Introduction notes to Ecologism

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A2 Government & Politics Ecologism
Environmentalism Refers to general political concern for the environment that stops short of
being ideological. Environmentalists do not believe that society needs a
fundamental transformation.
Ecologism Refers to movement that seeks to change the nature of humankind's
relationship to its physical environment. Largely based on the science of
ecology; ecologism is based on solid scientific evidence. Ecologists propose
fundamental changes in humankind's relationship to its environment.
Green Politics Refers to wide variety of political issues that relate to environmental
considerations. Seek to influence public policy and green parties will share
power, e.g. Germany. Green politics is ideological for some people but
mostly it includes a range of issues, such as conservation, emissions control,
genetically modified food production, and preserving areas of natural
beauty, rather than presenting a single unified vision of a reformed society.
The green movement is now a collection of both political parties and
pressure groups.
Origins of Ecologism
None of the above movements about existed prior to the 1960s. Before then, concern for
physical environment expressed in variety of contexts, but no systematic forms.
19th century: rapid industrialisation caused anxiety about destruction of natural environment
and deteriorating quality of air and water ­ marginal issues
1956 Clean Air Act = first control of production of air pollution
1960s, growing number of environmental issues were beginning to emerge:
o Biodiversity
Threat posed to animal and plant species by developments including
industrialisation, urbanisation, rapid population growth, intensive agriculture,
industrial methods of whaling, fishing, poaching and degradation of natural
Threat seen as quality-of-life issue, but as environmentalism developed into
deeper political philosophy in the 1970s it became a biodiversity issue
Biodiversity is the belief that the fullest possible range of the Earth's plant
and animal species should be preserved
Also associated with ecologists who took a holistic view of the living world,
seeing all species as interconnected
o Holism
Refers to view associated with Fritjof Capra: natural world is a single, organic
Capra insisted that we will not necessarily find conventional scientific solution
to environmental problems
Unit 4B: Other Ideological TraditionsPage 1

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A2 Government & Politics Ecologism
`New physics' suggests that we cannot be sure how natural phenomena are
From this belief in uncertainty, it follows that we should avoid interfering
with any part of nature because we cannot be certain of the consequences
of our actions
o Air and Water Quality
As quality declined, trend that occurred especially in urban regions and those
parts of the world experiencing rapid industrialisation
Water pollution was a direct threat to people's wellbeing; it led to
widespread disease
Took…read more


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