Environmentalism Is Not A New Concept Essay

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Environmentalism is not a new concept. It is a social movement that aims to protect and improve the health of the environment. While humans have accepted this view of environmentalism for the Holocene epoch, political environmentalist Paul Wapner proposes a renewed definition of environmentalism that has emerged in the Anthropocene epoch. Wapner sees the Anthropocene as an epoch of human geological influence, where humans have inflicted a signature on the earth, leaving it “independent of human experience” (37). That is to say, humans have embedded themselves into the earth systems, resulting in a new form of nature that is not autonomous, but rather defined by a hybrid human-nature relationship. This concept of a human-nature hybridity is the foundation for Wapner’s argument of an environmentalism that embraces the post-nature age and calls for a “more sustainable, just and ecologically healthy” (50) future.
Although Wapner emphasises an environmentalism that requires human action in the form of sustainable development, his argument falls short by failing to define both sustainability and sustainable development in the Anthropocene. Society defines sustainability as the ability to maintain the health and balance of nature which directly contradicts Wapner’s proposal for a hybridized world. This contradiction poses the question of how Wapner’s renewed environmentalism affects sustainability. Or more specifically, how does the hybrid-nature relationship affect sustainable
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