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He observed in Swiss and Siberian glaciers that they had been slowly melting since the dawn of the industrial revolution, possibly making him one of the first predictors for climate change. He also observed the damage done from deforestation and hunting. In Hill, Hunter and Rawnsley agreed to set up a national body to coordinate environmental conservation efforts across the country; the "National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty" was formally inaugurated in An early "Back-to-Nature" movement, which anticipated the romantic ideal of modern environmentalism, was advocated by intellectuals such as John Ruskin , William Morris , George Bernard Shaw and Edward Carpenter , who were all against consumerism , pollution and other activities that were harmful to the natural world.

Idealists championed the rural life as a mythical utopia and advocated a return to it. John Ruskin argued that people should return to a small piece of English ground, beautiful, peaceful, and fruitful. We will have no steam engines upon it. Practical ventures in the establishment of small cooperative farms were even attempted and old rural traditions, without the "taint of manufacture or the canker of artificiality", were enthusiastically revived, including the Morris dance and the maypole.

These ideas also inspired various environmental groups in the UK, such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds , established in by Emily Williamson as a protest group to campaign for greater protection for the indigenous birds of the island.


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By , public support for the organisation had grown, and it had over 25, members. The Garden city movement incorporated many environmental concerns into its urban planning manifesto; the Socialist League and The Clarion movement also began to advocate measures of nature conservation. The movement in the United States began in the late 19th century, out of concerns for protecting the natural resources of the West, with individuals such as John Muir and Henry David Thoreau making key philosophical contributions.

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Thoreau was interested in peoples' relationship with nature and studied this by living close to nature in a simple life. He published his experiences in the book Walden , which argues that people should become intimately close with nature. Muir came to believe in nature's inherent right, especially after spending time hiking in Yosemite Valley and studying both the ecology and geology.

He successfully lobbied congress to form Yosemite National Park and went on to set up the Sierra Club in The conservationist principles as well as the belief in an inherent right of nature were to become the bedrock of modern environmentalism.

Thinking Green: Ethics for a Small Planet

In the 20th century, environmental ideas continued to grow in popularity and recognition. Efforts were starting to be made to save some wildlife, particularly the American bison. The death of the last passenger pigeon as well as the endangerment of the American bison helped to focus the minds of conservationists and popularise their concerns. The Forestry Commission was set up in in Britain to increase the amount of woodland in Britain by buying land for afforestation and reforestation.

The commission was also tasked with promoting forestry and the production of timber for trade. By the Forestry Commission was the largest landowner in Britain. During the s the Nazis had elements that were supportive of animal rights, zoos and wildlife, [35] and took several measures to ensure their protection.


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The concept of the Dauerwald best translated as the "perpetual forest" which included concepts such as forest management and protection was promoted and efforts were also made to curb air pollution. It explained Leopold's belief that humankind should have moral respect for the environment and that it is unethical to harm it. The book is sometimes called the most influential book on conservation. Throughout the s, s, s and beyond, photography was used to enhance public awareness of the need for protecting land and recruiting members to environmental organisations. David Brower , Ansel Adams and Nancy Newhall created the Sierra Club Exhibit Format Series, which helped raise public environmental awareness and brought a rapidly increasing flood of new members to the Sierra Club and to the environmental movement in general.

The powerful use of photography in addition to the written word for conservation dated back to the creation of Yosemite National Park , when photographs persuaded Abraham Lincoln to preserve the beautiful glacier carved landscape for all time. The Sierra Club Exhibit Format Series galvanised public opposition to building dams in the Grand Canyon and protected many other national treasures. The Sierra Club often led a coalition of many environmental groups including the Wilderness Society and many others.

After a focus on preserving wilderness in the s and s, the Sierra Club and other groups broadened their focus to include such issues as air and water pollution, population concern, and curbing the exploitation of natural resources. The book cataloged the environmental impacts of the indiscriminate spraying of DDT in the US and questioned the logic of releasing large amounts of chemicals into the environment without fully understanding their effects on human health and ecology.

The book suggested that DDT and other pesticides may cause cancer and that their agricultural use was a threat to wildlife, particularly birds. The limited use of DDT in disease vector control continues to this day in certain parts of the world and remains controversial. The book's legacy was to produce a far greater awareness of environmental issues and interest into how people affect the environment.

With this new interest in environment came interest in problems such as air pollution and petroleum spills, and environmental interest grew. New pressure groups formed, notably Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth US , as well as notable local organisations such as the Wyoming Outdoor Council , which was founded in In the s, the environmental movement gained rapid speed around the world as a productive outgrowth of the counterculture movement.

The world's first political parties to campaign on a predominantly environmental platform were the United Tasmania Group Tasmania, Australia and the Values Party of New Zealand.

