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The environmental movement, a term that includes the conservation and green
politics, is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing
environmental issues.
Environmentalists advocate the sustainable management of resources and stewardship of the
environment through changes in public policy and individual behavior. In its recognition of
humanity as a participant in (not enemy of) ecosystems, the movement is centered on ecology,
health, and human rights.
The environmental movement is represented by a range of organizations, from the large to
grassroots. Due to its large membership, varying and strong beliefs, and occasionally speculative
nature, the environmental movement is not always united in its goals. At its broadest, the movement
includes private citizens, professionals, religious devotees, politicians, and extremists.
The roots of the modern environmental movement can be traced to attempts in
nineteenth-century Europe and North America to expose the costs of
environmental negligence, notably disease, as well as widespread air and
water pollution, but only after the Second World War did a wider awareness
begin to emerge.
The US environmental movement emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with
two key strands: protectionists such as John Muir wanted land and nature set aside for its own sake,
while conservationists such as Gifford Pinchot wanted to manage natural resources for exploitation.
Among the early protectionists that stood out as leaders in the movement were Henry David
Thoreau, John Muir and George Perkins Marsh. Thoreau was concerned about the wildlife in
Massachusetts; he wrote Walden; or, Life in the Woods as he studied the wildlife from a cabin. John
Muir founded the Sierra Club, one of the largest conservation organizations in the United States.
Marsh was influential with regards to the need for resource conservation. Muir was instrumental in
the creation of the world's first national park at Yellowstone in 1872.
During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, several events illustrated the magnitude of environmental
damage caused by humans. In 1954, the 23 man crew of the Japanese fishing vessel Lucky Dragon
5 was exposed to radioactive fallout from a hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll. The publication of
the book Silent Spring (1962) by Rachel Carson drew attention to the impact of chemicals on the
natural environment. In 1967, the oil tanker Torrey Canyon went aground off the southwest coast of
England, and in 1969 oil spilled from an offshore well in California's Santa Barbara Channel. In
1971, the conclusion of a law suit in Japan drew international attention to the effects of decades of
mercury poisoning on the people of Minamata.
At the same time, emerging scientific research drew new attention to existing and hypothetical
threats to the environment and humanity. Among them were Paul R. Ehrlich, whose book The
Population Bomb (1968) revived concerns about the impact of exponential population growth.
Biologist Barry Commoner generated a debate about growth, affluence and "flawed technology."
Additionally, an association of scientists and political leaders known as the Club of Rome published
their report The Limits to Growth in 1972, and drew attention to the growing pressure on natural
resources from human activities.
Meanwhile, technological accomplishments such as nuclear proliferation and photos of the Earth
from outer space provided both new insights and new reasons for concern over Earth's seemingly
small and unique place in the universe.
In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, and for
the first time united the representatives of multiple governments in discussion relating to the state of
the global environment. This conference led directly to the creation of government environmental
agencies and the UN Environment Program. The United States also passed new legislation such as
the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National
Environmental Policy Act- the foundations for current environmental standards.
By the mid-1970s anti-nuclear activism had moved beyond local protests and politics to gain a
wider appeal and influence. Although it lacked a single co-ordinating organization the anti-nuclear
movement's efforts gained a great deal of attention. In the aftermath of the Three Mile Island
accident in 1979, many mass demonstrations took place. The largest one was held in New York City
in September 1979 and involved two hundred thousand people; speeches were given by Jane Fonda
and Ralph Nader.[4][5][6]
Since the 1970s, public awareness, environmental sciences, ecology, and technology have advanced
to include modern focus points like ozone depletion, global climate change, acid rain, and the
potentially harmful genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The Chipko movement or Chipko Andolan (literally "to stick" in Hindi) is a socio-ecological
movement that practised the Gandhian methods of satyagraha and non-violent resistance, through
the act of hugging trees to protect them from being felled. The modern Chipko movement started in
the early 1970s in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand,[1] with growing awareness towards
rapid deforestation. The landmark event in this struggle took place on March 26, 1974, when a
group of female peasants in Reni village, Hemwalghati, in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India,
acted to prevent the cutting of trees and reclaim their traditional forest rights that were threatened by
the contractor system of the state Forest Department, and transpired hundreds of such grassroot
level actions, throughout the region. By the 80s, the movement spread throughout India, and led to
formulation of people sensitive forest policies and stopping of open felling of trees in regions as far
reaching as Vindhyas and the Western Ghats.[2]
The first recorded event of Chipko however, took place in village Khejarli, Jodhpur district, in 1730
AD, when 363 Bishnois, led by Amrita Devi sacrificed their lives while protecting green Khejri
trees, considered sacred by the community, by hugging them, and braved the axes of loggers sent by
the local ruler, today it is seen an inspiration and a precursor for Chipko movement of Garhwal.
