What is environmentalism and its difference with ecology

Currently, the words environmentalism and ecology are the order of the day in the vast majority of media. It is not uncommon to think that both terms can be synonymous or very similar, and there is a tendency to associate them with green movements for environmental conservation and sustainability.

However, the reality is that both words have very different meanings.

What is ecology

The RAE gives us a definition of ecology like this: “Science that studies living beings as inhabitants of an environment, and the relationships they maintain with each other and with the environment itself.” Ecology is, therefore, a scientific discipline , objective and far from the fields of ethics or morals. Ecology is learned in the university, and its professionals are ecologists , who study the processes and changes that life undergoes on the planet, as well as the developments and fluctuations in biodiversity and ecosystems.

Ecology is closely related to genetics, ethology and evolutionary biology, fields that intersect with its subjects of study, and has a large number of areas of practical application, such as natural resource management, urban planning or economics. , among others.

Ecology is also divided into a large number of disciplines, some of which are:

  • Aerobiology.
  • Microbial ecology.
  • Biogeography.
  • Urban ecology.
  • Mathematical ecology.

What is environmentalism or environmentalism

Environmentalism or green movement , unlike ecology, is not a science, but a global, social and political movement whose objective is the protection and conservation of the environment.

Ecologists or environmentalists (it must be borne in mind that, although they are sometimes used synonymously, environmentalism and environmentalism are considered to have some differences) are the followers or supporters of this movement, who seek a point of balance between the needs human rights and the health of natural ecosystems. For this, ecologists carry out social criticism with the aim of raising awareness among the population and achieving changes that make human civilization more sustainable from a natural point of view. There are a large number of aspects in the environmental movement, some of them ecocentric, that is, that prioritize the value of nature over that of the human being, or anthropocentric, which is the opposite. However, despite the fact that the number of types and aspects of environmentalism is huge, some large groups can be distinguished:

  • Technicist environmentalism: seeks to reduce pollution worldwide, proposing alternative energies and technical advances.
  • Naturalistic environmentalism: it is an ecocentric philosophical current that focuses on the importance of avoiding extinctions of animal species.
  • Liberal environmentalism: its main subject of study is the limited resources available to humans. Look for alternatives, among which is the possibility of traveling to other planets.
  • Sociological-political environmentalism: it focuses on the study of the human being as a species, and addresses the problems of overpopulation, world famine and the depletion of resources.
  • Humanist environmentalism: it is a movement with little popularity, which starts from the basis of considering the human being as a caring creature.
  • Spiritual environmentalism: its objectives are the protection of soul life and spiritual wealth, promoting a philosophy of love and respect for nature.
  • Comprehensive environmentalism: it faces the problems of the destruction of the environment and its natural resources from all possible perspectives.

Taking all this into account, we can define that the majority of ecologists are people who, regardless of their profession or training, fight with different degrees of involvement and voluntarily to favor the preservation of the environment .

The less good side of ecology, however, is found in the abuse of the term that has been carried out in recent decades in the first world, often using it to win support in political or marketing tactics that do not really have real ecological objectives, and simply seek to offer an attractive image to the public or consumer, also making them part of a supposed environmental movement that is not.

Differences between ecology and environmentalism

The difference between ecology and environmentalism is thus clear , one referring to a science and the other to a social movement. Of course, nothing prevents an ecologist from being an ecologist too, and in fact this is a circumstance that occurs very often, although it does not necessarily have to always be the case.

An ecologist could be an expert in his field, and yet not share the social or ethical implications of the environmental movement, in the same way that an ecologist does not have to be qualified or trained for environmental work simply because he is.

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