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Social Movements: Environmental movement

Humans can survive in healthy environment. The environment plays a vital role in human living. The environment comprises of all the natural resources such as air water, land, forests, and minerals. It is responsibility of populace to protect the natural resources. Nonetheless, due to technical advancement and other reasons, there is a lot of misuse of these natural resources, in the form of land degradation, water pollution, air pollution, and deforestation. All these factors lead to worsening of environment. Great efforts are being made in order to regain the environment by people through voluntary organizations, which have concerns about the environment. There are cases where people have revoked and adopted non-violent action movements to protect their environment (Arne Kalland, Gerard Persoon, 2013).

With the augment of ecological crisis, there has been a consistent increase in the consciousness and concern about it around the globe. This has resulted to widespread protest movements by aggrieved communities and concerned inhabitants. There are numerous hazardous and disastrous incidents that led to ecological crisis in the human history such as Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, nuclear disaster at Chernobyl (Russia) in 1986, Alaskan oil spill from Exxon Valdez tanker in 1989, and the Gulf War in the early 1990s.

The environmental movement also including conservation and green politics, is a dissimilar scientific, social, and political movement to address environmental issues. Environmental movement is a type of "social movement that involves an array of persons, groups and coalitions that observe a common interest in environmental protection and act to bring about changes in environmental policies and practices" (Tong, Yanki 2005). Tong, Yanki (2005) indicated that environmental movements are also an example of social movements. Environmentalists supported the sustainable management of resources and stewardship of the environment through changes in public policy and individual behavior. In its recognition of humanity as a participant in ecosystems, the movement is cantered on ecology, health, and human rights.

The emergence of social movements depend on the dynamic interaction of three broad sets of factors. First, social movements are developed by the broader political constraints and opportunities unique to the national context in which they emerge. These constraints and opportunities involve the institutional structure and informal power relations of a national political system, including the relative openness or closure of the institutionalized political system, the stability of the elite alignments that undergird the polity, the presence or absence of elite associates for a particular social movement, and the state's capacity and propensity for repression.

Second, organizational resources, informal as well as formal, must be available to activate people into collective action and sustain a social movement. Resources may include pre-existing organizations, such as informal networks, voluntary associations, and religious groups, as well as the movement initiated organizations. Different types of social movement may need different organizational forms. The organizational culture of a given society may also affect the forms of social movement.

Third, the joint process of interpretation, attribution, and social construction provides meaning and value to collective action. By bringing shared meanings and definitions to their situation, people who feel aggrieved about some aspect of their lives can become more hopeful that, by acting collectively, they can redress their problem. Without proper framing, it is highly dubious that people will activate even when afforded opportunities to do so (Tong, Yanki 2005).

Concept of environmental movement:

The environmental movement is global movement, signified by a range of organizations, from the large to grassroots and differs from country to country. Due to its large membership, varying and strong politics, and occasionally theoretical nature, the environmental movement is not always amalgamated in its goals. The movement also includes some other movements with a more specific focus, such as the climate movement. Broadly speaking, the movement includes private citizens, professionals, religious devotees, politicians, scientists, non-profit organizations and individual advocates.

Several theorists and scholars elaborated the notion of environmental movement.

Guha and Gadgil (1989) demarcated the environmental movements as 'organized social activity consciously directed towards promoting sustainable use of natural resources halting environmental degradation or bringing about environmental restoration'. According to Rootes, Christopher (1999), "The environmental movements are conceived as broad networks of people and organizations engaged in collective action in the pursuit of environmental benefits. Environmental movements are understood to be very diverse and complex, their organizational forms ranging from the highly organized and formally institutionalized to the radically informal, the spatial scope of their activities ranging from the local to the almost global, the nature of their concerns ranging from single issue to the full panoply of global environmental concerns. Such an inclusive conception is consistent with the usage of the term amongst environmental activists themselves and enables us to consider the linkages between the several levels and forms of what activists call 'the environmental movement (Rootes, Christopher: 1999: 2)."

Almeida, Paul and Linda Brewster Stearns (1998) opined that there are three levels of collective action:

  1. The local grassroots movement level
  2. The social movement level
  3. A cycle of protest.

A Local Grassroots Environmental Movement (LGEM) as a movement fighting a particular instance of pollution in a geographically specified region. Local Grassroots Environmental Movements have a limited range of goals that are tied to specific pollution problems. A social movement is a broader struggle that involves a formal organizations or a federation of loosely affiliated networks. Social movements have a wide range of goals directed at fundamental social and political reform. Finally, a cycle of protest is a specific period of heightened protest involving several social movements spread across different geographical areas and sectors of society. The identification of each level of movement activity is critical to understanding the political environment in which a Local Grassroots Environmental Movement operates.