The Chipko movement, though primarily a livelihood movement rather than a forest conservation
movement, went on to become a rallying point for many future environmentalists, environmental
protests and movements the world over and created a precedent for non-violent protest. It occurred
at a time when there was hardly any environmental movement in the developing world, and its
success meant that the world immediately took notice of this non-violent Tree hugging movement,
which was to inspire in time, many such eco-groups, helped in slowing down the rapid
deforestation, exposed vested interests, increased ecological awareness, and demonstrate the
viability of people power. Above all, it stirred up existing civil society in India like never before,
which started looking towards tribal, and marginalized people and their issues like never before. So
much so that, quarter a century later, India Today mentioned, the people behind the "forest
satyagraha" of the Chipko movement, as amongst "100 people who shaped India". Today, beyond
the eco-socialism hue, it is being seen increasingly as an ecofeminism movement, as though many
of its leaders were men, women were not just its backbone, but also its mainstay, because they were
the ones most affected by the rampant deforestation,[citation needed] leading to lack of firewood
and fodder as well as water of drinking and irrigation. Over the years they also became primary
stakeholders in majority of the afforestation work that happened under the Chipko movement.
The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political,
environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources
including plant and animal species as well as their habitat for the future.
The early conservation movement included fisheries and wildlife management, water, soil
conservation and sustainable forestry. The contemporary conservation movement has broadened
from the early movement's emphasis on use of sustainable yield of natural resources and
preservation of wilderness areas to include preservation of biodiversity. Some say the conservation
movement is part of the broader and more far-reaching environmental movement, while others
argue that they differ both in ideology and practice. Chiefly in the United States, conservation is
seen as differing from environmentalism in that it aims to preserve natural resources expressly for
their continued sustainable use by humans. In other parts of the world conservation is used more
broadly to include the setting aside of natural areas and the active protection of wildlife for their
inherent value, as much as for any value they may have for humans.The nascent conservation
movement slowly developed in the 19th century, starting first in the scientific forestry methods
pioneered by Prussia and France in the 17th and 18th centuries. While continental Europe created
the scientific methods later used in conservationist efforts, British India and the United States are
credited with starting the conservation movement.
Foresters in India, often German, managed forests using early climate change theories (in America,
see also, George Perkins Marsh) that Alexander von Humboldt developed in the mid 19th century,
applied fire protection, and tried to keep the "house-hold" of nature. This was an early ecological
idea, in order to preserve the growth of delicate teak trees. The same German foresters who headed
the Forest Service of India, such as Dietrich Brandis and Berthold Ribbentrop, traveled back to
Europe and taught at forestry schools in England (Cooper's Hill, later moved to Oxford). These men
brought with them the legislative and scientific knowledge of conservationism in British India back
to Europe, where they distributed it to men such as Gifford Pinchot, which in turn helped bring
European and British Indian methods to the United States.Sivaramakrishnan (2009) explores the
boundaries between wildness and civility in Indian society, as well as connection of ideas of nature
to different aspects of social life, especially labor, aesthetics, politics, commerce, and agriculture.
These interconnected historical processes inform environmental history in India. At present forest
history is the area of environmental history in which the most important scholarly debate is
underway in India, with special interest in questions of water, air, industry, and climate change
The Bengal tiger has been a national symbol of India since about the 25th century BCE when it was
displayed on the Pashupati seal of the Indus Valley Civilisation. On the seal, the tiger, being the
largest, represents the Yogi Shiva's people.[31] The tiger was later the symbol of the Chola Empire
from 300 CE to 1279 CE and is now designated as the official animal of India.[32]
India hosts about two-thirds of the Bengal tiger population.[1] While the Project Tiger initiative
launched in 1972 initially reversed the population decline, the decline has resumed in recent years;
India's tiger population decreased from 3,642 in the 1990s to just over 1,400 from 2002 to 2008.[33]
Since then, the Indian government has undertaken several steps to reduce the destruction of the
Bengal tiger's natural habitat in India.
In the past, Indian censuses of wild tigers relied on the individual identification of footprints known
as pug marks — a method that has been criticized as inaccurate.[34] Using modern camera trap
counting methods, the landmark 2008 national tiger census report estimates only 1,411 adult tigers
in India, plus uncensused tigers in the Sundarbans delta mangrove forests.[35]
In May 2008, forest officials at the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India spotted 14 tiger
cubs.[36] In June 2008, a tiger from Ranthambore was relocated to the Sariska Tiger Reserve,
where all tigers had fallen victim to poachers and human encroachments since 2005.[37]
As of June 2009, tigers are found in 37 tiger reserves spread across 17 Indian states.[38]
Rivaling the Chitwan-Parsa-Valmiki Tiger Conservation Unit in Nepal for the title of the world's
best tiger habitat is the Western Ghats forest complex in western South India, an area of
14,400 square miles (37,000 km2) stretching across several protected areas. The challenge here, as
throughout most of Asia, is that people literally live on top of the wildlife. The Save the Tiger Fund
Council estimates that 7,500 landless people live illegally inside the boundaries of the 386-square-
mile (1,000 km2) Nagarhole National Park in southwestern India. A voluntary if controversial
resettlement is underway with the aid of the Karnataka Tiger Conservation Project led by K. Ullas
Karanth of the Wildlife Conservation Society.
