en·​vi·​ron·​men·​tal·​ism | \ in-ˌvī-rə(n)-ˈmen-tə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce environmentalism (audio) , -ˌvī(-ə)r(n)- \

Definition of environmentalism

1 : a theory that views environment rather than heredity as the important factor in the development and especially the cultural and intellectual development of an individual or group
2 : advocacy of the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment especially : the movement to control pollution

Examples of environmentalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Zall's environmentalism for the CIA began in 1990 when then-Sen. Star Tribune, "Inside the CIA, she became a spy for planet Earth," 8 Jan. 2021 Perhaps the most ironic debasement of the idea of conservatism is seen through the prism of environmentalism. New York Times, "Punctuated Poetry and Other Letters to the Editor," 15 Jan. 2021 Many of the novels include themes related to environmentalism and political corruption in his native state. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "The Fast Forward 2020 Winter Bookies reading list," 4 Jan. 2021 This reporting could—and should—be repeated in cities around the world, constantly reminding us that there’s no way to separate environmentalism from larger questions of justice. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "Can Wall Street’s Heaviest Hitter Step Up to the Plate on Climate Change?," 24 Dec. 2020 It’s the corporate-friendly version of 90s grunge and environmentalism which is, actually, pretty fitting for this moment. Katy Kelleher, Vogue, "Pantone’s Color of the Year Is Really Weird—Just Like Everything Else Right Now," 9 Dec. 2020 Today, that arguably includes fighting against old structures and advocating for racial justice, gay rights, feminism, environmentalism, and other issues. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "What cool means today," 22 Nov. 2020 Despite how they are presented both in politics and the media, environmentalism and social equality are, so often, two sides of the same coin and not mutually exclusive issues. Vicky Spratt, refinery29.com, "How Coronavirus Taught Us There Are Alternative Ways To Live," 6 Oct. 2020 But an important question remains unanswered: What would a conservative environmentalism actually look like? Nate Hochman, National Review, "Toward a Conservative Environmentalism," 3 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'environmentalism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of environmentalism

1917, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for environmentalism

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The first known use of environmentalism was in 1917

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Statistics for environmentalism

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Environmentalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/environmentalism. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for environmentalism


en·​vi·​ron·​men·​tal·​ism | \ -ˌvī-rən-ˈment-ᵊl-ˌiz-əm, -ˌvī(-ə)rn- How to pronounce environmentalism (audio) \

Medical Definition of environmentalism

: a theory that views environment rather than heredity as the important factor in the development and especially the cultural and intellectual development of an individual or group

More from Merriam-Webster on environmentalism

Nglish: Translation of environmentalism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about environmentalism

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