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Protection of the environment also became important in the developing world ; the Chipko movement was formed in India under the influence of Mhatmas Gandhi and they set up peaceful resistance to deforestation by literally hugging trees leading to the term "tree huggers". Their peaceful methods of protest and slogan "ecology is permanent economy" were very influential. Another milestone in the movement was the creation of Earth Day. Earth Day was first observed in San Francisco and other cities on 21 March , the first day of spring.

It was created to give awareness to environmental issues.

1) Growth trumps efficiency

On 21 March , United Nations Secretary-General U Thant spoke of a spaceship Earth on Earth Day, hereby referring to the ecosystem services the earth supplies to us, and hence our obligation to protect it and with it, ourselves. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network , [44] and is celebrated in more than countries every year.

The UN's first major conference on international environmental issues, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment also known as the Stockholm Conference , was held on 5—16 June It marked a turning point in the development of international environmental politics. By the mids, many felt that people were on the edge of environmental catastrophe. The Back-to-the-land movement started to form and ideas of environmental ethics joined with anti-Vietnam War sentiments and other political issues.

These individuals lived outside normal society and started to take on some of the more radical environmental theories such as deep ecology. Around this time more mainstream environmentalism was starting to show force with the signing of the Endangered Species Act in and the formation of CITES in In , James Lovelock , a British scientist, published Gaia: A new look at life on Earth , which put forth the Gaia hypothesis ; it proposes that life on earth can be understood as a single organism.

Environmentalism

This became an important part of the Deep Green ideology. Throughout the rest of the history of environmentalism there has been debate and argument between more radical followers of this Deep Green ideology and more mainstream environmentalists. Environmentalism continues to evolve to face up to new issues such as global warming , overpopulation , genetic engineering , and plastic pollution.

Research demonstrates a precipitous decline in the US public's interest in 19 different areas of environmental concern. Since , the percentage of Americans agreeing that the environment should be given priority over economic growth has dropped 10 points, in contrast, those feeling that growth should be given priority "even if the environment suffers to some extent" has risen 12 percent. Tree sitting is a form of activism in which the protester sits in a tree in an attempt to stop the removal of a tree or to impede the demolition of an area with the longest and most famous tree-sitter being Julia Butterfly Hill , who spent days in a California Redwood, saving a three-acre tract of forest.

Sit-in is a form of activism where one or any number of people occupy a place as a form of protest.

Before the Syrian Civil War , Rojava had been ecologically damaged by monoculture , oil extraction, damming of rivers, deforestation , drought , topsoil loss and general pollution. The DFNS launched a campaign titled 'Make Rojava Green Again' a parody of Make America Great Again which is attempting to provide renewable energy to communities especially solar energy , reforestation , protecting water sources, planting gardens, promoting urban agriculture , creating wildlife reserves , water recycling , beekeeping , expanding public transportation and promoting environmental awareness within their communities.

The Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities are firmly environmentalist and have stopped the extraction of oil, uranium, timber and metal from the Lacandon Jungle and stopped the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers in farming. The CIPO-RFM has engaged in sabotage and direct action against wind farms , shrimp farms , eucalyptus plantations and the timber industry.

They have also set up corn and coffee worker cooperatives and built schools and hospitals to help the local populations. They have also created a network of autonomous community radio stations to educate people about dangers to the environment and inform the surrounding communities about new industrial projects that would destroy more land. The environmental movement a term that sometimes includes the conservation and green movements is a diverse scientific, social , and political movement.

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Though the movement is represented by a range of organisations, because of the inclusion of environmentalism in the classroom curriculum, [56] [57] the environmental movement has a younger demographic than is common in other social movements see green seniors. Environmentalism as a movement covers broad areas of institutional oppression, including for example: consumption of ecosystems and natural resources into waste, dumping waste into disadvantaged communities, air pollution, water pollution, weak infrastructure, exposure of organic life to toxins, mono-culture, anti-polythene drive jhola movement and various other focuses.

Because of these divisions, the environmental movement can be categorized into these primary focuses: environmental science , environmental activism, environmental advocacy, and environmental justice. Free market environmentalism is a theory that argues that the free market , property rights , and tort law provide the best tools to preserve the health and sustainability of the environment. It considers environmental stewardship to be natural, as well as the expulsion of polluters and other aggressors through individual and class action.

Evangelical environmentalism is an environmental movement in the United States of America in which some Evangelicals have emphasized biblical mandates concerning humanity's role as steward and subsequent responsibility for the care taking of Creation. While the movement has focused on different environmental issues, it is best known for its focus of addressing climate action from a biblically grounded theological perspective. This movement is controversial among some non-Christian environmentalists due to its rooting in a specific religion.

Environmental preservation in the United States and other parts of the world, including Australia, is viewed as the setting aside of natural resources to prevent damage caused by contact with humans or by certain human activities, such as logging, mining, hunting, and fishing, often to replace them with new human activities such as tourism and recreation. Environmental organisations can be global, regional, national or local; they can be government-run or private NGO. Environmentalist activity exists in almost every country.