Environmental Movement


Environmentalism is one of the most powerful social revolutions of the twentieth century. It has affected our legal and educational systems, the economy, politics—and our day-to-day lives. And it will continue to promote change in the new millennium.

Noted science writer Laurence Pringle examines this extraordinary force. He traces the movement's evolution from its grassroots beginning in seventeenth-century New England town meetings to its present-day focus on global issues. He...

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Environmentalism is one of the most powerful social revolutions of the twentieth century. It has affected our legal and educational systems, the economy, politics—and our day-to-day lives. And it will continue to promote change in the new millennium.

Noted science writer Laurence Pringle examines this extraordinary force. He traces the movement's evolution from its grassroots beginning in seventeenth-century New England town meetings to its present-day focus on global issues. He describes the key events and concerns that have shaped it and tells how writers, thinkers, scientists, politicians, and ordinary people have played major roles through the years. Finally, he looks forward to a new century, discussing some of the challenges that must be faced and overcome in the years ahead.

Informative and thought provoking, The Environmental Movement is important reading for everyone who cares about our planet.

Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL)

Chronicles the history, key players, and future challenges of the environmental movement.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Urban sprawl, acid rain, ozone layer, food chain, and biodiversity are but a few of the newly coined terms of the 20th century. In a concise and comprehensive history, this award-winning author has created a resource that explores the relationship between humans and nature. The beautifully written text is so informative and well written that it is sure to hook kids. From the Native Americans, to the establishment of an official Earth Day, to comments about what lies ahead, the issues raised are thought provoking. The book includes the work of early activists such as Henry David Thoreau, George Perkins Marsh, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson. Theodore Roosevelt is credited as the conservation president with his protection of wildlife refuges and national monuments such as the Grand Canyon. Through "green education" even children have been instrumental as protectors of nature. Their impact on parents and politicians has lead to recycling efforts. Black-and-white photographs help to detail one of the most powerful social revolutions of recent history. If one cares about the planet and is willing to face upcoming challenges, this book should be on your reading list. 2000, Harper Collins, $16.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Laura Hummel
Environmentalism is a social movement that affects everyone. It impacts politics, the economy, education, and the law. The key element of environmentalism is change—changing the way people think about the world they inhabit and changing the actions they take to preserve it. In succinct fashion, the author charts the course of the environmental movement from its roots to the problems that need to be addressed in the new millenium. From its beginnings, environmentalism has been shepherded by visionaries. The roster of pioneers is impressive: Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson. In addition to delineating their achievements, the book takes note of some villains, mentioning most prominently former president Ronald Reagan and his first Secretary of the Interior, James Watt. Major threats to the environment outlined are the destruction of the rain forests, the vanishing ozone layer, urban sprawl, global warming, toxic waste, and pollution. Other topics covered are Earth Day, Greenpeace, recycling, the Sierra Club, the Endangered Species Act, and the Northern spotted owl. This title is a concise, comprehensive history of a dynamic revolution. With many black-and-white photographs and lists of environmental groups and government agencies, it is a superb resource for research on the subject by a highly acclaimed writer of nonfiction for young adults. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Further Reading. Appendix. VOYA CODES: 5Q 2P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High,defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, HarperCollins, 144p, $16.95. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Randy Brough

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Pringle traces the relationship of humans and the environment in America from the arrival of European settlers until the present. The author deftly incorporates a wide range of topics from the establishment of national parks to the threat of global warming. Although he includes information about people who have played important roles in preserving the environment, his focus is not biographical. He considers the complex interplay of politics, corporate profits, and environmental advocacy, and discusses differences of opinion among various groups about the best way to preserve ecosystems. Black-and-white photographs offer examples of both preservation and destruction. Lengthy lists for further reading and addresses for many environmental groups and government agencies are appended. Overall, a realistic overview of accomplishments and setbacks as well as future challenges to preserve the environment.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Laurence Pringle (Bats, 2000, etc.) has assembled a superior overview of the environmental movement from its inception to the present. He begins with North America's first folly, when the settlers arrived, facing a brutal, merciless land that seemed inexhaustibly abundant. Pringle leads us through the first steps of the environmental movement, when few realized the abundance was far from inexhaustible. He describes the onset of the naturalists and the conservationists who were lead by the likes of John Muir and put into political practice by Theodore Roosevelt. Pringle highlights the foremost individuals of the movement and includes illustrative photographs. Pringle never shies from being blunt about the treachery of some political leaders or corporations, but neither does he paint a portrait too heavily weighted on one side, rather offering a fine journalistic balance of facts without histrionics or pedantry. The book is so engrossing and even uplifting that when it finally arrives at the nineties it is a sad declaration that despite all that has been achieved, the planet and its creatures still face incredible peril in many forms. Written with clarity and resonance, this leaves the reader with a sense of progress as well as urgency for further change. (lists of ecosystem services, environmental and government agencies, further reading, index, not seen) (Nonfiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688156268
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 10 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.58 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurence Pringle, whom the Chicago Tribune calls "one of America's top nonfiction writers for young readers," concentrates mainly on biological and environmental subjects. He is the highly acclaimed author of over ninety books for young people, among them Smoking: A Risky Business and Vanishing Ozone. Laurence Pringle is the recipient of two major awards for his body of writing—the Eva L. Gordon Award for Children's Science Literature and the Washington Post/Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. He lives in West Nyack, New York.

