Environmental Movement: Grassroots To Government Essay

5260 words - 21 pages

Is our earth in danger? Is our changing earth the fault of humans or is it just one nature's inconveniences? Is the taking care of the earth a moral or political issue? These are all burning questions that the Environmentalist Movement takes a firm stance on. They argue that our earth is in danger and it is because of society's harmful effects on it. Activists affiliated with the movement feel it is a moral issue base on the fact that harmful effect on the environment might translate to harmful effects for futures to come. However environmentalists feel that the environment should be a political issue as well. Their goal like any other social movement is to influence public policy and ultimately achieve rights, in this case rights for nature. Through the use of different frames and strategies as well as working within the system the Environmentalist Movement is shaping up to be one of the most successful social movements in American History.The earliest years of the Environmental Movement can be traced back to the 1800's. But the biggest development of the Environmentalist Movement was the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970. Congress and the White House worked together to establish the EPA with the rise of the public's wish for cleaner water, air and land (EPA). Before the EPA the federal government did not have the resources to combat the issue of air pollutants, in turn this made this task more daunting because of the damage that was already caused to the environment (EPA). In addition the clean air act followed, this act improved the awareness that the previous two air acts lacks lacked.Thereafter earth day was established on April 22nd, 1970. Earth day was always one of the goals of former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. Nelson stated that his main motive for promoting earth day was to show the political leaders the Environmental Movement had obvious backing (Nelson). On that day of April 22, 1970 Nelson recalls, "twenty million American's participated in one of the most exciting and significant grassroots movement efforts in the history of this country" (Nelson). Furthermore with the banning of DDT in 1972 and the passing of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 great hope was given to protecting nature's inhabitants. DDT was a pesticide that contributed to the near extinction of birds such as the bald eagle (EDF). As well DDT has been found to harm fish, insects and humans (EDF).In order for the Environmentalist Movement to further their efforts into the political realm they needed to attract more support. The Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) was developed in 1997. It was created to attract a wide variety of environmental activists and professionals who look to encourage the voices of environmental leaders and instill leadership skills in the environmental field (Environment). In addition the founders thought that the Environmental Movement must expand its constituency to increase its effectiveness in...

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