Origin of Environmental Movements in India:

The birth of concern for environmental protection in India, "can be traced back to the beginning of twentieth century when people remonstrated against the commercialization of forest resources during the British colonial period"(Sahu, Geetanjoy 2007). It was stated that, "in the 1970s, a coherent and relatively organized awareness of the ecological impact of state-monolithic development process started to develop, to grow into a full-fledged understanding of the limited nature of natural resources and to prevent the depletion of natural resources".

At global scale, growing salience of environmental crisis was brought out by four important events. The first event was the United Nations Conference on 'Human Environment' held in Stockholm, Sweden (1972). The second event was publication of the report "Limits to Growth". The third, release of the report of the Brundtland Commission entitled 'Our Common Future' (1987). Fourth, event was the 'Earth Summit' in 1992 Salunkhe, S. A., 2008).

Guha, Ramchandra (1997) lists the three events which occurred within the country in 1973, that expedited discussion on environmental issues in India:

First, in April, the government of India announced the launching of Project Tiger, a determined conservation programme aimed at protecting the country's national animal. Indian conservationists, exhilarated and assisted by the international agencies such as World Wildlife Fund and International Union for the Conservation of Nature, were contributory in bringing pressure on government to create a network of national parks and sanctuaries all over India to protect rare wildlife.

Second, the publication of an article in Economic and Political Weekly (March 31, 1973) entitled 'A Charter for the Land' authored by B. B. Vora, a high official in the ministry of agriculture, which drew attention to the extent of erosion, water logging and other forms of land degradation in the country. The Department of Environment was set up in 1980 and a full-fledged Ministry of Environment and Forests was formed five years later.

Third, on March 27, 1973, in Mandal, a remote Himalayan village, a group of peasants stopped a group of loggers from felling a stand of trees by hugging the trees. This event flashed many protests through the 1970s, jointly known as "Chipko" movement. This movement raised basic questions relating to the ecology, equity and social justice and promoted lively debate and action throughout the country.

The modern environmental movement differed from an early form of environmentalism that thrived in the first decades of the twentieth century, commonly called conservationism. Famous conservationists such as Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot focused on the intelligent and efficient use of natural resources. Modern environmentalism emerged not due to concern for managing natural resources for future development, but as a consumer movement that demanded a clean, safe, and beautiful environment as part of a higher standard of living.

The expanding post-World War II economy outstretched awareness about the environmental costs of economic progress, but it also led increasingly wealthy Americans to insist upon a better quality of life. Since the demand for a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful environment that would improve the quality of life could not be satisfied by the free market, environmentalists turned toward political action to protect the earth. Still, the preservationist element of the conservationist movement was an important predecessor to the modern environmental movement. figures as John Muir of the Sierra Club and Aldo Leopold of the Wilderness Society argued that natural spaces such as forests and rivers were not just basis for economic development, but also beautiful resources. Thus, they stated that the government needed to protect beautiful natural spaces from development through such measures as establishing national parks. In the post-World War II period, many Americans gained the resources to pursue outdoor recreational activities and travel to national parks. Muir and Leopold, preservationism became part of a mass movement.

Yet, while preservationism was significant part of the environmentalism's goals, the movement's schedule was much broader and more diverse. While preservationism focused on shielding specially designated non-residential areas, environmentalists shifted attention to the effects of the environment on daily life.

Growth of the Environmental Movement in the 1960s and 1970s:

Many historians find the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962 to be an appropriate indicator for the start of the modern American environmental movement. In the decade of 1960s and 1970s, the environmental movement concentrated its attention on pollution and successfully pressured Congress to pass measures to promote clean air and water. In the end of 1970s, the movement progressively addressed environmental threats created by the disposal of toxic waste. At the end of the century, the environmental agenda also included such worldwide problems as ozone depletion and global warming.

Environmentalism was based on the expansion of an ecological awareness that viewed the natural world as a biological and geological system that is an interacting whole. Ecologists stressed human responsibility for the impact of their routine life on a wider natural world. They were concerned that human disturbance of the earth's ecosystem endangered the survival of the planet. The spread of ecological awareness from the scientific world to the general public was revealed in popular metaphors of the planet as Spaceship Earth or Mother Earth. An ecological perception was apparent even in works of popular culture.

Silent Spring, which spent thirty-one weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, alerted Americans to the negative environmental effects of DDT, a strong insecticide that had been used in American agriculture starting in World War II. The concern about the use of DDT that the book raised led John F. Kennedy to establish a presidential advisory panel on pesticides. More expressively, however, Silent Spring raised concerns that the unimpeded growth of industry would impend human health and destroy animal life. Silent Spring broadcasted the ecological message that humans were imperilling their natural environment, and needed to find some way of protecting themselves from the hazards of industrial society. Along with the issue of nuclear war, Carson stated, "The central problem of our age has become the contamination of man's total environment with substances of incredible potential for harm."

