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In general terms, environmentalism can be defined as a concern with safeguarding the natural world and its various elements and the differing ways in which such a concern is expressed by people. Specifically, environmentalism comprises differing philosophical approaches to nature and several social movements based on them. Conservation, preservation, “wise use,” the wilderness movement in the United States, environmental protectionism, and sustainability, among other philosophies and social movements, help form and define environmentalism. Various scientific enterprises, such as the science of ecology, that have made the environment their subject matter should also be counted as part of this notion.

Individuals who were prominent in the early vanguard of the environmental movement include Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, and Aldo Leopold. The contemporary expression of ...

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