The Modern Environmental Movement in U.S.

Srikanth’s Argument on Protecting the Environment

Srikanth (2011) argues that protecting the environment is essential for all nations if they want to protect people’s lives. Humans and the environment are closely intertwined since they are both necessary for one another to survive. Therefore, it is crucial to offer environmental protection against the many types of pollutants. Environmental pollution includes air pollution brought on by burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, or gas, vehicle exhaust emissions, paint production, the manufacture of off-gassing plastic products, and radiation spills. Land pollution which is caused by oil spills, illegal dumping of waste materials, littering around the highways, damage to the debris which is caused by unsustainable mining and logging practices among others. Water pollution caused by channeling of raw sewage into the lake streams, industrial water spills, illegal dumping, biological contamination as a result of bacterial growth, usage of fertilizers in the firms leading to farm runoff into the rivers, etc. Environmental movements can be defined merely as a collection of individuals or organizations formed for a specific goal. Nonetheless, these groups are informal and focus on diverse scientific, social, and political issues while also pursuing particular normative goals regarding the environment (Bebbington, 2017). This paper will look at the Modern Environmental Movement in U.S.

Destruction of the Environment and Its Consequences for Human Survival

Destruction of the environment is disastrous to the survival of the people as people get food, air and raw materials for making houses from the situation. It can also be a cause of global warming which results from destroying the ozone layer by Chlorofluorocarbons and other halogenated substances (Jain, 2015). Human beings use the resources from the nature to survive. In America, the possible evolution of social movement addresses mobilization of grievances, contextual conditions, dynamics, participation, resources, levels of interactions, the result of the interactions and the consequences after that. Environmental movements are influenced by both environmental issues and social issues, which are inextricably intertwined. They mainly focus on ecology, health, and human rights. Therefore, it is vital for people globally to take up the duty of conserving the environment for their benefits.

History of Environment Movement in America

In America after the World War II, there was high demand for quality life which the people characterized it with a cleaner environment which was safe for survival. They started championing for protection of the environment which led to movement which was supported by leaders like John F. Kennedy. According to Dunlap (1992), the modern environmental movement has changed dramatically from what they used to be in the old days despite driving the same goal of protection of the environment. Formerly, the campaign aimed at future development by having a production concern for managing the natural resources. Nowadays, the movements focus on providing a clean, safe and beautiful environment for higher standards of living. In its most early stages, environmentalists included direct-protest tactics were used to obstruct and draw attention to current harmful environmental policies.

Impact of Racheal Carson's Silent Spring

However, the publication of Racheal Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 was the trigger to the beginning of the American. It alerted the people on the dangers of Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and the fertilizers’ they used in their agriculture to the environmental starting in the World War II. It also focused on the great concerns of the rise of the industries which emitted harmful materials to the environment hence threatening the destruction of the animals’ lives. The publication conveyed the ecological message to the people that their activities would lead to the destruction of the animals’ lives like the birds when poisonous substances were allowed to make their way to the environment.

President Lyndon Johnson and Environmental Preservation

The birth of modern American environmental movements is said to have started in the 1960’s. The movements grew with new interests from their founders which were preservationist issues. Some of the crucial people in the movements where President Lyndon Johnson who had interests in the newfound preservationist issues. He helped support the environmental movement by setting funds aside to champion their activities like $12 billion funds he authorized to be used to support the conservation and beautification measures of the environment. Also, he helped in the setting up laws like the Wilderness Act of 1964, which set up land to be used for commercial development and assist in preserving the countries natural state (Graham, 2000).

Stages of Environmentalism

Environmentalism aims at protecting the environment form all types of pollution through environmental conservation and improvement. It was then subdivided into a variety of complex fields such as air pollution, species extinction, water pollution, and habitat loss (Ness, Taylor & Francis, 2004). These were a simple way of the environmental movements being able to tackle the specific areas of environmental pollutions. There are different stages of ecological conservation history which include conservation and preservation. Conservation means pragmatic resource conservation which implies that people should use the land to benefit themselves and for the longest time. Preservation means moral and aesthetic nature preservation. It means that people should land with love and respect as it is the habitat of the community (Temporosa, 2016).

Successes and Failures of Environmental Movements

The Environmental Movements have achieved many goals in America about the protection of the environment. Their purpose of protecting the planet is known by a lot of the people who support the protection of the environment. The environmentalists started the Earth Day in America which is celebrated on April 22 to Campaign for the support of the protection of the environment. For example in 2000, in a poll taken to show people attitude towards the environmental movement goals, 83% supported their Campaign, and 16% took part in the environmental organizations. “Environmental Movement, 2017.” According to Carrington (2015), the environmental movement has had significant influence in America leading to a great reduction of emission of gases that cause global warming hence destroying the environment. Through the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 by then-President Richard M. Nixon. It has been carrying out protection of the environment through environment licensing, enforcement of the set laws, environmental planning, education and also guiding the public on the available ways of protecting the environment.