Decade of 1960s was visualized as a period of progression for the environmental movement. The movement began with a new interest in preservationist issues. In that period, membership in former conservationist organizations like the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club skyrocketed from 123,000 in 1960 to 819,000 in 1970. President Lyndon Johnson also took an interest in preservationist issues. Between 1963 and 1968, he signed into law almost three hundred conservation and beautification measures, supported by more than $12 billion in authorized funds. Among these laws, the most important was the Wilderness Act of 1964, which lastingly set aside certain federal lands from commercial economic development in order to preserve them in their natural state. The federal government also took interest in controlling effluence. Congress enacted laws that served as significant precedents for future legislative action on pollution issues for instance, the Clean Air Acts of 1963 and 1967, the Clean Water Act of 1960, and the Water Quality Act of 1965.

In the period of 1960s, environmentalism became a mass social movement. Drawing on a culture of political activism stimulated in part by the civil rights and anti-war movements, thousands of citizens, particularly young middle-class white men and women, became involved with environmental politics. The popularity of the environmental programme was obvious by 1970. In that year, the first Earth Day was organized on 22 April to focus the public's attention on threats to the environment. Earth Day was organized by Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson, who wanted to communicate "a big message to the politicians, a message to tell them to wake up and do something." With huge public support for environmental goals, the 1970s became a critical decade for the passage of federal legislation. In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which required an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for all "major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." During the 1970s, twelve thousand such statements were prepared.

Along with the development of the environmental movement, a successions of well-publicized environmental crises in the late 1960s focused the nation's attention on the need to control pollution. Examples include the 1969 blowout of an oil well platform off the coast of Santa Barbara, which contaminated scenic California beaches with oil, and in the same year the bursting into flames of the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland, Ohio, because of toxic contamination. In the 1970s, Congress enacted important legislation to control pollution. These new laws included the Clear Air Act of 1970, the Pesticide Control Act of 1972, the Ocean Dumping Act of 1972, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, the Clean Air Act of 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, and the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976. These laws recognized national environmental quality standards to be enforced by a federally dominated regulatory process known as command and control. The Clean Air Act, for instance, established national air quality standards for major pollutants that were enforced by a federal agency.

Other important environmental legislation enacted in the decade of1970s included the preservationist measures of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Another legislations the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, or Superfund Act, were enacted in 1980. These movements were designed to help control toxic hazards, the act established federal "superfund" money for the clean-up of polluted waste sites and spills.

To enforce federal regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed in 1970. An independent federal agency, the EPA was given consolidated responsibility for regulating and implementing federal programs on air and water pollution, environmental radiation, pesticides, and solid waste. In response to the outbreak of environmental regulation passed by Congress in the 1970s, the EPA expanded its operations. It began with a staff of eight thousand and a budget of $455 million and by 1981 had a staff of nearly thirteen thousand and a budget of $1.35 billion. Enforcing environmental regulations proved to be a difficult and multifaceted task, particularly as new legislation overburdened the agency with responsibilities. The enforcement process required the gathering of different types of information scientific, economic, engineering, and political and the agency needed to contend with vigorous confrontational efforts from industry and environmental organizations.

Numerous federal environmental regulation resulted in part from the upsurge of a powerful environmental lobby. Environmental organizations continued to expand their ranks in the 1970s. During the 1970s, conventional environmental organizations established sophisticated operations in Washington, D.C. Besides supporting new environmental legislation, these groups served as overseer function, ensuring that environmental regulations were properly enforced by the EPA and other federal agencies. While these organizations focused on their own specific issues and employed their own individual strategies, a Group of Ten organizations met regularly to discuss political strategy. This group consisted of the National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Environmental Policy Institute, the Izaak Walton League, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Resources Defense Council, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Sierra Club, and the Wilderness Society.

During this decade, mainstream environmental organizations became progressively professionalized, hiring more full-time staff. They hired lobbyists to support for environmental legislation, lawyers to enforce environmental standards through the courts, and scientists to prove the need for environmental regulation and counter the claims of industry scientists. In the end of 1960s and early 1970s, a number of critics obtained an audience by asserting that the ecosystem placed limits on economic development and often giving an austere outlook for the earth's future.

The 1980s: Environmental Backlash and Radical Environmentalism:

In the regime of Ronald Reagan in 1980, ruling party espousing a conservative, pro-business ideology, Reagan sought to free American corporations from an expanding regulatory apparatus. Reagan exploited on the late 1970s Sagebrush Rebellion of westerners who sought to have federal land transferred to the states in order to avoid federal environmental regulations.