A 2007 report by UNESCO, "Case Studies on Climate Change and World Heritage" has stated that
an anthropogenic 45-cm rise in sea level (likely by the end of the 21st century, according to the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), combined with other forms of anthropogenic stress
on the Sundarbans, could lead to the destruction of 75% of the Sundarbans mangroves.
The Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 enables government agencies to take strict measures so
as to ensure the conservation of the Bengal tigers. The Wildlife Institute of India estimates showed
that tiger numbers had fallen in Madhya Pradesh by 61%, Maharashtra by 57%, and Rajasthan by
40%. The government's first tiger census, conducted under the Project Tiger initiative begun in
1973, counted 1,827 tigers in the country that year. Using that methodology, the government
observed a steady population increase, reaching 3,700 tigers in 2002. However, the use of more
reliable and independent censusing technology (including camera traps) for the 2007–2008 all-India
census has shown that the numbers were in fact less than half than originally claimed by the Forest
Tiger scientists in India, such as Raghu Chundawat and Ullas Karanth, have faced criticism from
the forest department. Both these scientists have been for years calling for use of technology in the
conservation efforts. Chundawat, in the past, had been involved with radio telemetry (collaring the
tigers). While studying tigers in Panna tiger reserve, he repeatedly warned the FD authorities about
the problem of tiger poaching in the reserve; they remained in denial, producing bogus numbers of
tigers in their reports, and banned Chundawat from the reserve. Eventually, however, it was proven
he was right, as in 2008. the authorities admitted that all tigers in Panna have been poached.[50]
Karanth has been instrumental in using camera traps, radiotelemetry and prey counts. During the
1990s and early 2000s he also noticed that tiger numbers were significantly lower than the official
figures; his insistence on using modern science in tiger conservation and uncompromising efforts to
save tigers and their habitat have earned him many enemies.
The project to map all the forest reserves in India has not been completed yet, though the Ministry
of Environment and Forests had sanctioned Rs. 13 million for the same in March 2004.
George Schaller wrote:[51]
"India has to decide whether it wants to keep the tiger or not. It has to decide if it is
worthwhile to keep its National Symbol, its icon, representing wildlife. It has to decide
if it wants to keep its natural heritage for future generations, a heritage more important
than the cultural one, whether we speak of its temples, the Taj Mahal, or others, because
once destroyed it cannot be replaced."

In January 2008, the Government of India launched a dedicated anti-poaching force composed of
experts from Indian police, forest officials and various other environmental agencies.[52] Indian
officials successfully started a project to reintroduce the tigers into the Sariska reserve.[53] The
Ranthambore National Park is often cited as a major success by Indian officials against poaching.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an American animal rights organization
based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A non-profit
corporation with 300 employees and two million members and supporters, it says it is the largest
animal rights group in the world. Its slogan is "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or
use for entertainment."[1]
Founded in March 1980 by Newkirk and animal rights activist Alex Pacheco, the organization first
caught the public's attention in the summer of 1981 during what became known as the Silver Spring
monkeys case, a widely publicized dispute about experiments conducted on 17 macaque monkeys
inside the Institute of Behavioral Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. The case lasted ten years,
involved the only police raid on an animal laboratory in the United States, triggered an amendment
in 1985 to that country's Animal Welfare Act, and established PETA as an internationally known
organization.[2] Since then, in its campaigns and undercover investigations, it has focused on four
core issues—opposition to factory farming, fur farming, animal testing, and animals in
entertainment—though it also campaigns against fishing, the killing of animals regarded as pests,
the keeping of chained backyard dogs, cock fighting, dog fighting, and bullfighting.[3]
The group has been the focus of criticism from inside and outside the animal rights movement.
Newkirk and Pacheco are seen as the leading exporters of animal rights to the more traditional
animal protection groups in the United States, but sections of the movement nevertheless say PETA
is not radical enough—law professor Gary Francione calls them the new welfarists, arguing that
their work with industries to achieve reform makes them an animal welfare, not an animal rights,
group.[4] Newkirk told Salon in 2001 that PETA works toward the ideal, but tries in the meantime
to provide carrot-and-stick incentives.[5] There has also been criticism from feminists within the
movement about the use of scantily clad women in PETA's anti-fur campaigns, and criticism in
general that the group's media stunts trivialize animal rights. Newkirk's view is that PETA has a
duty to be "press sluts".[6]
Outside the movement, the confrontational nature of PETA's campaigns has caused concern, as has
the number of animals it euthanizes. It was further criticized in 2005 by United States Senator Jim
Inhofe for having given grants several years earlier to Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth
Liberation Front (ELF) activists. PETA responded that it has no involvement in ALF or ELF actions
and does not support violence, though Newkirk has elsewhere made clear that she does support the
removal of animals from laboratories and other facilities, including as a result of illegal direct