History Of Environmentalism
As we look into the history of environmentalism, we can say that the concern for the protection of environment has recurred in different forms, in several parts of the world, long time ago. In the Middle East, writing that mainly concerns with environmental pollution were found in Arabic medical treatises and were written during the Arab Agricultural Revolution. They were primarily concerned with air, water, soil contamination, solid waste mishandling as well as environmental assessments of certain localities. We can say that this was the beginning of environmentalism.
Looking at the environmentalism history, Edward I, the king of England also banned or prohibited the burning of sea coal in 1272 after its smoke became a main problem. Considering the origin of environmentalism, in Europe, the first large scale, current environmental laws came into being in the form of British Alkali Acts. The laws were passed in the year 1863 in order to regulate harmful air pollution given off by the Leblanc process which was used to produce soda ash. With the growth of industrialization air and water pollution also increase. In the history of environmentalism, the beginning of environmental movement in United States can be dated back to 1739 when Benjamin Franklin as well as other Philadelphia residents cited "public rights," requested the Pennsylvania Assembly to stop or restrict waste dumping as well as for removing workplaces from Philadelphia's commercial district. The US movement continues till 1800s with the concerned for the protection of natural resources of the West. John Muir and Henry David Thoreau were the main philosophical contributors to this movement.
In the history of environmentalism, environmental ideas became more popular with the beginning of 20th century. During this century efforts were being made to save wildlife and National Park Service was formed in 1916 by US president Woodrow Wilson. In 1972, the United States Environmental Protection Agency banned the agricultural use of DDT. People become more concerned with the problems of air pollution and petroleum spills as well as environmental interest grew in larger number. In India Chipko movement was formed in the year 1970. In 1979, James Lovelock, the former NASA scientist, published Gaia: A new look at life on Earth. Now, environmentalism has also changed to deal with new issues such as global warming and genetic engineering.