Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Environmentalist

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 27, 2015

“What is an environmentalist?” is a common question that all of us, in one occasion or another, have asked others or has been asked of us by others.  To most, the environmentalist remains to be an enigma (meaning: a person that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand).  To a few who understand the concept of environmentalism, however, the term environmentalist means: (a) An expert on environmental issues and concerns; (b) A person who has a high level of awareness of environmental problems; (c) Any person who advocates or works to protect the environment and natural resources; (d) A person who believes that differences between individuals or groups, especially in moral and intellectual attributes, are predominantly determined by environmental factors as surroundings, upbringing, or experience; and, (e) A person with extensive experience or academic background on environmental science.

The term environmentalist remains largely vague and often loosely used as a moniker by people.  In this day and age of environmental awareness or a growing level of awareness in environmental matters --- such as global warming, climate change, rising sea level, pollution, etc. --- some people are quick to claim this name for themselves.  Often, they also glory in being called environmentalists.  I have often been called an environmentalist myself and I sincerely cringe at the thought.  We should consider that joining an estero clean up or a one-day tree planting event does not make one an environmentalist.

So what does it really take to be an environmentalist?  Or when is someone truly practicing environmentalism? In my simple mind, environmentalism is a combination of the possession of academic, scholarly and technical information about the environment, a high level consciousness and awareness of present and future environmental problems, the sustainable adherence to and practice of an environmental advocacy and the constant research and study of way and means to protect and manage the environment. 

There really is more to the practice of an environmental advocacy that makes one an environmentalist.  Environmentalism --- a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental protection and sustainable development (meaning: making sure that the resources utilized today would still be available for utilization tomorrow) --- is a mind-boggling concept to understand and cannot be learned overnight.  Individuals who have been “soaked” in environmentalism for most of their lives are naturally very prudent on this matter.  If the experts (on the environment) prefer to be careful, who then are we to be overly liberal in claiming the moniker, “The Environmentalist”.

Just my little thoughts…

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