Environmental Movements in the United States Essay

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The United States has earned the reputation of a rebellious country since its birth in the revolution against Britain. Over the course of history, Americans have repeatedly confronted oppression, both foreign and national, through various wars and rights movements. Unfortunately, when it comes to environmental issues the average American has grown increasingly complacent. With a renewed urgency, government is working to combat global warming, but lacks the necessary social backing. This social support could be supplied through a new environmental movement that differs from past efforts. Throughout American history there have been three categories of environmental movements: preservation, conservation, and modern reform, all of which have…show more content…
In the course of his lifetime, he was able to “champion protection of the Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon in Arizona…Yosemite Valley as a national park in 1890, as well as for General Grant and Sequoia national parks” (“John Muir (1838-1914)”). Muir’s collaboration with President Theodore Roosevelt not only helped to make these national parks existent, but also developed into part of the “rational use” philosophy that guided environmental policy of the conservation era. The conservation movement coincided with the progressive political era of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Significant figures of this time were George Perkins Marsh and Gifford Pinchot, both who played predominant roles in shaping the rational use policy by calling for simultaneous protection of natural resources and ability to use them for economic purposes. Marsh, an intellectual Vermont-native, wrote on the vital interconnection between humans and nature, calling for a taming or “command of nature,” believing it was “important to weigh results and act accordingly” (“George Perkins Marsh: Renaissance Vermonter”). As a professional forester, Pinchot held similar environmental values, boldly declaring “the object of our forest policy is not to preserve the forests because they are refuges for the wild creatures of the wilderness, but the making of prosperous homes…Use must be the test by which the forester tries himself” (Bailey,
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