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Author: Glenn Ashton ~ Ekogaia Foundation

( Article Type: Explanation )

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines activism as 'a policy of vigorous action in a cause, especially in politics.' The opposite of active is passive or inactive. But as far as environmental protection is concerned, just what does activism entail? As in the above definition it means standing up to be counted. It means that instead of resigning ourselves to the idea that nothing can be done about halting the precipitous decline of planetary ecosystems, intelligent and concerned people can turn the situation around by active participation or intervention in defence of our global resources.

What forms can activism take? At one end of the scale, there are the confrontational types of organisations such as Greenpeace and Earth First! whose members put their lives and money on the line to raise public awareness of important environmental issues in often spectacular and sometimes illegal actions. On the other end of the scale, there are increasing numbers of ordinary people who are willing to participate in recycling and reducing their footprint on the earth in many simple and non-confrontational ways. In between these two extremes are many shades of activism that allow for everyone to participate actively, at their own level and in their own way.

However, as the dominant species, it becomes ever more apparent that humans must recognise our responsibility and become far more active in halting and undoing the damage we have inflicted on this fragile planet. It is now essential that we individually participate and embrace a degree of activism in whatever forms we are capable and comfortable with, in order to ensure a better legacy for our children and for all of the organisms with which we share this planet.