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 The collapsologues do point to real contradictions in contemporary environmentalism. Harrison Stetler, The New York Review of Books, "‘Collapsologie’: Constructing an Idea of How Things Fall Apart," 21 Jan. 2020 Our woke older daughter suggested the best thing people who care about the planet can do is vote for candidates who believe in anthropogenic climate change and embrace environmentalism. Washington Post, "The shame of it all: Second thoughts after buying a car and getting grief," 12 Jan. 2020 Trips have prompted students like Anthony Okonkwo, a senior at Poolesville High School in Montgomery County, to get more involved in environmentalism. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "‘I can’t believe how much of it is gone:’ Chesapeake Bay Foundation says goodbye to Fox Island as seas rise," 1 Nov. 2019 Purdy finishes the chapter by making an appeal for an environmentalism that centers economic and racial justice, and takes its cues from indigenous leadership. Will Meyer, Longreads, "A Green New Jail," 24 Oct. 2019 Disability activists have long questioned the primacy of plastic straws as the rallying point for contemporary environmentalism. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "Why nonplastic straws are a terrible solution to a systemic problem," 13 Sep. 2019 Steyer's message of liberal capitalism and environmentalism occupies an awkward ideological position within the primary. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Tom Steyer campaign eyes throwing Iowa support to rivals, with Warren and Biden most vulnerable," 30 Jan. 2020 Millennials and Gen-Z young adults were weaned on three pillars of progressive education: secularism, environmentalism and American injustice. WSJ, "Bernie, Boomers and Earnest Young Socialists," 24 Jan. 2020 Here in the heavy industry heartland of Colombia, environmentalism has old roots and has endured through decades of violence and intimidation. Fatima Garcia Elena, Quartz, "On the front lines of climate change, environmental activism can lead to murder," 4 Dec. 2019

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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The first known use of environmentalism was in 1917

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Statistics for environmentalism

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Environmentalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/environmentalism. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on environmentalism

Spanish Central: Translation of environmentalism

Nglish: Translation of environmentalism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about environmentalism

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