Many people consider the beginning of the modern environmental movement to be in the 1960s. However, there were many writers that were spreading environmentalist messages before this as well, such as:
Thomas Malthus in England in the 1800s
James Fenimore Cooper in the 1800s
Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 1800s
Henry David Thoreau in the 1800s
George Bird Grinnell in the 1800s
Around the turn of the century (1900) both the Audobon Society and Sierra Club were formed as well.
The popularity of An Inconvenient Truth definitely had an impact on the recent ‘green’ movement. This is due to the clear way in which in the information was presented, and Al Gore’s celebrity also had a role to play in the acceptance of these ‘alternative’ ideas. This being said, I don’t believe we can give too much credit to one specific person. There has been a long history of environmental scientists, lobby groups (WWF, PETA, etc…), and intellectuals who have been fighting against the capitalist ideals and consumerism trends that propagate many of the issues facing our global environment, and these people deserve a ton of credit as well. There are far too many names to list on one page.
I personally think An Inconvenient Truth was not a good movie.(half the shots are of Gore sitting on his macbook in his private jet). Al Gore did, however do a good job of using his celebrity status to spread the news of global climate change. Gore may be an advocate, but he definitely did not start the environmental movement. Names like Aldo Leopold and John Muir and Rachel Carson deserve to be discussed when talking about the early environmental movement.
The environmental movement started well before Al Gore, but I have to admit Al Gore is definately a notable name simply because he drew so much attention. I like to consider it this way. Currently, there are few adults in America who don’t know who Al Gore is. As for the rest, the first things that probably pops up in their mind is his role in spreading news about the global climate crisis. Though during the early global warming campaign he was the butt of many jokes, he did draw America to listen–something most names above cannot take credit for.
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