American Environmentalism as a Political Ideology

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-7-64-72

T. Rovinskaya (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The article is devoted to the formation of the American Environmentalism as a philosophic school and a political ideology from the latter half of the 19th century until today. The author follows the genesis of its three major directions – the Conservationist Movement, Preservationism and Greenism – which gradually developed into the single “Green” ideology that has been influencing the state environmental policy intrinsically since the end of the 19th century. In the course of rapid economic development, especially after the World War II, the “Limits to Growth” concept captured the consciousness of the American society as ordinary people became aware of multiple environmental disasters inevitably resulting from industrial growth – not only the traditional need to preserve wild nature and protect endangered species, but also the necessity to control the cleanness of air, water and soils, to monitor a radiation level, to securely dispose hard waste in big amounts, to remove ramifications of chemicals use in agriculture and in households, etc. Although the Conservationist philosophy (meaning merely a conservation of nature and natural resources for present and future generations) remains the core of the “Green” ideology in the U.S. up to the present day, many other allied concepts were emerging or restored during the 20th century, such as the Malthusianism (in form of Neo-Malthusianism), New Environmentalism, Eco-Sociology, Eco-Marxism, Free Market Environmentalism, Evangelical Environmentalism, Radical Environmentalism, Ecological Anarchism, Post-Environmentalism and other. Some of these approaches lay emphasis rather on social problems connected with destruction of the environment, other deal more with environmental issues themselves. Generally, the American Environmentalism in its modern state is regarded by its adepts as an insufficient political ideology deprived of an essential power to solve new environmental problems or effectively influence state policy in present-day conditions. It seems to have reached its limits, and needs to transform into a new political ideology relevant to realities of the 21st century. 

Keywords: Environmentalism, frontier, Conservationist Movement, Preservationism, Greenism, Limits to Growth, Neo-Malthusianism, New Environmentalism, Eco-Sociology, New Ecological Paradigm, Eco-Marxism, Free Market Environmentalism, Evangelical Environmentalism, Radical Environmentalism, Ecological Anarchism, Post-Environmentalism 


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For citation:
Rovinskaya T. American Environmentalism as a Political Ideology. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2017, vol. 61, no. 7, pp. 64-72.

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