Decade of 1980s witnessed a splintering of the environmental movement. A number of radical environmentalist groups challenged the mainstream environmental organizations, appealing that they had become centralized bureaucracies out of touch with the grassroots and were too willing to compromise the environmental agenda. One of the groups to make this challenge was Earth First!, which appeared on the national scene in 1981, espousing the slogan, "No compromise in the defence of Mother Earth." Earth First, employed a variety of radical strategies, including direct action, civil disobedience, guerrilla theatre, and "ecotage," to disrupt equipment used for clear cutting, road-building, and dam construction. Two other radical environmentalist organizations were Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, each was a global organization formed in the 1970s that had significant support in the United States. Friends of the Earth was founded by the former Sierra Club director, David Brower. It pursued activist strategies and argued that protection of the environment required fundamental political and social change. Greenpeace's forceful campaigns against nuclear testing, whaling, sealing, nuclear power, and radioactive waste disposal received increasing attention during the 1980s. Additionally, some radical environmentalists indicated a new interest in deep ecology, which challenged the traditional anthropomorphism of the environmental movement.

The 1980s also observed the growth of grassroots organizations that organized to oppose threats to their local environment: a contaminated waste site, a polluting factory, or the construction of a new facility deemed to be harmful. Because their concerns were locally oriented and generally consisted of the removal of a specific environmental threat, they were referred to as NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) organizations. The threat of contaminated waste sites raised concerns throughout the country, particularly after the publicity surrounding the removal of Love Canal, New York, in the late 1970s after it was shown that the town had been built on contaminated soil. National organizations arose to support local efforts, including the Citizen's Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste, founded by former Love Canal resident Lois Gibbs, and the National Toxics Campaign. Grassroots environmental groups continued to form throughout the 1980s.

The late 1980s saw the growth of the environmental justice movement, which claimed that all people have a right to a safe and healthy environment. Those concerned with environmental justice argued that poor and minority Americans are exposed to disproportionate environmental risks. It concentrated on such issues as urban air pollution, lead paint, and transfer stations for municipal garbage and hazardous waste. Environmental justice organizations extended the support base for environmentalism, which had traditionally relied upon the educated white middle class. The success of the environmental justice movement in bringing the racial and class dimension of environmental dangers to the nation's attention was reflected in the creation of the Office of Environmental Justice by the EPA in 1992.

Environmental movements in Indian framework:

In Indian context, huge number of environmental movements have emerged in India especially after 1970s and 1980s. In this framework Sahu, Geetanjoy (2007) stated that:

In India, the environmental movement has grown rapidly over the last three to four decades. It has played a key role in three areas such as,

  1. In creating public awareness about the importance of bringing about a balance between environment and development.
  2. In opposing developmental projects that are inimical to social and environmental concerns.
  3. In organizing model projects that show the way forward towards non-bureaucratic and participatory, community-based natural resource management systems (Sahu, Geetanjoy 2007).

Major grounds of the emergence of environmental movements in India:

Major reasons of the emergence of environmental movements in India include:

  1. Control over natural resources
  2. False developmental policies of the government
  3. Socioeconomic reasons
  4. Environmental degradation/ destruction
  5. Spread of environmental awareness and media.

The main environmental movements in India are as under:

  • Chipko Andolan,
  • Save the Bhagirati
  • Stop Tehri project committee in Uttar Pradesh

Save the Narmada Movement (Narmada Bachao Andolan) in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Youth organizations and tribal people in the Gandhamardan Hills whose survival is directly endangered by development of bauxite deposits, the opposition to the Baliapal and Bhogarai test range in Orissa, the Appiko Movement in the Western Ghats.

Groups opposing the Kaiga nuclear power plant in Karnataka, the campaign against the Silent Valley project, the Rural Women's Advancement Society, formed to reclaim waste land in Bankura district and the opposition to the Gumti Dam in Tripura. Local movements are working against deforestation, water-logging, salinization and desertification in the command areas of dams on the Kosi, Gandak and Tungabhadra rivers and in the canal-irrigated areas of Punjab and Haryana.

Some other local movements like Pani Chetna, Pani Panchyat and Mukti Sangharsh advocate ecological principals for water use.

Map: Environmental movement in India: (Source: Karan, P. P. (1994): 'Environmental Movements in India', American Geographical Society)
Environmental movement in India

Some of popular environmental movements in India are elaborated below:

1. Bishnoi Movement:

This was begun in 400 years ago by a Sage known as Sombaji. In Rajasthan, a large number of trees are still worshiped by devotees. People resisted the cutting of such tree and advocated movement against deforestation. Historical reports signified that the Bishnoi is a nonviolent community of nature worshippers of Rajasthan in western India. It was founded by guru Jambheshwar before 1451 after a draught in the Marwar region of Rajasthan. The guru directed the worship of lord Vishnu, thus the sect is called vishnoi or bishnoi. The Bishnois followed 29 principles given by guru Jambheshwar which were not only tailored to conserve biodiversity of the area but also ensured eco-friendly social life. Bishnois are strong devotees of wild animals. Animals are protected in Bishnoi dominated areas. Even today, after many generations, Bishnois continue to protect the trees and animals. Amrita Devi, eminent figure, started this movement in which around 363 people sacrificed their lives for the protection of their forests. This movement was the first of its kind to have developed the policy of hugging or embracing the trees for their protection spontaneously (Nepal, Padam 2009).

