Meaning of Environmentalism

What is Ecologism:

Environmentalism is a political movement whose objective is to ensure that the decisions made by the authorities of a population do not negatively influence their environment.

If the ecosystem is not protected, this can lead to the extinction of other species, which would change the natural balance. This imbalance would put the survival of the human race at risk.

environmental movement

The environmental movement initially originated in the 1970s in the United States, Great Britain, and Europe.

It was born spontaneously in the factories, because the workers felt disconnected from their natural environment and because their health was at risk due to the working conditions.

The environmentalists of the 1970s disagreed with the socialists and with the way natural resources were exploited in the industrial system.

Not being totally in agreement with any of them, because they did not satisfy their vision of the world, environmentalism spontaneously arises as a social movement.

Environmentalism, although initially arising from the masses, was taking shape thanks to influential political thinkers and activists of the time.

One of the most important people in environmentalism was Rachel Carson, who published a book called the silent spring (1962). Rachel disclosed the harmful effects of the use of pesticides used in the agricultural industry (from 1970) and its negative effect on human health.

Another example of important environmentalists are Bárbara Ward and René Dubos. in your post just one land (1972) they indicate how the human being unscrupulously used the resources of the planet.

Bárbara and René suggested protecting marine species, producing renewable energy and planning urban planning.

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See also:

  • renewable resources.
  • 13 examples that sustainable consumption is not a myth.

environmentalism and politics

By 1970 environmentalism was already known, however, it still did not have enough political impact. Two specific events with large-scale negative consequences laid the foundations for environmentalism as a policy:

  • Chemical air pollution with tetrachlorodibenzene-para-dioxin (TCDD). Seveso-Italy, 1976.
  • Nuclear accident that released the radioactive ions iodine-131, caesium-134, caesium-137, and strontium-90. Chernobyl-Soviet Ukraine, 1986.

In the first case, the tanks of a chemical plant of the ICMESA company (located 20 km from the city of Seveso) exploded, releasing TCDD into the environment and polluting the air.

A few days after the explosion, more than 3,000 dead rabbits were found around the chemical plant. Nearly 80,000 animals were euthanized to prevent human contamination through the food chain. In humans, the consequences were skin lesions and evictions from nearby areas, among others.

The economic impact of the Seveso accident for the Italian government resulted in spending 47.8 million dollars in 1976 and about 143 million by 1949. This money was used to recover the area and make it habitable again. By 2009, the city of Seveso already had a population of 21,870 inhabitants.

The second case had worse consequences. A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, releasing radioactive material into the environment. The number of human lives involved in this accident remains a mystery.

This fact generated immediate effects, such as acute radiation syndrome, but long-term effects such as thyroid cancer, leukemia and deformities in newborns were also observed. By 2010, Chernobyl had a population of 500 inhabitants.

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Currently, with global warming and pollution, environmentalism is part of the speeches of parties of all tendencies. An iconic example was the influence of Al Gore’s environmental discourse on American politics in 2000.

See also

  • Nuclear energy
  • Pollution

environmentalism and science

The impact of environmentalism has not only created a global consciousness, it has also achieved the financing of ecology (as a science) in universities around the world.

Here are three examples of the impact of environmentalism on the development of ecology as a profession.

  • University of Lincoln, UK: offers conservation and ecology courses with government funding. These courses are intended to understand the effect of the human population on the interaction between species in ecosystems.
  • Institute of Ecology of the UNAM, Mexico: It has a division that conducts genetic studies on different populations of plants and animals. The Institute of Ecology of the UNAM has government financing and private companies.
  • The Institute of Ecology and Environment in New Delhi, India: It is a pioneer in organizing congresses and conventions with an impact on ecology chairs worldwide. In collaboration with the government of Delhi and 3600 NGOs they managed to implement ecological education programs for the population.

See also:

  • Global warming.
  • Pollution.