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Question of the Week: What does “environmentalism” mean to you?

2009 August 10

Some people put plastic sheets on the windows for the winter to stay warm. Some do it to save money on the electric bill. Some do it to conserve resources and protect the planet.

What does “environmentalism” mean to you?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

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40 Responses leave one →
  1. David permalink
    August 10, 2009

    What does environmentalism mean to me? It means not only taking action to save energy in your own home, but to take action on creating renewable energy resources, dwindling the dependance on fossil fuels and other dirty energy resources. It also means taking action to help prevent deforestation and to provide more education on green living. And to top it all off it means that we all need to work together to create a more sustainable planet through cleaner living and better care for our planet.

  2. C.K. McGuire permalink
    August 10, 2009

    “Environmentalism” means to me individual responsibility to make a sustainable difference for the now, but more importantly TOMORROW. It doesn’t mean that we have to hug trees and go join an “environmental” group. What it means is that we Pro-actively recognize that each of us influences our local, regional, and global environment and that we have both personal responsibility to care for the ONLY one planet that we have to live on. Each of us needs to be proactive in reducing energy use (electricity, gas, fuel), water consumption, and waste generation. When we add all the individual proactive actions together, that’s synergism at its best.

    Environmentalism also means SAVING money! That’s probably more important to most people today than ever – thinking and acting “green” saves us MONEY!

  3. Eeli permalink
    August 10, 2009

    Uh-oh. You’re going to get some long responses. Probably should have asked what does “effective environmentalism” mean to you.

  4. rita permalink
    August 10, 2009

    I was taught along time ago 1960-90s,my FATHER said respect nature it tells us more than you can imagine.
    Now that I have children i spoke out ten years ago about pesticides on lawns gov. buildings and schools.People did not want to hear about it. All they wanted was a green lawn ,if you look around,little flags state poison do not walk on lawn 72hrs.Where does that poison go?Into ground water,spraying of trees,leaf removal is harming our environment! Nature has a way of using leaves for a natural filtration system. We no longer have 6 inches of top soil it is being taken up by landscaping co where if we are looking to save money we need to educate about natural eco system Not hard to understand.When there are rotting trees green mold spreading on oak,maple we have a big problem.
    Chemicals have been proven to bring on asthma,sinus,frequent fatigue,I for one would like to have Gov start by example.
    In olden days there was a respect for nature not weeds but trees bushes orchards and natural remedies that fought insects.When we mess with nature pandemics happen,My Father believed respect and work with nature the answers are all around you.
    Why do we prune trees? No one in community could answer.Cutting your hair so it is healthy people want green what is wrong with leaves? Arcenic in our water there is no one caring or speaking up? We buy water to drink and pay water bill for arsenic that is a insult to our childrens health.
    My Father invented concrete wall systems to work with nature his STA-POD is the only SEA WAll in North Carolina still standing Army Corps knows but at the NJ shore they would rather spend millions every year dredging sand and building beach.Outcome no beach the following year.
    As society instant gratification does not start with children it .is society,lacking knowledge of basic biology,The History Of Medicine a book for everyone to read,in past society knew insects rodents animals showed signs of serious health problems.Today in our World there is no reason why we do not have clean water and systems for waste.Government must do there jobs EPA People respect you but make announcements about clean water keeping our sewage system up.How in the world did we build In NEW YORK State a tunnel that gave all New Yorkers the cleanest water system.Stop with red tape we must save our world town by town,street by street,enough with glaciers how about children and all these new nervous system disorders.Please I hope My Father lives long enough to bring his energy effiecent wall system to view it is so simple sometime that all it is.It is always there just waiting for someone to notice I will keep you posted.Raymond Oneill inventor and repectful citizen world War II Vet has put many people to work.His love and respect for nature gave me incredible insight into what we do everyday ti ruin Mother Nature.

  5. Marisa permalink
    August 10, 2009

    Environmentalism to me extends beyond energy issues. In it’s broadest sense, it means building and sustaining a healthy environment. Environment is everything around us. I view our earth and everything on it as our environment. Our environment is like a fish bowl–everything is interconnected and is influenced by things that happen in the fish bowl.

    Part of environmentalism is reducing energy usage which in turn can reduce a variety of pollutants. But it also means working toward healthy air, water, and food sources for optimum health of plants and animals, including humans, on our planet. And every action counts, be it helpful or hurtful. I agree that personal responsibility is important, as well as commitment at every level of society. Daily I work at reducing energy usage, car usage, and waste. I also try to buy organic often. I am happy for the existence of the EPA and environmental activist groups, and hope that we can all continue to strive for a healthy environment.

  6. Marisa permalink
    August 10, 2009

    It seems to be the age of twitter when a couple of paragraphs is a long answer. I find that to be a loss. Perhaps we should all strive for “long answers” to consider a question more in depth than what can be said in a couple of sentences. I look forward to reading more long answers on this open-ended question.

  7. joan permalink
    August 10, 2009

    To me, “Environmentalism” is a widely held belief that people are responsible for the state of their environment, and therefore are responsible to act to protect it.