2. The Chipko Movement:

Most effectual and popular environmental movement in India was the Chipko which became known for environmental movements in world. The Chipko movement concentrated world attention on the environmental problems of the Alaknanda catchment area in the mid-Western Himalayas (Santra, S. C. 2009). The Chipko movement of Uttaranchal is famous for its tree-hugging campaign to resist the tree cutting. It was started by noted environmentlist Sunderlal Bahuguna in 1970 to safe guard the rich forest of western Himalaya Range. This movement was basically a people movement to resist the cutting of trees. There were frequent floods in the Alkanand River catchment area due to cutting trees for developmental world like the construction of roads, river dam project etc . Environmentalist, Reddy (1998) stated that, "Chipko movement, launched to protect the Himalayan forests from destruction, has its roots in the pre-independence days. Many struggles were organized to protest against the colonial forest policy during the early decades of the twentieth century. The main demand of the people in these protests was that the benefits of the forests, especially the right to fodder, should go to local people" (Reddy, Ratna V. 1998). In this context Santra, (2000) recorded that in 1960, to maintain border security, a vast network of roads was constructed in this area besides taking up projects of various other types. All this was catastrophic for the forests and also total environment of the area chopping of trees and rolling them down hills loosened the upper soil which eroded further during rain. This had disastrous impact and resulting the devastating flood in the Alaknanda in July 1970, which caused destruction in the upper catchment area

Reddy (1998) further stated that, "in early 1973, the forest department allotted ash trees to a private company. This incident provoked the Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangha (DGSS) a local cooperative organization to fight against this injustice through lying down in front of timber trucks and burning resin and timber depots as was done in the quit India movement. When these methods were found unsatisfactory, Chandi Prasad Bhat, one of the leaders, suggested embracing the trees to prevent them from being cut. With its success, the movement has spread to other neighboring areas, and then onwards the movement is popularly known internationally as Chipko movement (Reddy, Ratna V. 1998: 688)."

The name of the movement, that is 'Chipko', comes from the word 'embrace', in Hindi. It is believed that the villagers hugged or embraced or stuck to the trees in the forest to avert them from being felled by the contractors. The strategy of 'embracing' the trees to resist the felling of the trees was thought of by Chandi Prasad Bhatt in a meeting in the Mandal on April 1, 1973. The name 'Chipko' was derived from the consensual strategy of clinging on to the trees as a non-violent direct action (Nepal, Padam 2009).

Karan (1994) indicated that "by the late 1980s, the movement had broken into two groups that have broad grassroots support and advocate participatory methods which respond to local issues in the context of local social and cultural traditions. One group followed a strategy that emphasizes ecologically sound development of forest by local people to meet local needs. The second group followed the deep-ecology paradigm of environmental management" (Karan, P. P. 1994).

Reddy, Ratna and Mukul (1998) indicated that, Chipko movement has had six demands, one of which is complete stoppage of commercial cutting of trees. The other demands include:

  1. On the basis of minimum needs of the people, a reorganization of traditional rights should take place.
  2. Arid forest should be made green with people's participation and increased tree cultivation.
  3. Village committees should be formed to manage forests.
  4. Forest related home-based industries should be developed and the raw materials, money and technique for it should be made available.
  5. Based on local conditions and requirements, local varieties should be given priority in afforestation (Reddy, Ratna V. 1998).

In this environment movement, the people of village Gopeswar formed and association called Dasholi Gram Saraja Mandal in 1970 mainly to provide relief to flood affected people in that area. Then they diverted their attention to the importance of forest cover and under the leadership of Bahuguna made a movement to protect environment and ecology and the movement draws the attention of the Government and World Bank.

3. Narmada Bachao Andolan:

The most widespread movement in the environmental crusade of India is the movement against the Narmada River Valley Project (Reddy, Ratna V, 1998). The Narmada is the biggest west-flowing river on the Indian peninsula. The Narmada winds its 1,312 km long course to the Arabian Sea through lovely forested hills, rich agricultural plains and narrow rocky valleys in a series of falls (Kothari, Ashish and Rajiv Bhartari 1984). Karan (1994) inferred that more than twenty one million people live in the valley, mostly in villages.

