ideology

Feminism

Feminism is an ideology and a political, social and economic movement whose main concern is to achieve gender equality and undo all the discrimination and oppression which had been directed against one section of the society since time immemorial. Initially, the movement aimed at establishing equal rights and legal protection for women. The theoretical foundation of feminism has as its primary focus on the position of women in society. Although the term is derived from the Latin word ‘Femina’ which means women or female, it should not be confused with a synonym for women or being an ideology exclusively subscribed to by women. The contemporary feminist movement became a prominent force in modern politics only by late 1960s, however, its existence dates back much farther. It belongs to the family of ideologies which were produced by the French Revolution such as nationalism and liberalism. Although feminist ideas may have originated in the seventeenth century, the first real feminist movement did not take place until the latter half of the nineteenth century when women took action to attain the most fundamental equalities. Feminism involves various political and sociological theories and philosophies which are concerned with issues of gender difference and inequality. It also subscribes as a movement that advocates for gender equality for women and campaigns for women's rights and interests.

The feminist ideology is categorized by two basic beliefs. The first belief is that women and men are treated differently because of their sex (birth), and secondly, that the imbalanced treatment can and should be overturned. The fundamental concept in feminist theoretical perspective is the notion of patriarchy. As a result, this notion draws attention to the totality of oppression and exploitation to which women are subjected to. This also highlights the political importance of gender which is used to refer to socially imposed rather than biological differences between women and men. Most feminists view gender as a political paradigm, usually based upon stereotyping common notion of 'feminine' and 'masculine' behaviour and their social roles.

History of Feminism

According to Maggie Humm and Rebecca Walker, the history of feminist movement can be divided into three waves. The first feminist wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the second was from the 1960s to 1970s, and the third extends from the 1990s to the present. The feminist theory emerged from these movements. Since its inception, the idea of feminist theory has manifested in a variety of disciplinary subjects such as feminist geography, feminist history and feminist literary criticism.

Modern feminism emerged with the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft and her husband and partner, John Stuart Mill. In her book Vindication of the Rights of Women 1792, she advocated the belief that women should have equal rights as men, including the right to education, earnings and property. John Stuart Mill, in his book, The Subjection of Women 1869, also discussed that women should be given same legal rights as males.

The First Wave. Middle of the 19th century to the early 20th century. The feminist movement during this period was principally concerned with fundamental political rights (the right to vote), economic rights (right to own property apart from a husband), rights to education and employment and impartial marriage laws. The first wave was ideally concerned with the women's suffrage movement, which emerged in the 1840s and 1850s. The movement was related to the achievement of female suffrage in most Western countries in the early twentieth century.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the feminist movement focused primarily on gaining political power and women's suffrage, though feminists like Voltairine de Cleyre (1866 – 1912) and Margaret Sanger (1879 – 1966) were actively campaigning for women's sexual, reproductive and economic rights. In Great Britain, the Suffragettes movement campaigned for the women's right to vote. In 1918 the Representation of the People Act 1918 was thus passed, which granted the right to vote to women over the age of 30 who owned property. But by 1928 this right was extended to all women over eighteen.

The second wave of feminism emerged during the 1960s and advocated, in addition to gaining equal rights, a more revolutionary demand of the rising Women’s Liberation Movement. Since the beginning of the 1970s, feminism and its mechanism have undergone a process of de-radicalisation. This lead to the belief to pronounce the appearance of post-feminism ideology. This was linked to a growing backlash against feminism and with the rise of the New Right.

However, it is also concerned the development of more individualized and conventionalised forms of feminism, characterized by an unwillingness any longer to view women as 'victims'. The de radicalized focus of the second wave was on employment and reproductive rights. Some major laws were passed as a result, including the Equal Pay Act; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibiting gender discrimination in employment; and Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of education. The ground-breaking Supreme Court decisions of Griswold v. Connecticut, involving birth control, and Roe v. Wade, regarding abortion, had a profound impact on female reproductive rights.

Many feminist women during the second wave were initially part of the Black Civil Rights Movement, Anti-Vietnam Movement, Chicano Rights Movement, Asian-American Civil Rights Movement, Gay and Lesbian Movement and various other works.

