This is because of a fascinating psychological condition called ‘Principals of Abstraction.’ Essentially, it states that we group things into categories based on visual and auditory clues. So we when we think of environmentalism, we think of the outdoors and we think of animals. We group these two things in our memories near the same place because they have similar themes, animals. This is much the same way when someone hears environmentalism they might think of camping, our hiking. The two are not the same thing, but they conjure up the same mental images and vocabulary, so they remain intrinsically linked within our own sub-conscious.
Some people may also group them together because animal rights can be related to the rights of endangered species, which has a lot to do with biodiversity. It is detrimental to the earth’s environment and ecosystems to lose any amount of biodiversity.
Also, animal rights is closely related to vegetarianism. A diet that involves the consumption of meat generally requires more energy and releases more CO2 than a vegetarian diet.
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