Many tribal groups, such as the Bhils and the Gonds, occupy the forested uplands. The Narmada valley is the location of one of the world's largest versatile water projects. The Narmada River Development Project, which involves the construction of thirty large dams and many small ones on the river and its fifty-one main tributaries. The project renovated the valley and the lives of its residents and will increase food production and hydropower generation in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

The Narmada movement begun in the late 1970s. Reddy (1998) stated that to start with, this movement was centred on the issue of human rights. The main leaders of the movement at present like Medha Patkar were working towards proper rehabilitation programmes for the dam displaced. Due to improper implementation of the rehabilitation programmes by the state, the human rights activists have become the articulators of antidam protests. Their demands included complete stopping of the dam. The movement, however, gained huge public attention with mobilization and organization of oustees (mostly tribals) and the joining of the eminent social workers like Baba Amte, Sunderlal Bahuguna and Medha Patkar. Though, its public attention is due to its coverage in three states, the most distinguished feature of this movement is the international support it has received (Reddy, Ratna V. 1998).

Nepal, Padam (2009) indicated that the Narmada Bachao Andolan has drawn upon a multiplicity of discourses for protests such as: "displacement risks and resettlement provisions; environmental impact and sustainability issues; financial implications of the project; forceful evictions and violations of civil liberties; issues pertaining to river valley planning and management; implications of Western growth model, and alternative development and appropriate technology among many other. The movement uses various tools of protest such as Satyagraha, Jal Samarpan, Rasta Roko, Gaon Bandh, demonstrations and rallies, hunger strikes and blockade of projects" (Nepal, Padam 2009).

4. Appiko Movement:

The Appiko movement was an innovative movement based on environmental conservation in India. Appiko Movement focused on the issues of forest-based environmental actions in India. The movement happened in the Uttara Kanada district of Karnataka in the Western Ghats. As Santra (2000) indicated that Karnataka's Uttar Kannada which forms part of the Western Ghats, is known as the 'forest district'. The area has gorgeous forest wealth with a typical micro climate for cash crops such as black pepper and cardaman. During the colonial rule, the rich forest resources were browbeaten; the teak trees were felled to build ships and timber and fuel woods were sent to Mumbai. After independence, the government also began felling trees for profits and the Forest Department, which continued the colonial forest policy, converted the primeval tropical forests into monoculture teak and eucalyptus plantations.

A group of youth in Balegadde village, objected to moves to establish teak plantations, wrote to forest officials to stop clearing the natural forest. But this appeal was overlooked. Then the villagers decided to launch a movement. They requested S. L. Bahuguna, the architect of Chipko movement and gathered local people to take up pledge to protect trees by embracing them. In September 1983, when the axe-men came for felling to the Kalase forests, people embraced the trees and thus the 'Appiko movement was propelled.

Sheth, Pravin (1997) stated that, "the Appiko movement succeeded in its three-fold objectives which include;

  1. Protecting the existing forest cover.
  2. Regeneration of trees in denuded land.
  3. Utilizing forest wealth with proper consideration to conservation of natural resources.

The Appiko movement saved the basic life sources for the people such as trees like bamboo useful for making handcrafted items which they could sell for earning a few rupees. It also saved medicinal trees for their use by the local people" (Sheth, Pravin 1997).

Further it was specified that, "the movement created consciousness among the villagers throughout the Western Ghats about the ecological danger posed by the commercial and industrial interests to their forest which was the main source of sustenance".

The Appiko Movement adopts various techniques to raise awareness such as foot marches in the interior forests, slide shows, folk dances, street plays and so on. The movement has achieved some success. The state government has banned felling of green trees in some forest areas; only dead, dying and dry trees are felled to meet local requirements. The movement has spread to the four hill districts of Karnataka Province, and has the potential to spread to the Eastern Ghats in Tamil Nadu Province and to Goa Province.

The second area of the Appiko Movement's work is to promote afforestation on denuded lands in the villagers to grow saplings. Individual families as well as village youth clubs have taken an active interest in growing decentralized nurseries. An all-time record of 1.2 million saplings were grown by people in the Sirsi area in 1984-1985.

The third major area of activity in the Appiko Movement is related to rational use of the ecosphere through introducing alternative energy sources to reduce the pressure on the forest.

After two decades of initiation of this movement, Appiko eco-awareness movement swept parts of south India. Most of leaders stated that there are significant changes occurred especially in the forest policy of Karnataka.

5. Silent Valley Movement:

Save Silent Valley was an environmental movement intended to protect Silent Valley, an evergreen tropical forest in the Palakkad district of Kerala, India. It was started in 1973 to save the Silent Valley Reserve Forest from being flooded by a hydroelectric project. The valley was declared as Silent Valley National Park in 1985.