The third wave of feminism is the recent contemporary movement. This is in part a reaction to an overemphasis of the movement focussing on middle-class ordinary white females. The third wave movement is more diverse as compared to the previous waves. It spread from being a national movement to the grassroots level. Major concerns of the third wave of feminism include social and economic dynamics such as globalism, technology and other forces that affect women. It is a response to the backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second-wave. Third-wave feminism seeks to challenge or avoid what the second wave's "essentialist" definitions of femininity. They claim that these definitions overemphasized the experiences of upper middle-class white women and preferably ignore the conditions of lower-class women, minorities and women living in other cultures.

Additionally, modern feminism is also concerned with individual choice. Modern feminism, in particular, believes that women should have the choice and conditions to pursue all the opportunities that are available to men but also have the right to choose 'traditional' roles as well. The key point is not what you choose to do but that you have the choice.

Types of Feminism

Liberal feminism. This type of feminism primarily focuses on women’s ability and capability to maintain equality through their own actions and choices. They also argue that our society holds the false belief that women are, by birth, less intellectually and physically capable than men. Our society is a patriarchal society which discriminates against women in education, politics, and the marketplace. Liberal feminists believe that female subordination is rooted in a set of customary and legal system that blocks women from entering the public world. These feminists emphasize the equality of men and women through political and legal reform.

Ecofeminism connects the exploitation and subjugation of women with that of the environment. They argue that there is a connection between women and nature that comes from their shared history of oppression by a patriarchal Western society. It is the philosophy that environmental problems are rooted in a human-centered ideological position. They can only be solved when the needs of nature are put first rather than over human needs.

Anarcha-feminism perceives that the whole feminist problems stem from patriarchy. It is a manifestation of coercive hierarchy system that should be replaced by decentralized association. They believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle and the anarchist struggle against the state. An important factor of anarchy feminism is its opposition to traditional concepts of family, education and gender roles; the institution of marriage is one of the most widely opposed notions.

Black feminism argues that sexism, class oppression, and racism are inter-relatable and are basically bound together through a connection called intersectionality. This type of feminism strives to overcome sexism and class oppression through the idea which discriminates against many people, including women, through racial bias. They argue that black women are positioned within structures of power in a fundamentally different way than white women. Black feminist organizations emerged during the 1970s and faced various difficulties from both the white feminist and black nationalist political organizations that they were confronting.

Postcolonial feminism perceives the gender relation through the analysis of power structures in formerly colonized nations. Postcolonial feminism explains how economic and political institutions and social practices in colonial nations often oppress and marginalize women. In addition, it also demonstrates how women around the globe especially in the developing and underdeveloped world struggle for equality and independence for themselves, their families, and their nations.

It is also often referred to as Third World feminism which focuses on the idea that racism, colonialism, and the long-lasting effects (economic, political, and cultural) of colonialism in the postcolonial setting, are bound by the unique gendered realities of non-white, and non-Western women. Postcolonial feminists criticize Western feminists because they frequently universalized women's issues, and their discourses are often misunderstood to represent women globally.

Multiracial feminism refers to the activities and scholarly work of women of color to promote race, class, and gender equality. In contrast to the highly documented second-wave white, middle-class feminism, whose main focus was on abolishing patriarchy and privilege patriarchy as an oppression over all others, multiracial feminism resists separating oppression and insists on recognizing the intersectionality of race, class, and gender oppression.

Radical feminism focuses on the conditions of patriarchal society. It is a system of arrangement of the power structure that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on the male supremacy and assertion which oppresses women. Radical feminism in affect, aims to challenge and overthrow patriarchy by opposing normalized standard gender roles and oppression of women. They call for a radical transformation of society.

Socialist feminism argues that women's liberation can only be achieved by ending both the economic and cultural sources of women's oppression. This school of feminist thought widens Marxist feminism's argument which emphasizes the role of capitalism in oppressing women and rejects the idea that class and class struggle are the only defining elements of history and economic development. They also broaden radical feminism's theory of the role of gender and the patriarchy.

Postmodern feminism subscribes to the postmodern and post-structuralist theory of explaining elements of the world. They tend to see themselves as a movement which transcends beyond the modernist polarities of liberal feminism and radical feminism. The theoretical foundation is that problems of women around the world cannot be generalized due to its diversity through multiple truths, multiple roles and multiple realities.

Marxist feminism usually focuses on challenging social institutions of private property and capitalism. They seek to explain and criticize gender inequality and oppression which is seen as a product of the capitalist mode of lifestyle. They are also of the view that private property gives rise to economic inequality, dependence, political and domestic struggle between the sexes, and is the root of all women's oppression in the current social context.

