DOI link for Environmental Movement
Environmental Movement book
Human beings have always altered their environ-ment. Yet it took hundreds of years encompassing the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the rise of capitalism for the idea to take hold that conquering the natural environment will advance human civilization. Indeed, for most of human history, people understood nature as a given, as an integral aspect of their society, and not as something apart. In taking from their environment, people recognized the need to give back, whether that meant migrating from one hunting ground to another or leaving a field fallow so that it might regenerate its nutrients. With the rise of market economies and scientific reasoning, however, human beings began to break their ties with the environment. Nature became an instrument of progress, a set of resources to be consumed in the development of human society. Technological advancement, itself the result of the human manipulation of the physical world, increased the possibilities for the exploitation of natural resources. Water could power factories; heat could shape iron into tools; steam could drive machines. Whole new industries transformed society, reducing human vulnerability to natural disaster and reshaping the relationship between people and nature.