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Mainstream American environmental movement - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Mainstream American Environmental Movement In the United States, environmentalism continues to be as diverse as the nation itself, with different racial, social and class divisions pursing self interests. The environmental movement is made up of many discursive communities, with each having specific issues of focus…
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Mainstream American environmental movement

Further, immigration policies and occupational experiences have also shaped the environmental encounters of different races. Rather than culminating into the intended functional marriage of conservation and liberalism, limitations of the environmental reform agenda has led marginalized races, people of color as well as working class Whites to develop alternative agendas related to environmental movements (Rosemarie 83). This paper will analyze the role of race in the American environmental movement, and why environmental groups have had difficulties in building racial diversity in the past. It will further suggest why mainstream American environmental movement has been overwhelmingly white in the past and what can be done to change the trend among religious groups. As early as the 19th century, African-American abolitionists were fighting against the use of the poisonous arsenic, alongside slavery, by tobacco plantation owners who were Whites (Bernstein 212). More recent history has shown that some middle class Whites fled urban cities and shifted their focus on wildlife issues, wilderness and outdoor explorations while those who remained developed urban parks as they attempted to progress environmental conditions. At the same time, the urban environmental activists accorded the white working class better safety and worker health as compared to people of color. Instead, the environmental activists drove them off their land into reservations where they were put into slavery and used as laborers earning low wages. This forced them (people of color) to develop environmental discourses and activist agendas that addressed, or sought to address, oppression and racism alongside violation of human rights, denunciation or loss of land ownership, restricted access to resources and safety and health issues (Bernstein 212). To bridge the gap between these historically diverse issues, modern day environmental movement in the United States is characterized by an array of social movements or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) representing international, national and local interests (Rosemarie 69). Founded on different political views, the stake they seek from their influence on the environmental policy also varies widely. To analyze the complexity of the environmental movement, research must view it in terms of the distinct memberships based on their world views. Just like organized religious groups, participation in the environmental movement is based on prescribed sets of beliefs. The beliefs are made up of cultural perspectives that define a community’s practices concerning environmental movements. For instance, one such group, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice is aligned with the concerns of environmental health. Oriented by this perspective, its objective is to safeguard the health of residents of urban areas by getting rid of toxic substances from the environment. On the other hand, another group, the Wilderness Society is concerned with the discourse of protection of biodiversity and perpetuation of intact environmental systems. Informed through this perspective, the Wilderness Society emphasizes on the creation and maintenance of wilderness areas in a bid to guarantee an enduring ecological diversity in their areas of interest. Viewed from the angles of these two different communities, it is apparent that they both have ... Read More
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