Post-structural feminism focuses on "the contingent and discursive nature of all identities", and in particular the social construction of gendered subjectivities. They normally resist universalist or generalizing conceptions of women as a group or altogether dismiss the category “woman”. They share with psychoanalytic feminists a sort of scepticism about phallogocentric language and social structures, as well as the French feminist rejection of metanarrative explanations and prescribed general norms for gender and sexuality.

French feminism can be described as an approach which is more philosophical and literary. Its writings tend to be prolific and metaphorical with it being less concerned with political doctrine and generally focused on theories of the body. This strand includes writers who are not French, but who have worked substantially in France and the French tradition.

Simone de Beauvoir’s is an exceptionally renowned French feminist whose analysis focuses on the social construction of Woman as the fundamental cause of women's oppression. She also argues that women have historically been considered deviant and abnormal, and challenges other previous feminists by arguing that even Mary Wollstonecraft considered men to be the ideal toward which women should aspire. De Beauvoir argues that for feminism to move forward, this attitude must be set aside.

Multiracial feminism refers to the activities and scholarly work of women of color to promote race, class, and gender equality. In contrast to the highly documented second-wave white, middle-class feminism, whose main focus was on abolishing patriarchy and privilege patriarchy as an oppression over all others, multiracial feminism resists separating oppression and insists on recognizing the intersectionality of race, class, and gender oppression.

Radical feminism focuses on the conditions of patriarchal society. It is a system of arrangement of the power structure that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on the male supremacy and assertion which oppresses women. Radical feminism in affect, aims to challenge and overthrow patriarchy by opposing normalized standard gender roles and oppression of women. They call for a radical transformation of society.

Socialist feminism argues that women's liberation can only be achieved by ending both the economic and cultural sources of women's oppression. This school of feminist thought widens Marxist feminism's argument which emphasizes the role of capitalism in oppressing women and rejects the idea that class and class struggle are the only defining elements of history and economic development. They also broaden radical feminism's theory of the role of gender and the patriarchy.

Postmodern feminism subscribes to the postmodern and post-structuralist theory of explaining elements of the world. They tend to see themselves as a movement which transcends beyond the modernist polarities of liberal feminism and radical feminism. The theoretical foundation is that problems of women around the world cannot be generalized due to its diversity through multiple truths, multiple roles and multiple realities.

Marxist feminism usually focuses on challenging social institutions of private property and capitalism. They seek to explain and criticize gender inequality and oppression which is seen as a product of the capitalist mode of lifestyle. They are also of the view that private property gives rise to economic inequality, dependence, political and domestic struggle between the sexes, and is the root of all women's oppression in the current social context.

Post-structural feminism focuses on "the contingent and discursive nature of all identities", and in particular the social construction of gendered subjectivities. They normally resist universalist or generalizing conceptions of women as a group or altogether dismiss the category “woman”. They share with psychoanalytic feminists a sort of scepticism about phallogocentric language and social structures, as well as the French feminist rejection of metanarrative explanations and prescribed general norms for gender and sexuality.

French feminism can be described as an approach which is more philosophical and literary. Its writings tend to be prolific and metaphorical with it being less concerned with political doctrine and generally focused on theories of the body. This strand includes writers who are not French, but who have worked substantially in France and the French tradition.

Simone de Beauvoir’s is an exceptionally renowned French feminist whose analysis focuses on the social construction of Woman as the fundamental cause of women's oppression. She also argues that women have historically been considered deviant and abnormal, and challenges other previous feminists by arguing that even Mary Wollstonecraft considered men to be the ideal toward which women should aspire. De Beauvoir argues that for feminism to move forward, this attitude must be set aside.

Atheist Feminism is a movement that advocates Feminism within atheism. Atheist feminists oppose religion as they consider religion to be the main source of female oppression and inequality, believing that the majority of the religions are sexist and oppressive to women.

To summarize, Feminist philosophical movement focusses on understanding and critiquing the way political philosophy is usually interpreted. Feminism has recently been criticized on the grounds that it has sharp internal divisions whereby its theoretical foundation has lost all consistency and unity to the extent that Postmodern feminists question whether 'woman' is a meaningful category. Other criticism comprises that feminist movement has transformed into a post-feminist structure because it has become disengaged from a society whereby the movement, the domestic, professional and public roles of women, at least in developed societies, have experienced a major revolution.