Achievements in Environmental Protection

According to Howard (2016), the environmental movement have had significant achievements since their established. The performances include the banning of the toxic chemical chemicals such as DDT that was used in the firms in 1962 after the campaign against it by the Nobel Prize winner Rachel Carson book Silent Spring. These were a great thing as the pollution of water in the rivers reduced tremendously. It also led to the regulation of the usage of pesticides in America. These were achieved through Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act which was passed in 1972 making firms stop false advertisement regarding pesticides. It also eliminated the use of harmful pesticides in the country. Tourism in the country even increased by the protection of the marine sanctuaries that were home to biological, historical and cultural treasures in 1972.

In the US formally, the lead was added in gas to boost the engine performance over the years. Lead is a harmful gas to the environment and the passage of the EPA; there was phaseout of lead from the gasoline in the country which was completed in 1995. Chemical control also was enacted leading to the elimination of the use of polychlorinated biphenyls used in the industries and was later found to be causing cancer. Toxic substance control actin 1976, aided the removal of the harmful chemicals in the market that was dangerous to the environment and brought new chemicals to the marketplace. In 2010, in a move to protect the Atlantic cost the department of interior banned drilling of oil and gas in the federal water off the Atlantic coast to limit the development off the US coast which were home many aquatic lives. Climate agreement in Paris which was held in 2015 set out new plans that countries could use to limit the rate of global warming in the world (Steph, 2012).

Challenges Faced by Environmentalists

However, despite the many success in protecting the environment, the environmentalist seem to be having significant challenges. The environmental issue has become global issues, but the rate of pollution remains high with about 4.6 million deaths yearly cause by air pollution. However, in the US the movement is falling due to lack of clear strategy on how to protect the environment. The funders forget to underwrite the grassroots groups to be able to achieve the large-scale change. The funds then get too large organization which does not carry out environmental protection as the community-based teams would do to support protection of the environment.


USA has had a good fight in the fight for environmental protection over the years. According to Walsh (2013), the nationwide event Earth Day that was inspired by Senator Gaylord Nelson would be celebrated by almost 20 million people and in more than 12000 events in the country. However, nearly 50 years ago, the event is virtually dead with few people remembering to celebrate it. America has also join unions like the Kyoto Protocol to champion the protection of the environment and control global warming, but some of their leaders like George W. Bush has shown little concern by putting policies that allow aggressive exploitation of fossil fuels without been keen to find alternatives sources of energy. His deeds made the country leave Kyoto Protocol which was a dangerous move.

Challenges and the Way Forward

Although the Earth Day has proved to be a success for the environmental movement community, it has also gone through significant changes over the last decades. Most notably, diversity. The current focus of environmentalism leaves little hope of successfully defeating the ecologically destructive political, economic, and cultural forces that undermine the very foundations of life. Problems arise where other global nations do not come into a champion for protection of the environment but instead facilitate actions that aim at destroying the environment. There are threats of high population growth, global warming, and exhaustion of fossil fuel resources among others. Global warming has been the cause of the unpredictable weather in different countries leading to high cases of long droughts which lead to food shortages.

It is crystal clear that the misuse of funds is the main issues leading to the inability of the environmental movements conducting a great job. The management should ensure that the funds reach the lower-income communities of color so that they can support ecological change campaigns. They should invest 25% of grant dollars in grassroots actions to enable the communities to be aware of the benefits of environmental conservation and also the problem that may arise if they pollute the environment. Also, they should build infrastructure to be able to offer technical assistance to the local groups that are helping in environmental protection. Finally, they must take the long view and be ready for tipping points on environmental protection (Montague, 2012).


“Environmental Movement.” Dictionary of American History. . 26 Nov. 2017,

Bebbington, Anthony. “Environmental Movements and Protest.” The International Encyclopedia of Geography (2017).

Chokshi, Sohum. “The Environmental Movement Will Fail.” The Huffington Post,, 2 Apr. 2016,

Dunlap, Riley E., and Angela G. Mertig. American Environmentalism: The U.S. Environmental Movement, 1970‒1990. Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis, 1992.

Graham, Otis L., Jr., ed. Environmental Politics and Policy, 1960s‒1990s. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000

Jain, Ankit. “Ozone Layer Depletion – Causes, Effects and Solutions.” The 7 Continents and 5 Oceans of the World, 30 June 2015,

Montague, Peter. “Why the Environmental Movement Is Not Winning.”Alternet, 24 Feb. 2012,

Srikanth, R. “Importance of Environmental Conservation.” Wikinut, 25 Jan. 2011,

Steph. “Earth Day Action: 13 Major Environmental Accomplishments.” WebEcoist, 23 Apr. 2012,

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