The harmony that has been present through a longer period of history in the man – nature relationship, has been disrupted by man himself with the uncontrolled urban and industrial development, fixated on unlimited accumulation of goods and profit. The irrational and excessive devastation of the biosphere has directly endangered the survival of the human population, but also remaining wildlife.
During the 1960’s, people’s consciousness began awakening (mostly in economically developed countries) in regards to the consequences of such social behavior, which had caused a high degree of endangerment to the nature. Thanks to the awakened consciousness, new ideas emerged and new values were adopted that opposed the negative tendencies that had been taking place in the sociosphere of the human environment.
Almost at the same time, a general opinion started to prevail in that political parties and various state administrations are not able to sufficiently respond to the arisen challenges and protect the fundamental human right, the right to a healthy environment. Because of these reasons, citizens began organizing themselves in social groups that continuously grew and developed into environmental social organizations.
With the increased awareness about the seriousness of the consequences resulting from the destruction of natural resources, as well as the need for self-organized action in the direction of their protection, real pre-conditions were created for establishing environmental movements.
Together with other alternative movements in the 1960s, environmental movements experienced a sudden expansion (though their beginning can be found as early as the XIX century). It was then that the proto-environmental movement appeared, known as the Сonservation movement, Nature conservation.
The Conservation movement, also known as the Nature conservation movement, is a political, environmental and social movement that seeks to protect and manage natural resources, including animal and plant species, as well as their habitats. The idea of conservationists was taking care of the preservation of nature, which would leave it (as a heritage for future generations) in a better condition than then the one found.
The conservation that had been based on evidence, sought to use high quality scientific evidence to carry out efforts for protection of nature as efficiently as possible.
The early conservation movement had developed out of the necessity to preserve natural resources such as: fisheries, wildlife, water, soil, forests, as well as sustainable forestry.
Unlike the early movement, the contemporary conservation movement expanded its sphere of action, particularly in the area of sustainability in using natural resources and protection of wilderness, with the purpose of – preserving biodiversity.
The conservation movements didn’t have the features and form of action that are characteristic of social movements, but nevertheless, by promoting their ideas and values, managed to oppose the unfavorable social trends. The real environmental movements crystalized from them later.
Conservation movements, unlike social movements, had a “limited discourse”. In their ideas, they celebrated nature “itself”, and could not go deeper into the social causes and consequences of the destruction of the environment.
The lack of their activities can be seen in that they were short-term and pragmatic, used conventional political methods and had an oligarchic organizational structure.
Nonetheless, looking back in history, they did achieve certain success in their activities. For example, in 1872, in the state of Wyoming, the Yellowstone National Park was declared the first national park in the world.
When Theodore Roosevelt assumed office as president of the United States, in 1901, he managed to convince Congress to pass several conservation laws.
Social and political movements are an important social phenomenon, as they result in mass political mobilization of activists, followers and ordinary citizens, who can put quality pressure on the institutions of the system, all with the purpose – welfare and a dignified life for all.
by: Natasa Malinka Minovska
translation: N. Cvetkovska
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