However, it can be said that feminism has transformed its principal perspectives in areas within Western society, ranging from culture to law. Feminist activists from the beginning have inextricably campaigned for women's legal rights (rights of contract, property rights, voting rights); for women's right to bodily integrity and autonomy, for abortion rights, and for reproductive rights (including access to contraception and quality prenatal care); for protection of women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape; for workplace rights, including maternity leave and equal pay; against misogyny; and against other forms of gender-specific discrimination against women.

POSTMODERNISM

Postmodernism is a movement which was conceived during the late 20th century. It is characterized by a broad range of scepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power. In general, its scope of the study is broad which can be applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, culture, fiction, and literary criticism. Postmodernism is a total reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific efforts to explain reality. It arises from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding, but rather, it is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly sceptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead, focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodernist tradition, interpretation means everything; the face of reality is only derived from our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles and theories because the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.

The ‘post’ in postmodernism defines the quality that it certainly rejects the existence of any ultimate universal principles, and it rejects the idea of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth/theory which will explain everything for everybody - a characteristic of the so-called "modern" mind.

Postmodernism in Politics

For Postmodernists, politics is not centered around political parties, institutions, utopian visions, or seek an ultimate telos (end); rather, it is a tool of experimentation which includes a radical critique of the existing political system of power in a society; the identification of oppressed groups; and the remedy for bringing those identified groups out of oppression to achieve a sense of social justice.

Postmodernist outlook draws attention to the socially transformative potential of micropolitical practices. Deleuze and Guattari used the term micropolitics to explain the range of activities that have public effect—that help to shape the functions of collective life—but which do not fit into the traditional paradigms of political action. Micropolitical activities are not official acts by the presidents or the parliaments and they are often not aimed directly at winning elections or legislative agendas. Rather, micropolitics focus on effects, bodily affect, social tempers, political socialization, political moods and cultural sensibilities through the agents of television shows, films, military training, worship services, clubs, gangs, internet mobilization and public meetings.

The emphasis upon micropolitics stems from the belief that there is a discreet somatic (feeling and sense) and affective dimension to political action, including macro political action. As a reaction against Marxist criticism, micropolitics aims to reform, refine, intensify, or discipline the emotions, aesthetic impulses, moral and moralistic urges, and diffuse moods that enter into (and make possible) political programs, party affiliations, ideological commitments, and policy preferences.

Postmodern politics is difficult to define and explain in a fully satisfying way. One challenge is that within postmodernism, there is no universal "truth" and so no single definition can be used to act as the "truth." Within a range of difficult political construct, certain ideas can be battled as an illustration of postmodern politics, including, the lack of truth and definite structure. This type of political culture can be nihilistic in nature, with the view that the political climate as incorrigibly corrupt, or more positive by espousing that positive change can occur through individual and group activities.

The basic idea of politics in post-modernist evolution is an amalgamation of fundamental postmodernist thought and philosophy into the political arena. Postmodernism typically describes a worldview that is considered the situations of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Although it may also be seen as an extension of many ideas proposed during the Enlightenment period. Major ideas of postmodernist theory are comprised of the concept that there can be no single truth to establish about anything, including good and evil, and that ideas should be deconstructed to find meaning.

Postmodern theories can be applied to 10 categories of the subject with the corresponding ideas:

Postmodern Theology– Atheism

Postmodernists are not atheists in the same sense that Secular Humanists and Marxist-Leninists are. They may look the same superficially, but the motivation for denying the existence of God has nothing to do with the lack of scientific evidence.

Postmodern Philosophy – Anti-Realism

Postmodernists reject the belief in an objective reality. Rather, they assert that reality is constructed by human thought and is subjective to human minds. Consequently, they also deny the concept of universal truth, rejecting anything that illustrates metanarrative, or an explanation that purports to unify the world in a broad, larger over-arching story.

Postmodern Ethics – Cultural Relativism

If philosophical truth (what we can know about reality) resides in the local community, it follows that moral truth (how we should behave) resides in the same community. Since, as the Postmodernist suggests, there is no “grand narrative” telling us what is real and how to behave, each community develops its own “little narratives” to fulfill those needs.

Postmodern Science – Punctuated Evolution

The Postmodernists reject the traditional theory of scientific evolution because of its metanarrative nature. They, rather advance with the punctuated evolutionary theory because of the aspects of chance and discontinuity.