Silent Valley in Kerala has a rich 89 sq. km biological treasure drove in the enormous expanse of tropical virgin forests on the green rolling hills. In 1980s, a 200 MW hydroelectric dam on the crystal clear river Kunthipuzha under the Kundremukh project was to come up (Sheth, Pravin 1997). The proposed project was not environmentally feasible, as it would drown a chunk of the valuable rainforest of the valley and threaten the life of a host of endangered species of both flora and fauna (Nepal, Padam 2009).

The Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) an NGO, was working for three decades among masses of Kerala for growing environmental awareness. The campaign to save Silent Valley turned out to be a public education programme in many respects. The movement in many ways saves the ecosystem of Silent Valley area (Santra, S. C. 2000). This NGO raised their voice to stop the silent vally Hydral Project in 1978. Silent valley is rich in tropical forest with enormous bio-reserve. The state Govt. of Kerala wanted a hydroelectric project for the power hungry state inside a deep tropical forest in silent valley. This tropical forest was the only remaining one in the country. The environmentalist objected to the project and filled a case in High court, which they lost and project was cancelled by the help of Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

For this movement, Karan (1994) noted that:

"The Kerala People's Science Movement (Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad) is a network of rural school teachers and local citizens that promotes environmental scientific projects in the villages. The movement acknowledged the obvious economic needs of the people of Malbar but concluded that the Silent Valley Project would make only a marginal contribution to regional development. Thus the group opposed the project with a campaign that brought into sharp focus the ecological consequences, specifically the possibility of extinction of species that had evolved over millions of years. The movement began to challenge the idea that energy generated by the dam would benefit the rural people of Kerala. Most of the energy from the project was to be exported to industrialized areas of Kerala and surrounding states. The movement asserted that the local environment would be disrupted with benefits going to Trivandrum, the state capital (Karan, P. P. 1994)."

Nepal Padam (2009) indicated that the central issue of the Silent Valley protests included: The protection of the tropical rainforest, maintenance of the ecological balance. The campaigns and petitions were the main strategies adopted by the activists in the movement, grounding it on the non-violent, Gandhian ideological orientation, the protest against the destruction of forest, an opposition to ecologically unsustainable development, and above all, maintenance of the ecological balance (Nepal, Padam 2009).

6. Tehri Dam Conflict:

One of the most extended environmental movements is the movement against the Tehri Dam. It is the 260.5 meter high Tehri Dam on the Bhagirathi in the Garhwal-Himalayas. The project has generated disagreement since its beginning. In spite of objections of several scientists of national and international status, the project is yet to be adapted or stopped (Santara, S. C. 2000). As stated by Reddy (1998):

"The Tehri Baandh Virodhi Sangahrsha Samithi founded by veteran freedom fighter Veerendra Datta Saklani has been opposing the construction for more than a decade. The major objections include, seismic sensitivity of the region, submergence of forest areas along with Tehri town etc. Despite the support from other prominent leaders like Sunderlal Bahuguna, the movement has failed to gather enough popular support at national as well as international levels and the government is determined to complete the project. According to the latest reports, the construction of the dam is being carried out with police protection as Sunderlal Bahuguna is sitting on fast unto death. After prime minister's assurance to review the project, Bahuguna ended his fast but construction goes on, though at a slower pace (Reddy, Ratna V. 1998). "

7. Save Ganga Movement:

Save Ganga Movement is a pervasive Gandhian non-violent movement backed by saints and popular social activists across the Indian States Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in support of a free Ganga. The movement is supported by Ganga Seva Abhiyanam, Pune-based National Women's Organisation (NWO) besides those of many other compatible organisations and with the moral support from many religious leaders, spiritual and political, scientists, environmentalists, writers and social activists.

The Global Environment and the 1990s:

In the end of the 1980s, the environmental movement had progressively focused its attention on global issues that could only be resolved through international diplomacy. Issues such as global warming, acid rain, ozone depletion, biodiversity, marine mammals, and rain forests could not be dealt with just on the national level. As residents in the world's largest economy, and consequently the world's largest polluter, consumer of energy, and generator of waste, American environmentalists realized a special responsibility to safeguard their country's participation in international agreements to protect the earth.

While the United States was an unenthusiastic participant in international efforts to address environmental concerns compared with other industrial nations, the federal government did take steps to address the global nature of the environmental issue. In 1987, the United States joined with 139 other nations to sign the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The protocol pledged the signees to remove the production of chlorofluorocarbons, which cause destruction to the ozone layer. In 1992, representatives from 179 nations, including the United States, met in Brazil at the Conference on Environment and Development, where they enlisted a document that stated twenty-eight guiding ideologies to strengthen global environmental governance. Responding to criticism that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was likely to harm the North American environment, President Bill Clinton in 1993 negotiated a supplemental environmental agreement with Mexico and Canada to go along with NAFTA. While some environmental organizations endorsed that agreement, others appealed that it will not work enough in countering the negative environmental effects of NAFTA. In 1997, Clinton committed the United States to the Kyoto Protocol, which set forth timetables and emission targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. President George W. Bush, however, rescinded this commitment when he took office in 2001.