  8. Bryan Doradea permalink
    August 10, 2009

    Is the ability to keep the environment green ..!

    sensitivity and to restore or preserve nature.

    work, develop and produce efficiently with minimal environmental wear.

  9. Laura Merugula permalink
    August 10, 2009

    If we have the right to pursue happiness, and it is inalienable, then mustn’t we also claim the responsibility to define happiness? In my hindsight, it seems to me that the definition of happiness by a reasonable person must include a healthy environment. Without this, it seems happiness is only apparent and the pursuit will end with the degradation of our land, air, and water. Consider a fox-hunt without a forest… What about taking your child to a river only to implore him not to drink the water? And what if we kept yourself abreast of the transport and fate of the heavy metals and chemicals that support our lifestyles? Would we really be pursuing happiness if we are wont to accept without action that it is certainly ending up in another community’s watershed, if not your own?

    Environmentalism is a pursuit that is inseparable from the pursuit of happiness, which me must hang on to as a right before it is quietly taken away in a beaurocratic siege.

  10. gpronger permalink
    August 10, 2009

    The Native Americans had an intrinsic understanding of the intertwined nature of existence of man and nature while the European approach was that nature was external to man, to be conquered and subdued.

    Historically, prior to 21 century, our ability to “damage” the environment was very limited, we may have in war plowed salt into the fields of an enemy to leave them barren, or polluted a local river or stream with human waste, but we did not have the ability to damage larger ecosystems, and with global warming, the planet.

    Environmentalism, to me, is coming to grips with the fact that man is a part of the natural system. This does not mean that we do not utilize aspects of the environment, but that we need to understand the ramifications of our actions, and potential long term consequences.

  11. SunMan permalink
    August 10, 2009

    For me, Environmentalism is first about reducing use and waste. Then, second, its about smartly producing and using (including using waster to produce).

  12. ChaseR permalink
    August 10, 2009

    Dedicated to thoughts and actions to preserve life and the environment.

  13. Nate permalink
    August 10, 2009

    Environmentalism to me is doing as much as reasonably possible to leave the smallest footprint on what comes after us.

    Sometimes this is purely a question of frugality and non-over-consumption, sometimes it is a matter of social justice to support those whose situation makes it difficult or impossible to consider environmental impacts of their actions.

    Sometimes it is rethinking our own image of “how things are”

  14. sayedalim permalink
    August 10, 2009

    Environmentalism to me is to save our planet from the dangerous and its easy by using the two gifts from god,THE SUN and THE WIND , those two is FREE .

  15. Ellen permalink
    August 10, 2009

    Environmentalism includes the concept of sustainability; Our ability to create a world for all humans and non humans that environmentally, socially, and economically provides for our current populations’ needs without damaging the ability of future generations to take care of themselves(Blackburn, 2008). As a training specialist, I envision, with your help, focus on initiatives that transform a 19th/20thc modeled organization; authoritarian-style of management, where competition is rewarded etc. to a culture where continuous learning, shared-leadership, compassion, transparancy, innovation, boldness, participation, generosity, social responsibility (inside/external) and creativity thrives.

  16. Ellen permalink
    August 10, 2009

    C.K.,
    I like the way you broadened the context of environmentalism to include sustainability, and that it is not limited to sustaining trees and electricity, but “relationships”; the intangibles, interconnectedness (whether we like it or not) to other people, animals, earth, soil, air, water etc. We can/will have to figure this out collectively or will future generations will not be privy to the goodies (resources) we have today.

  17. Ellen permalink
    August 10, 2009

    I tend to agree with your thoughts Marisa regarding Eli’s concern of “depth/length”. Isn’t so much already dummed down? I thought the NetGen’ers were supposed to be the smartest generation ever, according to some raw IQ data I read about recently. Critical thinking is the means to solving the environmental crisis. That requires, thoughts which to communicate meaning, may require more than talking one or two grunts.

  18. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    August 10, 2009

    Environmentalism means doing all we can to recycle plastics, tin, green waste, and other waste, as well as water. Trading in old clunker cars for newer more fuel efficient ones ohr electric or hydogen powered cars. Also, building buildings in ways they use less gas and electric power. And it means working with Congress, the state legislature, the county board of supervisors, and the city council in support of environmentally important legislation. We should also ask big corporations to study their water and carbon footprints, plan what they will do to reduce their use of water and greenhouse gases in their operations and supply chains and make their plans public. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  19. Johnny R. permalink
    August 10, 2009

    “Environmentalism” means to save our shrinking biosphere from the suicidal greed of the growing economy.

  20. Sara Frazier permalink
    August 10, 2009

    To me, it means taking into account the external costs of every decision I make and the impact my actions have on the environment.

  21. Alexandros Mavratsas permalink
    August 11, 2009

    People need to understand that the earth is a living organism of which, humans are part of it. So we need to raise the awareness of people to see beyond their individual needs and understand that they need to respect the environment and keep it clean the same way they respect their home and family.

  22. K.B Shaikh permalink
    August 11, 2009

    The most cmprehensive answer is: ” It is to respect the natue as mother. It keep the globe in its lap to secure it”.

