“The goal of life is to live in agreement with nature.”

Awareness of our delicate relationship with our habitat likely arose among early hunter-gatherers when they saw how fire and hunting tools impacted their environment. Anthropologists have found evidence of human-induced animal and plant extinctions from 50,000 BCE, when only about 200,000 Homo sapiens roamed the Earth. We can only speculate about how these early humans reacted, but migrating to new habitats appears to be a common response.

In Pritish Kumar Halder’s article, you will read what steps you have taken to prevent nature and also learn the environmental history movements.


History of the environmental movement

Concern for the impact on human life of problems such as air and water pollution dates to at least Roman times. Pollution is associated with the spread of epidemic disease in Europe between the late 14th century and the mid-16th century, and soil conservation was practiced in China, India, and Peru as early as 2,000 years ago. In general, however, such concerns do not give rise to public activism.


Ecological awareness first appears in the human record at least 5,000 years ago. Vedic sages praise the wild forests in their hymns, Taoists urged that human life should not reflect nature’s patterns and the Buddha taught compassion for all sentient beings.

Early environmental response

Five thousand years ago, the Indus civilization of Mohenjo Darron,  recognized the effects of pollution on human health and practiced waste management and sanitation. In Greece, as deforestation led to soil erosion, the philosopher Plato lamented, “All the richer and softer parts have fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land remains.” Communities in China, India, and Peru understood the impact of soil erosion and prevented it by creating terraces, crop rotation, and nutrient recycling.

Environmental rights

Perhaps the first real environmental activists were the Bishnoi Hindus of Khojaly, who were slaughtered by the Maharaja of Jodhpur in 1720 for attempting to protect the forest that he felled to build himself a palace.

Environmental action

“That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology,” wrote Aldo Leopold in A Sand County Almanac, “but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics … a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

Clean Air Act

In the early 20th century, the chemist Alice Hamilton led a campaign against lead poisoning from leaded gasoline, accusing General Motors of willful murder. The corporation attacked Hamilton, and it took governments 50 years to ban leaded gasoline. Meanwhile, industrial smog choked major world cities. In 1952, 4,000 people died in London’s infamous killer fog, and four years later the British Parliament passed the first Clean Air Act.

Ecology and global movement

Ecology grew into a full-fledged, global movement with the development of nuclear weapons. Albert Einstein, who felt morally troubled by his contribution to the nuclear bomb, drafted an anti-nuclear manifesto in 1955 with British philosopher Bertrand Russell, signed by ten Nobel Prize winners. The letter inspired the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in the UK – a model for modern, non-violent civil disobedience.

Deep ecology

Deep ecology, environmental philosophy and social movement based on the belief that humans must radically change their relationship to nature from one that values nature solely for its usefulness to human beings to one that recognizes that nature has an inherent value. Sometimes called an “Eco Sophy,” deep ecology offers a definition of the self that differs from traditional notions and is a social movement that sometimes has religious and mystical undertones.

A focus on the biosphere

Conservationism, protectionism, the science of ecology, and deep ecology are some of the major components in the political and ethical movement of environmentalism. Deep ecologists often contrast their own position with what they refer to as the “shallow ecology” of other environmentalists. They contend that the mainstream ecological movement is concerned with various environmental issues such as pollution, overpopulation, and conservation only to the extent that those issues have a negative effect on an area’s ecology and will disrupt human interests.

The role of the ecological self

During the early 1970s, Naas suggested that the environmentalist movement need to do much more than conserve and protect the environment. He held that a radical reevaluation for the understanding of human nature was needed. In particular, he claimed that environmental degradation was likely due to a conception of the human self that has been ill defined in the past.

The Deep Ecology Platform

In 1984,  Naas and Sessions devised an eight-point statement, or platform, for deep ecology. The statement is offered not as a rigid or dogmatic manifesto but rather as a set of fairly general principles that can help people articulate their own deep ecological positions. It was also meant to serve as a guide toward the establishment of a deep ecology movement.

Currents within the social movement

From its inception, deep ecology has had a loose combined formation of followers that come from such different groups as feminists (or “ecofeminists”), “social ecologists,” pacifists, mystics, and postmodernists. Each of those diverse groups has its own perspective of what deep ecology have to be and in what directions it needs to proceed.