Postmodern Psychology – Socially-Constructed Selves

According to Postmodern psychologists, there is no single, separate, unified self. There is no clear-cut answer to the question “who am I?” It seeks to elaborate that humans are made up of many selves through the influences of various social factors, including language, geography, family, education, government, etc. Therefore, rather than having a static nature, we are a body of social construction.

Postmodern Sociology – Sexual Egalitarianism

The Postmodern sociology seeks to balance the power - relation field by emphasizing the value of those typically considered on the cultural fringe, such as the poor and oppressed. Unfortunately, this emphasis often turns into a demonization of those who have traditionally enjoyed positions of power, such as white males.

Postmodern Law – Critical Legal Studies

According to the Postmodern theoretical point of view, the source of justice founded within the Western paradigm is the root of the problem. They insist that Western law, which grew out of Christianity and the Enlightenment period, reflects white male bias. Therefore, they are bent on eliminating religious affinity and transcendent qualities from the Western law, desiring more fragmentation and subjectivity, and less objective morality. Ultimately, Postmodern theorists’ intention is to create and use their own brand of social justice merely for their own political purposes. Critical legal studies, then, is the means to discover the subjective and biased intent of the law.

Postmodern Politics – Leftism

The Postmodernists believe that the Western white males have been the only ones to enjoy power in the past. As a result, many Postmodernists seek to empower the powerless which includes women, minorities, and homosexuals, through methods of social justice and identity politics.

Postmodern Economics – Interventionism

Postmodern theory sees economics as the way to alleviate human suffering. In order to reach this goal, they seek through some form of government intervention within a free market environment.

Postmodern History – Historicism

According to the postmoderns, historical facts are inaccessible, therefore, the historians are simply left to their own imagination to reconstruct what happened in the past. Thus, history is closer to fiction rather than conclusions of an objective, scientific process. They have adopted historicism as their approach to history, which categorically implies that all historical questions must be settled within the cultural and social context in which they are raised.

RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM

Religious fundamentalism is a new modern theological concept. In particular, it means adhering to a certain religion and following it strictly. Religious fundamentalism defines people by what divides them. This concept focuses on the differences among humankind, rather than what unites them. It is often motivated by a form of social xenophobia (against either stranger of another country or of another religion) and a loss of members to other causes (perhaps more secular ones).

Religious fundamentalism refers to the belief of an individual or a group of individuals in the absolute authority of a sacred religious text or teachings of a particular religious leader or God. These fundamentalists are sure that their religion is beyond criticism, and should therefore also be forced upon others. Logical explanations and scientific evidence have no place in these belief systems. For fundamentalists, religion dictates every sphere of their daily lives, and they also attempt to involve the entire society into their own belief system, often by the use of force.

Religious Fundamentalism and Focus on Islam

The tensions over Iraq and the massacre of foreign tourists in Islamic countries have fuelled speculation that Islam is a threat to world peace. Another event was the 9/11 that brought Islam to the world front of being a fundamentalist community.

Islam is on the rise. It has gone through three phases since its inception. The first phase (622‐1683) saw the expansion of the religion from Saudi Arabia to Vienna. This period included successful Islamic defence of the Holy Land against the European crusaders of the Middle Ages). In the second phase (1683‐1945) the West counter‐attacked and colonized the Islamic region; the defeats of the crusades were avenged. We are now in the third phase. Since 1945 there has been the resurgence of Islam. Islam is the second largest religious group after Christianity. It is one of the world's fastest growing religions.

Religious Fundamentalism Around the World

Most major religions of the world are associated with some fundamentalist elements. For example, there are Christian fundamentalists, who have absolute beliefs in the words of the Holy Bible. In the earlier part of the 20th Century, Christian fundamentalists protested against the Theory of Evolution by Charles Darwin. Currently, there is a section of the Christian fundamentalists who still believe in the theory of "premillennial eschatology", wherein they consider the world to be condemned until the return of Christ and defeat of the Antichrist.

Jewish fundamentalism is also quite prevalent in Israel, where they make constant efforts to establish orthodox Jewish culture in the region. They adhere to strict enforcement of halacha, the Jewish religious law, in every aspect of Israeli life.