Environmentalists were an important part of an "antiglobalization" coalition that merged at the end of the 1990s. It contended that the expansion of the global economy was occurring without proper environmental and labour standards in place. In 1999, globalization opponents gained international attention by taking to the streets of Seattle to protest a meeting of the World Trade Organization.

In 1996, environmentalists critical of mainstream politics formed a national Green Party, believing that a challenge to the two-party system was needed to push through needed environmental change. In 1996 and 2000, the Green Party ran Ralph Nader as its presidential candidate. In 2000, Nader received 2.8 million votes, or 2.7 percent of the vote. The party elected a number of candidates to local office, particularly in the western states.

Achievements and Challenges:

In the end of twentieth century, several American environmentalists could point to a number of significant accomplishments. Major goal of world populace was to protect the planet from hazardous substances. In 2000, Americans celebrated the thirty-first Earth Day. In a poll taken that day, 83 percent of Americans expressed broad agreement with the environmental movement's goals and 16 percent reported that they were active in environmental organizations. In 2000, the thirty largest environmental organizations had close to twenty million members. Meanwhile, the country had committed significant resources to environmental control.

Environmental regulations put in place in the 1960s and 1970s had led to cleaner air and water. In 1997, the EPA reported that the air was the cleanest it had been since the EPA began record keeping in 1970. The emissions of six major pollutants were down by 31 percent. In 2000, the EPA reported that releases of toxic materials into the environment had declined 42 percent since 1988. The EPA also estimated that 70 percent of major lakes, rivers, and streams were safe for swimming and fishing, twice the figure for 1970. The dramatic clean-up of formerly contaminated rivers such as the Cuyahoga and the Potomac was further evidence that antipollution efforts were having their desired effects.

However, many environmentalists remained gloomy about the state of the planet. Despite the nation's progress to lessen pollution, at the end of the 1990s, sixty-two million Americans lived in places that did not meet federal standards for either clean air or clean water. The Super-fund program to clean up toxic areas had proven both costly and ineffective. In the mid-1990s, of the thirteen hundred "priority sites of contamination" that had been identified by the EPA under the program, only seventy nine had been cleaned up. The political deadlock on environmental legislation that persisted for much of the 1980s and 1990s thwarted efforts to update outdated pollution control efforts. In addition, a number of media sources in the late 1990s reported that America's national parks were underfunded and overcrowded because of cuts in the federal budget.

Major problem was related to do the nation's reluctance to address long-term threats to the environment such as global warming, population growth, and the exhaustion of fossil fuel resources. Global warming threatened to raise ocean levels and generate violent and unpredictable weather, affecting all ecosystems; unrestrained world population growth would put greater pressure on the earth's limited natural resources; and the eventual exhaustion of fossil fuel resources would require the development of new forms of energy. The administration of George W. Bush represented the United States' lack of attention to these issues: not only did Bush pull the nation out of the Kyoto Protocol designed to control global warming, but his energy policy consisted of an aggressive exploitation of existing fossil fuel resources without significant efforts to find alternate sources of energy.

By the end of the twentieth century, many environmentalists exhibited a new concern with the goal of sustainable development, which sought long-term planning to integrate environmental goals with social and economic ones. Yet even as environmental organizations addressed global issues such as global warming, population growth, and the exhaustion of fossil fuel resources, the American public remained more concerned with more tangible issues such as air and water pollution. Indeed, the environmental movement had been successful because it had promised a tangible increase in the everyday quality of life for Americans through a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful environment. Mobilizing popular support to fight more abstract and long-term ecological threats thus presented environmentalists with a challenge.

To summarize, in contemporary wold, numerous grass root environmental movements launched against the developmental activities that have endangered the ecological balance. Environmental movement can be elaborated as a social and political movement which concerned with the conservation of environment as well as enhancing the state of environment. It can also be known as green and conservation movement. During the past twenty years people in various regions of India have bent nonviolent action movements to protect their environment, their livelihood, and their ways of life. These environmental movements have emerged from the Himalayan regions of Uttar Pradesh to the tropical forests of Kerala and from Gujarat to Tripura in response to projects that threaten to dislocate people and to affect their basic human rights to land, water, and ecological stability of life-support systems. They share certain features, such as democratic values and decentralized decision making, with social movements operating in India. The environmental movements are slowly progressing toward defining a model of development to replace the current resource-intensive one that has created severe ecological instability (Centre for Science and Environment 1982). Similar grassroots environmental movements are emerging in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. Throughout Asia and the Pacific citizenry organizations are working in innovative ways to reclaim their environment (Rush 1991).