesthetics, are a concern. Conservation biology
Conservation biology
Conservation biology is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction...

 is a rapidly developing field. Environmentalism now has proponents in business: new ventures such as those to reuse and recycle consumer electronics
Consumer electronics
Consumer electronics are electronic equipment intended for everyday use, most often in entertainment, communications and office productivity. Radio broadcasting in the early 20th century brought the first major consumer product, the broadcast receiver...

 and other technical equipment are gaining popularity. Computer liquidator
Computer liquidator
A computer liquidator buys computer technology and related equipment that is no longer required by one company, and resells it to another company...

s are just one example.

In recent years, the environmental movement has increasingly focused on global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 as a top issue. As concerns about climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 moved more into the mainstream, from the connections drawn between global warming and Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

 to Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

's film An Inconvenient Truth
An Inconvenient Truth
An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former United States Vice President Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming via a comprehensive slide show that, by his own estimate, he has given more than a thousand times.Premiering at the...

, many environmental groups refocused their efforts. In the United States, 2007 witnessed the largest grassroots environmental demonstration in years, Step It Up 2007, with rallies in over 1,400 communities and all 50 states for real global warming solutions.

Many religious organizations and individual churches now have programs and activities dedicated to environmental issues. The religious movement is often supported by interpretation of scriptures. Most major religious groups
Major religious groups
The world's principal religions and spiritual traditions may be classified into a small number of major groups, although this is by no means a uniform practice...

 are represented including Jewish, Islamic, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, Christian and Catholic.

Radical environmentalism


Radical environmentalism emerged out of an ecocentrism
Ecocentrism
Ecocentrism is a term used in ecological political philosophy to denote a nature-centered, as opposed to human-centred, system of values. The justification for ecocentrism usually consists in an ontological belief and subsequent ethical claim...

-based frustration with the co-option of mainstream environmentalism. The radical environmental movement aspires to what scholar Christopher Manes calls "a new kind of environmental activism: iconoclastic, uncompromising, discontented with traditional conservation policy, at time illegal ..." Radical environmentalism presupposes a need to reconsider Western
Western philosophy
Western philosophy is the philosophical thought and work of the Western or Occidental world, as distinct from Eastern or Oriental philosophies and the varieties of indigenous philosophies....

 ideas of religion and philosophy (including capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

, patriarchy
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

  and globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

) sometimes through "resacralising" and reconnecting with nature.
Greenpeace represents an organisation with a radical approach, but has contributed in serious ways towards understanding of critical issues, and has a science-oriented core with radicalism as a means to mediaexposure. Groups like Earth First! take a much more radical posture.

Criticisms


A study reported in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

concluded that "people who believe they have the greenest lifestyles can be seen as some of the main culprits behind global warming." The researchers found that individuals who were more environmentally conscious were more likely to take long-distance overseas flights, and that the resulting carbon emissions outweighed the savings from green lifestyles at home.

See also


Regional environmental movements
  • Environmental movement in the United States
    Environmental movement in the United States
    In the United States today, the organized environmental movement is represented by a wide range of organizations sometimes called non-governmental organizations or NGOs. These organizations exist on local, national, and international scales...

  • Environmental movement in New Zealand
    Environmental movement in New Zealand
    The environmental movement in New Zealand started in the 1960s, a period of rapid social change. Since then numerous high profile national campaigns have contested various environmental issues. The environmental movement eventually spawned the Values Party, which was the first political party with...

  • Environmental movement in Australia
    Environmental Movement in Australia
    Beginning as a conservation movement, the environmental movement in Australia was the first in the world to become a political movement and Australia was home to the world's first Green Party....


Further reading

  • Paul Hawken
    Paul Hawken
    Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author.-Life:Paul Hawken had a Swedish grandmother and a Scottish grandfather with a farm. His father worked at UC Berkeley...

    , Blessed Unrest, Penguin Books Ltd, United States of America, 2007
  • John McCormick, The Global Environmental Movement, London: John Wiley, 1995
  • Ramachandra Guha
    Ramachandra Guha
    Ramachandra Guha is an Indian writer whose research interests have included environmental, social, political and cricket history. He is also a columnist for the newspapers The Telegraph , and The Hindustan Times.-Early life and education:Born in Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand, India in 1958, Guha studied...

    Environmentalism: A Global History, London, Longman, 1999
  • Sheldon Kamieniecki, editor, Environmental Politics in the International Arena: Movements, Parties, Organizations, and Policy, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993, ISBN 0-7914-1664-X
  • Philip Shabecoff, A Fierce Green Fire: The American Environmental Movement, Island Press; Revised Edition, 2003,ISBN 1559634375
  • Paul Wapner, Environmental Activism and World Civil Politics, Albany: State University of New York, 1996, ISBN 0-7914-2790-0
  • de Steiguer, J.E. 2006. The Origins of Modern Environmental Thought. The University of Arizona Press. Tucson. 246 pp.