Sociology Index

Environmental Movement

Sociology of Environment, Deep Ecology, Books on Environmental Sociology

Environmental movement addresses environmental issues., The term environmental movement includes the conservation and green movements centered on ecology, health, and human rights. The environmental movement in the United States began with the conservation movement and the establishment of Hot Springs National Park in 1832.

Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and George Perkins Marsh were the early leaders of conservation movement and thus the environmental movement. The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment which was held in Stockholm in 1972 started discussions relating to the state of the global environment. This conference led to the creation of environmental agencies and the UN Environment Program.

The United States passed the National Environmental Policy Act which laid the foundations for current environmental standards. The book 'Silent Spring' was an early call to arms for the environmental movement. Ozone depletion, global climate change, acid rain, and the harmful genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are now the focus of environmental movements.

"Give Earth a Chance": The Environmental Movement and the Sixties
In 1969 the Environmental Action for Survival Committee at the University of Michigan began to sell buttons with a slogan. Instead of "Give Peace a Chance," the buttons urged Americans to "Give Earth a Chance." Newsweek soon asked if the buttons might be symbols of a new age of conservation. In an Earth Day march thousands of people joined the folk singers Pete Seeger and Phil Ochs in a great refrain: "All we are saying," they sang, "is give earth a chance."
The popularity of the "Give Earth a Chance" slogan was not happenstance. The rise of the environmental movement owed much to the events of the 1960s. The literature on the sixties slights the environmental movement, while the work on environmentalism neglects the political, social, and cultural history of the sixties. - Adam Rome, Journal of American History

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: Transnational Environmental Movement Organizations' Involvement in Local Campaigns - Zavestoski, Stephen
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association
Abstract: The ways in which the same forces of globalization that expose more and more people around the world to environmental health risks are also creating new networks of environmental health activists that link local health social movement struggles to a global network of environmental health activism. Research into the roles transnational environmental movement organizations play in local and national campaigns.

The Rhetoric of the Environmental Movement
by Ronald Hamowy.
The essay attempts to touch on one aspect of modern environmentalism and to examine it against the backdrop of the values associated with a truly liberal society. What I hope to do is to explore certain traits common to the rhetoric of the environmental movement that I find particularly inimical to rational discourse and that serve only to support untenable and fallacious conclusions and recommendations that, if accepted, would prove devastating to civilization.

Abstract: This Note examines the transformation of the American environmental movement into a social movement. It provides a history of the American environmental movement. The environmental movement is traced from its origins as an upper-class movement with a wilderness-centered ideology, to its transformation into a richer more diverse membership and an ideology inclusive of the urban environment. The theoretical underpinnings of the environmental movement in social movement theory are highlighted. The question of whether grassroots environmental groups should protest or litigate, and how the legal system can be strategically used by grassroots environmental groups, is examined.
The rise of grassroots environmentalism within the environmental movement illustrates the transformation of environmentalism as an ideology into a full-fledged social movement. As a social movement, the environmental movement has reached its apex with the rise of grassroots environmentalism.
Examines the complex interplay between grassroots environmentalism, protest strategies, and the legal system. Part I provides a history of the evolution of the environmental movement. This section conceptually divides environmentalism into four eras: (a) conservation and preservation; (b) modern environmentalism; (c) mainstream environmentalism; and (d) the rise of grassroots environmentalism.4 In Part II, the theoretical underpinnings of the environmental movement are discussed. First, the endurance of the environmental movement as a social movement is examined, focusing on the structure of the environmental movement. Second, grassroots environmentalism is situated within social movement theory’s dominant paradigm, New Social Movement theory. Finally, Part III discusses the strategies and tactics of grassroots environmentalism, focusing on the complex interplay of direct action protests and the legal system.

What is environmentalism? How have sociologists responded to the emergence of environmentalism? What is environmental problem? What has sociology to offer the study of environmental problems?