Laurence Pringle grew up in farm country near Rochester, New York. For four years he attended a one-room school (one teacher with grades one through eight!). He spent many hours alone outdoors and to this day feels at home in the wild and a kinship with nature.

Larry studied wildlife ecology at Cornell University and later earned a master's degree in the same subject at the University of Massachusetts. He began a doctoral program in forest ecology at Syracuse University but then switched to journalism. He began to write articles that were published in nature and outdoor magazines.

A turning point came in 1963. After teaching science for a year, and after taking more journalism courses, Larry became an editor of Nature and Science, a new children's science magazine, published at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

"We had a small staff," he recalls, "and I learned a lot about writing, editing, and picture research. I also learned that my science background and curiosity about nature could be put to good use in children's magazines and books."

His first book, Dinosaurs and Their World, was published in 1968. He became a full-time freelance writer and photographer in 1970. Since then he has had numerous articles and photographs published, but concentrates on writing nonfiction for young people.

Today Larry is the highly respected author of nearly eighty books. His titles include fictional picture books and an inspiring and funny book about human error (The, Earth Is Flat and Other Great Mistakes), but his books are mostly about wildlife, ecology, and natural-resource issues.

Many of them, including Death Is Natural and Living Treasure: Saving Earth's Threatened Biodiversity, have been named NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children. In recognition of his work, Larry has received a Special Conservation Award from the National wildlife Federation and the 1983 Eva L. Gordon Award for Children's Science Literature.

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Read an Excerpt

Household Words

Earth Day, observed each April, is dedicated to the environment on which we all depend. It is a day of celebration, education, and protest.

The first Earth Day, held on April 22, 1970, marked a turning point in the history of public understanding of nature and of humankind's place in it. During the months leading up to the first Earth Day and for months afterward, news media focused on pollution and other harm done to the air, water, and land. Millions of people were introduced to the word environment.

The environment is the total of all conditions that surround and affect a living thing. It includes the air, water, land, and living things. By 1970 most people in the United States, Canada, and many other nations had begun to recognize that a polluted environment can threaten more than the survival of birds or fish. It can threaten humans too.

For the first time millions of people were also introduced to the word ecology. This is a science, the study of the relationships between living things and their environments. Compared with physics and astronomy, ecology is a fairly young science (it was first defined in 1866). However, it is vitally important and is a key to understanding our environment.

Since 1970 these terms--environment and ecology--have become household words. People who are active in reducing pollution, protecting threatened wildlife habitats, and confronting similar issues are called environmentalists.Their collective effort is a social and political force called the environmental movement. Since 1970 this movement has caused change and sparked controversy, not just in North America but all over theworld. It will continue to do so as people face environmental problems and choices in the new century.

Before we consider what lies ahead for the environmental movement, however, it is important to explore its beginnings. The values that environmentalists express today can be traced back centuries.

Nature's Masters or Partners?

To many of the Europeans who came to North America, the New World was a frightening place of vast, dark forests, predatory beasts, and "savage" natives. In September 1620 Pilgrim leader William Bradford observed what is now Cape Cod, Massachusetts, from the deck of the Mayflower and wrote of "a hideous and desolate wilderness full ofwilde beasts and wilde men."

Clearly--to Bradford--North America needed to be tamed, its wildness subdued. He and other Europeans had their own idea of what a proper landscape looked like: a garden. This view is still with us and to a certain extent explains why some people from the eastern United States expect to have grassy lawns when they relocate to the deserts of the Southwest.

To the European explorers the New World was also a vast treasury of wealth: gold, timber, fertile soils, fish and wildlife, and other resources. Explorers reported wildlife and fish in incredible and "inexhaustible" abundance. When the supplies of wildlife dwindled and forests were cut in one place, it seemed there were always more to the west. The natural environment of North America changed rapidly as people cleared forests, plowed fields, drained swamps, built roads and houses, and killed wildlife for food or to protect livestock.

Colonists and settlers encountered the people who had originally settled North America. The Indians, as they were mistakenly called, had ideas about the land and its life that contrasted sharply with those of the invading Europeans. They saw themselves as part of the naturalworld nature's partners. Europeans saw themselves as separate and above the natural world--nature's masters.

The Indians were puzzled by the white settlers' apparent contempt for the earth and by the notion that a person could "own" a piece of land, a length of a river, or part of a lakeshore. Separate tribes went to war over territories, but no individual Indian thought of owning land. In contrast, one of the first goals of settlers from Europe was to claim ownership of land. This led to many misunderstandings, and to broken treaties, with the Indians.

In 1877 Chief Joseph was asked to surrender Nez Percé land to white settlers. He protested that he had no right to do so. He said, "The one who has the right to dispose of it is the one who has created it." He added, "We are contented to let things remain as the Great Spirit made them. The white men are not, and will change the rivers and mountains if they do not suit them." (Ironically, as former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall wrote in his 1963 book The Quiet Crisis, today we find ourselves "turning back to the ancient Indian land ideas, to the Indian understanding that we are not outside of nature, but of it.")

Native Americans have been called the first environmentalists. Historians give us evidence that they were appalled by the wastefulness of Europeans--for example, by shooting bison and taking only their tongues, which were considered a delicacy. Plains Indians used almost all of a slain bison. There is also evidence that Native Americans observed nature and wisely applied their knowledge. For instance, they deliberately set fires in some habitats to release natural fertilizers that spurred plant growth and to increase wildlife populations.

The Environmental Movement. Copyright © by Laurence Pringle. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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