Essay by gramnetCollege, Undergraduate July 2003

download word file, 23 pages 3.0

Evironmentalism: The Next Step Broad Social Change Through Personal Commitment Introduction In the last thirty years, America has witnessed an environmental revolution. New laws like the 1963 Clean Air Act and the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act forged new ground in political environmentalism. Social phenomena like Earth Day, organized by Dennis Hayes in 1970, and the beginning of large-scale recycling, marked by Oregon's 1972 Bottle Bill, have help change the way Americans think about the environment. As we approach the third millennium, however, we must reconsider our place on the planet and reflect on our efforts and progress towards a sustainable society. As global warming becomes a scientific reality, natural disasters make monthly appearances in the headlines, and communities continue to find their ground-water contaminated by industrial and nuclear waste, we must ask ourselves: are we doing enough? The environmental movement in the past has largely been a social and political phenomenon.

While many of us recycle (yet still only 35 percent of us) and take dead batteries to our town's Hazardous Waste Day, most Americans have not made the environment a personal issue. Very few of us have taken the kind of personal life-changing steps that are necessary to create an environmentally sustainable society. It is simply naive to believe that America's present rates of consumption, waste production, and environmental contamination are sustainable. The kind of social change required can only happen when we as individuals embrace the effort in our everyday lives. Only then will corporate America and the government realize that they too must change to maintain their customer base and public support. This kind of personal . In six parts, this article will re-examine our place in the environmental movement and investigate exactly what changes we can make in our personal lives to bring about positive...