Islam is also a religion which is full fundamentalist elements. The Islamic fundamentalists believe in the literal interpretation of the Holy Quran, and they attempt to enforce the sharia law into every aspect of Islamic life. Ibn Taymiyyah was one of the earliest Islamic fundamentalists who initiated a reform movement in the 13th Century against the Islamic scholarship. He also criticized the Shi'a in Lebanon as the Rifa'i Sufi order, and also triggered jihad against the invading Mongols.

Today, many Islamic terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS, hold fundamentalist attitudes and regard Western civilization as the symbol of the modernization that is a threat to the traditional Islamic values.

Hinduism, being the world’s most ancient religion, does not assign supreme authority to any particular sacred text nor God. Hinduism is comprised of multiple sets of beliefs advocated by a large number of holy texts, such as the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and the Brahmanas. Hence, the universal beliefs of Hinduism continue to destroy within itself the attitudes of its few fundamentalists.

ENVIRONMENTALISM

Environmentalism is a political, social, ethical and economic movement which seeks to protect and improve the quality of the natural environment. As a new perspective, it encompasses a broad range of views concerned with preservation, restoration, and improvement of environmental elements. To elaborate, environmentalists generally advocate sustainable management of resources, and the protection and restoration of the natural environment through changes in public policy and individual behaviour. Environmentalism somehow claims that living things other than humans, and the natural environment as a whole, deserve consideration in reasoning about the morality of political, economic, and social policies. It is represented by a range of organizations and institutions, from the large to grassroots, but it comprises of a younger demographic than in other social movements. Due to its large membership which represents a range of varying and strong beliefs, the movement is not entirely united.

Environmentalism focuses on protection and conservation of the various elements of earth's ecosystem which include water, air, land, animals, and plants, along with entire habitats such as rainforests, deserts and oceans. Environmentalism concept and issues include a broad range of management of natural resources, overpopulation, commercial logging, urbanization and global warming. The effects of human developmental activities have harmed and altered the earth's natural state. Thus, environmentalism seeks to correct the damage as well as prevent future destruction.

History of Environmentalism

The contemporary twentieth-century environmental movement emerged primarily from concerns in the late nineteenth century regarding the protection of the countryside in Europe and the wilderness in the United States and the health consequences of pollution as a result of the rise in the Industrial Revolution. The establishment of factories and consumption of immense quantities of coal and other fossil fuels also gave rise to increasing air pollution and the large volume of industrial chemical discharges added to the growing load of untreated human waste. The first modern environmental laws came in the form of the British Alkali Acts 1863. The act was passed to regulate the deleterious air pollution released by the Leblanc process which is used to produce soda ash. Environmentalism grew as a reaction to industrialization, the growth of cities, and worsening air and water pollution.

Environmental organizations established from the late nineteenth to the mid twentieth century were mostly middle-class lobbying groups who were concerned with nature conservation, wildlife protection, and the pollution resulted from industrial development and urbanization. There were also various scientific organizations concerned with natural history and with biological aspects of conservation.

In A Sand County Almanac 1949 by Aldo Leopold, the need for moral respect of the environment was reiterated. The book elaborates his belief that humankind should have moral respect for the environment and that it would be unethical to harm it. The book is called the most influential book on conservation. By early 1960s, the various strands of environmentalism movement were given a thorough political expression through the establishment of ‘green’ political movements in the form of activist, nongovernmental organizations and eventually gave rise to an environmentalist political parties. These political parties were conceived as a new kind of political organization that would bring the influence of the grassroots environmental movement directly to bear on the machinery of government, make the environment a central concern of public policy, and renders the institutions of the state more democratic, transparent, and accountable.

In the 1970s, one of the famous movement was the ‘Chipko movement’ under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi. Women set up peaceful resistance to deforestation by literally hugging trees with the slogan "ecology is the permanent economy." Later in 1979, James Lovelock (former NASA scientist), published Gaia: A new look at life on Earth, which presented the Gaia Hypothesis. The book proposes a singular perspective explaining that life on Earth can be understood as a single organism. This became an important influence on the foundational concept of Deep Green ideology. Today, the scope of environmentalism and its related movements include a new global issue such as global warming.

By the late 1980s, environmentalism and their related movements had already become a global as well as a national political force. Some environmental nongovernmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the World Wildlife Fund presented a significant international outlook with centralized international headquarters and offices around the world to coordinate through various campaigns and to serve as campaign centres and information institutes for their national affiliate organizations. Despite the diversity of the environmental movement, four pillars provided a unifying theme to the broad goals of political ecology: protection of the environment, grassroots democracy, social justice, and nonviolence.

