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\'[R]efers to a concern that the environment should be protected, particularly from the harmful effects of human activities\' (Milton, 1996, p. 27). Thus focused on human impacts on the environment, environmentalism is often thought to be a recent phenomenon, one particularly associated with the post-1960s era in North America and western Europe. In both continents, the contradictions between environment and economic development became apparent in resource depletion, pollution etc., sparking the rise of an environmental movement inspired by such cautionary texts as Rachel Carson\'s Silent spring (1962) and Meadows et al.\'s (1972) The limits to growth (cf. pollution; limits to growth). However, environmentalism is far older than the recent wave of environmental concern suggests. In fact, \'it is as old as human society itself\' (Powell, 1996, p. 274), with societies across the world having long been preoccupied with their environmental impacts. In the West, Glacken (1967) traces this concern with human-environmental relations back to ancient Greece and identifies three modes of characterizing those relations: humanity in harmony with environment; humanity as determined by environment (see environmental determinism); and humanity as modifier of environment. In the modern era, the last of these has been the dominant element in environmentalism. In Europe and North America, this heightened concern over human modifications can be traced to the nineteenth century. In the rapidly industrializing US, \'preservationists\' like John Muir and less radical \'conservationists\' (see conservation) like Gifford Pinchot argued for more care in environmental usage, following George Perkins Marsh\'s germinal (1864) Man and nature. In Britain, the Romantics, like Blake and Shelley, early argued that nature possessed an inherent beauty and dignity that should be cherished, not destroyed. Today, environmentalism encompasses a very wide range of ideas and practices and the term is, strictly speaking, \'too all-inclusive a concept\' (O\'Riordan, 1996, p. 473), and one must discriminate between different environmentalisms. O\'Riordan (1996) distinguishes \'ecocentric\' and \'technocentric\' environmentalisms. The former puts the environment first, and suggests that modern societies should, to a greater or lesser degree, alter their economic practices in order to be more eco-friendly. Technocentrists, by contrast, are more human-centred â!” or anthropocentric â!” and believe that the environment can and should be rationally managed and controlled for human benefit. Ecocentrism thus poses more of a challenge to existing socio-economic arrangements, and is
often associated with non-governmental groups (NGOs) in civil society. By contrast, technocentric environmentalism is a more status quo approach and often associated with big-business and government (see also energy). In practice, there are different types and degrees of eco- and technocentrism, and the most moderate permutations of both forms of environmentalism overlap. O\'Riordan (1989) identifies two forms of ecoand technocentrist environmentalism respectively: Gaianists derive their ideas from James Lovelock\'s theory that the earth\'s biosphere operates as if it were a single living organism which he calls Gaia, after the Greek earth goddess. The Gaia hypothesis proposes that organisms actively alter the biosphere, rather than merely adapting to it. Consequently, if humans continue to alter the biosphere too much then it is argued that Gaia will survive, but in a different form in which humans will have no part. This extreme â!” or \'deep ecology\' â!” environmentalism urges a radical dismantling of existing socio-economic arrangements which are seen as ecologically destructive. A less extreme ecocentrist position is communalism, which argues for more harmony with nature in the form of small-scale, decentralized communities. On the technocentric side, interventionists â!” like Simon (1997) â!” argue that the environment can be successfully transformed for human benefit by science and technology and that any problems which arise can be managed. Accomodationists, by contrast, are more cautious and argue that existing socio-economic arrangements must be adapted to minimize environmental problems. |||Ecocentric environmentalism has become immensely influential since the early 1970s and for this reason has been called the \'new environmentalism\'. In addition, this and technocentric environmentalism are no longer largely western preoccupations. Instead, they are now found worldwide, as more local and new global environmental problems have arisen. Geography was defined by Halford Mackinder as the \'bridging science\' which could study society-nature relations and, not surprisingly, geographers have made several contributions to modern environmentalism. One is to define and study environmentalism itself as a set of ideas and practices (see, for example, O\'Riordan, 1996). Another is to examine the history of human uses of environment (see, for example, Mannion, 1991). A third contribution has been more practical, and linked to examining specific human-environment interactions. Inspired by human ecology in the US, resource management in geography has long been involved in the formulation of environmental policy. On the whole, environmentalist thought and practice in geography has been broadly technocentric. However, a more radical tradition stretches back to communitarian Kropotkin\'s (1899) Fields, factories and workshops. In recent years, this radicalism has been renewed. In resource management, for example, a less technocentric approach to resource use has emerged (see Blaikie et al., 1994). Additionally, a new \'political ecology\' has been advocated by radical development geographers, who argue that environmental problems usually impact more on the poor and are caused by wider social and economic power relations. A \'liberation ecology\' (Peet and Watts, 1996), it is argued, should thus be about human, as much
as it is about environmental, emancipation.Â (NC) References Blaikie, P., Cannon, T., Davis, I. and Wisner, B. 1994: At risk. London: Routledge.Â Carson, R. 1962: Silent spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Â Glacken, C. 1967: Traces on the Rhodian shore. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Â Kropotkin, p. 1899: Fields, factories and workshops. London: Freedom Press.Â Meadows, D.H., Meadows, D.L., Randers, J. and Behrens, W. 1972: The limits to growth. New York: New American Library.Â Powell, J.M. 1996: Origins of environmentalism. In I. Douglas, R. Huggett and M. Robinson, eds, Companion encyclopaedia of geography. London: Routledge, 274-92.Â Mannion, A.M. 1991: Global environmental change. Harlow: Longman.Â Marsh, G.P. 1964 [orig. pub. 1864]: Man and nature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; Milton, K. 1996: Environmentalism and cultural theory. London: Routledge.Â O\'Riordan, T. 1989: The challenge for environmentalism. In R. Peet and N. Thrift, eds, New models in geography, vol. 1. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 77-101.Â O\'Riordan, T. 1996: Environmentalism on the move. In I. Douglas, R. Huggett and M. Robinson, eds, Companion encyclopaedia of geography. London: Routledge, 449-69.Â Peet, R. and Watts, M., eds, 1996: Liberation ecologies. Routledge: New York.Â Simon, J. 1997: The ultimate resource II. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Suggested Reading Bowlby, S. and Lowe, M. 1992: Environmental and green movements. In A.M. Mannion and S. Bowlby, eds, Environmental issues in the 1990s. Chichester: Wiley, 161-75.Â Pepper, D. 1996: Modern environmentalism. London: Routledge.
Forms of Environmentalism| Ecocentrism| Gaianism| Faith in the rights of nature and of the essential need for coevolution of human natural ethics.| Communalism| Faith in the cooperative capabilities of societies to establish self-reliant communities based on renewable resource-use and appropriate technologies.| Technocentrism| Accommodation| Faith in the adaptability of existing institutions and approaches to assessment to accommodate environmental demands.| Intervention| Faith in the application of science, market forces and managerial ingenuity to intervene in nature to create economic growth and overcome environmental problems.|
Demand for redistribution of power towards decentralized, federated economy with more emphasis on informal socioeconomic interactions and participatory justice.|
Belief in the retention of the status quo in the existing structure of economic and political power, but a demand for more responsiveness and accountability in political regulatory, planning and educational institutions.|
Adapted from O\'Riordan (1989)|
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