Environmental Protection

What is environmental protection? Definition, history and explanation:

Under the term environmental Protection Different political and independent measures and aspirations are combined to protect ecosystems and natural habitats from negative impacts. It is not only about the preservation of the natural foundations of life of all living things, but also about the fight against destructive forces of all kinds and anthropogenic influences that cause damage to all areas of the environment. The term environmental protection, which is commonly used in German-speaking countries, was coined in the seventies of the 20th century and derives directly from the English term "environmental protection".

History of environmental protection

The destruction of natural habitats by humans has been an important topic for millennia and already employed philosophers in ancient Rome. Even writers such as Pliny and Seneca criticized in their treatises the intensive development of natural landscapes and addressed the air pollution and exploitation of natural resources. However, the few environmental policies that were put into place until the beginning of the industrial revolution were mainly used to safeguard resources - such as preserving forests as suppliers of wood as a building material. In the course of the 19th century, scientists first became aware of the chemical changes in nature caused by human hands. For example, the British chemist Robert Angus Smith coined the term "acid rain" in 1852, and shortly after the turn of the century the word smog was defined by a physician at a health conference. From a political point of view, environmental protection measures were first introduced in the 19th century. The forerunner was the US President Ulysses S. Grant, who issued a law in 1872 to declare the Yellowstone National Park as a nature reserve. However, effective environmental protection as an important political issue did not begin until the seventies of the last century, when important organizations were formed that are still active today. Globalization has made environmental protection a collective task at the political level today. International conferences are held on a regular basis and lead to various environmental agreements, often involving a large number of states.

Environmental protection organizations and their work

On the one hand, environmental protection plays an important role as a task of international and national politics, but on the other hand, it is also linked to established and globally active organizations. One of the leading international environmental organizations is Greenpeace, whose activists have regularly attracted attention with spectacular protest and rescue operations since the early 1970s. Greenpeace is funded entirely through donations and has repeatedly enforced stricter environmental protection laws and important concerns over the past decades. Of the WWF (World Wide Fund For Nature), in addition to donations and sponsorships, is also supported by company funds and does important work in the field of species protection and preservation of protected areas.