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Development, impacts, implications of a contemporary political movment for change (Environmentalism) - Essay Example

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The emergence of environmentalism as a major force in modern politics Your Name Name of of Professor The emergence of environmentalism as a major force in modern politics Baron de Montesquieu was perhaps the first political theorist to link politics with the environment when he proposed that laws must be framed in accordance with the geographical and climatic conditions of a nation (Montesquieu, Of Laws in Relation to the Nature, n.d.)…
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Development, impacts, implications of a contemporary political movment for change (Environmentalism)

Download file to see previous pages... The beginnings of an environmental crisis which looms large over the world can perhaps be traced to the Industrial Revolution in Europe which led to natural resources being used, often indiscriminately, for the purpose of scientific progress (Reynolds, A Brief History of Environmentalism, n.dd). At a parallel level, European colonies in Asia, Africa and Latin America were also subjected to much ecological damage for industrial growth. Though Henry David Thoreau pioneered environmentalist thinking in the USA, it was John Muir who laid the foundation of the Sierra Club in 1892 through which the government received ample financial aid for it to undertake wilderness conservation measures (Reynolds, n.d.). The emergence of environmental activists such as Wangari Mathai from Kenya shows that environmental concerns cannot be divorced from an engagement with the imbalances of power engendered by colonialism. In contemporary times ecocriticism has become an integral part of most academic disciplines. It has been particularly influential in the field of postcolonial studies where scholars have found a close connection between the discursive and economic power wielded by the West and the environmental damage inflicted by Western nations upon the nations of the Third World. The first breakthrough in American environmentalism came with Rachel Carson’s work Silent Spring (1962) which spoke of the impact of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), a commonly used pesticide on the environment. The work created immediate controversies and numerous American industrialists clamoured for its ban, accusing the author of baseless indictments. However, the work caused enough stir for President John F Kennedy to order a thorough investigation into its claims. The research revealed the hugely detrimental effect that DDT had not merely upon the physical environment but also on human health since it was commonly used as an agricultural pesticide. Following this the use of DDT was banned in the USA (Lear x-xi). This is an important episode in the history of environmentalism for it fortified American environmentalist movement besides proving the efficacy of protest movements led by seemingly politically disempowered individuals against multinational conglomerates. It is a sad fact that even today, several countries continue to use DDT and many such pesticides. These continue to affect the lives of millions of people and their health even today. The reasons for this can be traced to the lobbying power of the corporate firms that produce these pesticides and the lack of civic action on the part of the citizens of these nations. This can be remedied to an extent through the spread of awareness of environmental issues. In short, the issue of environmentalism needs to extend its reach to these nations in order for it to be an effective tool. In the 1970s began the era of international cooperation on the subject of ecological conservation, the manifestation of which was the Earth Summits summoned by the United Nations. The first among these was held in Stockholm in 1972 and was titled “UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm” (“Earth Summit,” The United Nations Official Website n.p.). These forums of international debate and discussion have laid bare not merely the urgent need to incorporate the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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