  23. Hamid permalink
    August 11, 2009

    To me this is a sense of being a part of nature, and live with other planet’s fauna as one part not as boss of earth.

  24. Don permalink
    August 11, 2009

    A collection of the activities we achieve to make our world a better place for those who follow.

  25. Anonymous permalink
    August 11, 2009

    No offense to Johnny R. personally, just something about this wording triggered a thought in my mind….

    A better question is, “what are you willing to give up for the sake of environmentalism?” The economy is driven by people’s needs (real or perceived) or wants. So what are we all willing to surrender to slow this outrageous growth?

    One tiny example: I gave up “extra soft” varieties of toilet paper, in favor of recycled.

  26. charles permalink
    August 11, 2009

    yes – say it loud! those two is FREE. We needs more free energy source so we is using free thing and pertacting the enviromint protection.

  27. Jorge Gerônimo Hipólito permalink
    August 11, 2009

    Environmentalism is the behavior of those who strive in the search for quality of life, where the balance between love and reason is essential.

  28. Lori Latimer permalink
    August 11, 2009

    Environmentalism = being concerned enough with your own habitat to tend it and care for it. It is also considering each part of the environment and how all systems cojoin to keep us housed and fed on this miraculous planet, and using wisdom and understanding to sustain us all.

  29. Tanushree Bhattacharjee permalink
    August 11, 2009

    People who are concerned about their environment,environmentalism or “save”environment is their hobby/passion/job/duty.

  30. Patricia Myers permalink
    August 11, 2009

    Environmentalism to me is recoginizing that each day we live on this planet the choices we make have an impact on our environment as well as on the people in that environment. In recoginizing that we impact our environment we not only think about our choices but we use our voices to come together to ring loud and clear in the minds of those who have yet to learn and embrace environmentalism, by doing so we create change.

  31. sharon permalink
    August 12, 2009

    Environmentalism means cooperating with the environment as a member of it, not controlling it, separated from it.

  32. Hussein Nasser al islami permalink
    August 12, 2009

    Never think selfish, future is for homo race. Keep self green until keep nature.

  33. Druz permalink
    August 12, 2009

    We are the stewards of this planet. God created it so. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to go to extremes, and attempt to play God, with extreme prejudice.

    Some years ago, I was drilling some wells in Alabama; it was an attempt to intercept and remove a plume of DDT and chlorinated solvents that had contaminated the drinking water supply. While inspecting the cuttings from the borehole, we discovered a tiny blind cave shrimp that had been written off as being extinct. Because of NEPA, we had to stop our drilling and perform an EIS.

    For over five years, the “environmentalists” successfully argued in court that the shrimp was worth preserving. Meanwhile, the affected people continued to drink DDT tea.

    Go figure….

  34. Jackenson Durand permalink
    August 12, 2009

    The term Environmentalism represents to me aptitude of human Psycho-Philosophy to adept to their environment.
    We have been creating by nature environment, we feed ourselves from it. Even, early science came from it. Anyone who can try to preserve this prestigious nature environment would probably improve a different perspective for our living methodological model.

  35. vishal garg permalink
    August 14, 2009

    I think, if we take some thing from environment then we must give it any thing. If we can’t give any thing then we have to protect it, this is the real meaning of environmentalism to me.

  36. Johnny R. permalink
    August 14, 2009

    That’s a joke, right? Save the biosphere by changing toilet paper ( ! ) Meanwhile, a million more people are added to the problem and whatever toilet paper you use won’t stop them from consuming and trashing and birthing more millions to do the same until our gasping biosphere collapses under growing mountains of landfill and oceans of plastic debris. But you won’t even talk about peacefully reducing the human population and recycling 100% of all waste and trash. That might interfere with “progress”!

  37. Bonnie Aylor permalink
    August 15, 2009

    Wow, it’s a lot of things combined into one. It requires a general passion for life in general, a dismissal of the game of power and control and a release into a life where you can hear the earth and all of it’s components literally speaking to you in one form or another and you’ve grown to love that connection, that interaction, so much so that you’ll dedicate your life to protecting those things so that they don’t have to cease to exist, knowing that the human species is important somewhere along the contingency but also knowing that the importance is just the same as the importance of everything else, hence being able to somehow sacrifice and evolve away from the need and desire to be the most powerful and to relax and enjoy what’s already naturally around you. It’s a mindframe, and a lifestyle.

  38. neha tandel permalink
    August 19, 2009

    It means for me to be the whole earth clean and beautiful..
    It means we get fresh air to breath, pure water to drink.. also pure food to eat.. And to get this we should use products which are nature friendly. We should recycle the products after its use.. In short we should be careful to not to spoil this mother nature as much as possible… etc..etc..

  39. neha tandel permalink
    August 19, 2009

    I agree with your thought.. nice..

  40. Ken Hightower permalink
    November 28, 2009

    Environmentalism to me means taking some sort of action to create change. Years ago I started my crusade to remove toxic chemicals from bedrooms by offering our customers an all natural sleep solution in the form of latex mattresses.. I’ve also embarked on an education process to help parents understand the impact of plastic bottles on our landfills and how to eliminate this burden by making some simple changes.

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