Contemporary Environmentalist Categories

Contemporary environmentalists are described to be split into three groups: Dark, Light, and Bright Greens.

The Light Greens see the condition of protecting the environment as the first and foremost responsibility of an individual. They come under the reformist end of the spectrum. However, the Light Greens do not usually focus on environmentalism as a distinct political ideology, nor try to even seek fundamental political reform. Instead, they often focus on environmentalism as a lifestyle choice. Their motto is "Green is the new black." which sums up this ideology.

The Dark Greens usually believe that environmental problems are an inherent part of industrialization and capitalism, and advocate radical political change. Dark greens believe that dominant political ideologies (sometimes referred to as industrialism) are corrupt and eventually lead to consumerism, alienation from nature and resource depletion. Dark Greens claim that this is caused by the overemphasis on growth, a tendency of all existing political ideologies which is referred to as ‘growth mania’. The dark green strand of the environmental movement is associated with the ideas of Deep Ecology, Post-materialism, Holism, the Gaia Theory of James Lovelock and the work of Fritjof Capra. Since the Dark Greens often consists of elements of communist and Marxist philosophies, the motto "Green is the new red." is often used in describing their beliefs.

The Bright Greens, new modern contemporary environmentalists have known to emerge recently. Thy advocates a more radical change and believe that certain fundamental reorganization is required in the economic and political operation of society in order to make it sustainable. However, their support for radical changes believe in better designs, new technologies and more widely distributed social innovations and that we can neither shop nor protest our way to sustainability.

The 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm has established a variety of multilateral environmental agreements and include most aspects of environmental protection. The conference also condemns many practices with environmental consequences, such as the burning of fossil fuels, the trading of endangered species and monitor the management of hazardous waste, especially nuclear waste, and armed conflict. The nature of public debate on the environment was transformed and was reflected also in the organization of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, attended by almost 180 countries and various business groups, nongovernmental organizations, and the media.

In the 21st century, the concern of environmental movement has combined the traditional aspects of conservation, preservation, and pollution with increasing contemporary aspects which has an environmental consequence of economic practices such as tourism, trade, financial investment, and the conduct of war.

Current Environmental Problems and Global Issues

  1. Pollution.
  2. Global warming
  3. Overpopulation
  4. Waste disposal
  5. Natural resources depletion
  6. Climate change
  7. Loss of biodiversity
  8. Water pollution
  9. Urban sprawl
  10. Public health issues
  11. Acid Rain
  12. Ocean Acidification
  13. Ozone Layer Depletion
  14. Deforestation
  15. Genetic Engineering

Ecologism, or green political theory, is regarded as a distinctive ideological tradition since the 1970s. Generally, it is the most radical of political ideologies, who are ready to reach where no other ideology will go in challenging established moral and philosophical beliefs as well as conventional lifestyles. From the 1980s, it became common to refer to different “shades” of environmentalism whereby someone who was obviously green in their opinions might be further categorised as dark green or deep green, which implied that they had a radical or fundamentalist approach to the need to preserve the environment.

According to Andrew Heywood, ecologism as a new political strand is divided into three categories:

  • Modernist ecology. Modernist ecology essentially is a reformist in nature as it seeks to reconcile the principle of ecology with the central features of capitalist modernity. The concept to watch over this form of ecologism is sustainable development, sustainability therefore, meaning the capacity of a system to maintain its health and continue in existence over a period of time. In economic terms, this means ‘getting richer slower’.
  • Social ecology. The concept of social ecology explains that the destruction of the environment is dictated by, or linked to, existing social relationships and structures. The advance of ecological principles, therefore, requires advocating a process of radical social change.
  • Deep ecology. Deep ecology naturally emphasizes the need for a paradigm change, that is, for a change in our core thinking and assumptions about the world. To be specific, it calls for the adoption of a radically new philosophical and moral concept to replace conventional mechanistic and atomistic thinking. Deep ecologists advocate the cause of biocentric equality, in which all species share a universal right to bloom and flourish.

The need for change in our lifestyle and advocates of change by our government is increasingly visible. As various distinct factors play different roles such as voting, governmental issues, following routines, many don’t think necessary to consider their action for future generations. If we continue moving forward advocating harmful ways and means, then the future is bleak. There are various ways we could do to try and end hurting our environment.