Environmental movement in the United States

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Environmentalists became much more influential in American politics after the creation or strengthening of numerous U.S. environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act and the formation of the US Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA in 1970. These successes were followed by the enactment of a whole series of laws regulating waste (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act), toxic substances (Toxic Substances Control Act), pesticides (FIFRA: Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act), clean-up of polluted sites (Superfund), protection of endangered species (Endangered Species Act), and more.

Fewer environmental laws have been passed in the last decade as corporations and other conservative interests have increased their influence over American politics.[citation needed] Corporate cooperation against environmental lobbyists has been organized by the Wise Use group.[citation needed] At the same time, many environmentalists have been turning toward other means of persuasion, such as working with business, community, and other partners to promote sustainable development.

Much environmental activism is directed towards conservation,[citation needed] as well as the prevention or elimination of pollution. However, conservation movements, ecology movements, peace movements, green parties, green- and eco-anarchists often subscribe to very different ideologies, while supporting the same goals as those who call themselves “environmentalists”. To outsiders, these groups or factions can appear to be indistinguishable.

As human population and industrial activity continue to increase, environmentalists often find themselves in serious conflict with those who believe that human and industrial activities should not be overly regulated or restricted, such as some libertarians.

Environmentalists often clash with others, particularly “corporate interests,” over issues of the management of natural resources, like in the case of the atmosphere as a “carbon dump”, the focus of climate change, and global warming controversy. They usually seek to protect commonly owned or unowned resources for future generations.

Those who take issue with new untested technologies are more precisely known, especially in Europe, as political ecologists. They usually seek, in contrast, to preserve the integrity of existing ecologies and ecoregions, and in general are more pessimistic about human “management”.[citation needed]

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