What effects has the environmental movement had on the United States?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The United States has experienced several different pushes forward towards a more sustainable approach to environmental policy and operations. In an attempt to clean up groundwater and rivers, clear up air pollution in urban areas, and decrease the hole in the ozone layer, more stringent regulations were put into place by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agency was founded in December of 1970 and set the course for legislation that banned toxic dumping and other formerly lax conduct. With more regulation and follow-through, the US was able to see drastic increases in air and water quality, the re-invigoration of natural areas and more education (and research) being poured into the public sector with regard to environmentalism.

With the aforementioned increases in discourse and education, come divisions in the political sphere, which are still attempting to sort themselves out. At present, evidence-based science and the scientific method have come under attack and that has led to further doubt among populations that don't understand components of environmental science or are swayed by those willfully disseminating misinformation.

With increased awareness about the globalization of consumer products, conscientious people are now seeking to buy local, decrease their carbon dioxide and water footprints, and consume products and services they see that are in line with their values. Their actions are directly related to their desire to preserve the environment. More recent effects can be seen in the discussion of decreased meat and dairy consumption, among themes like avoiding palm oil and other products that undermine the planet's welfare.

Finally, other effects from the environmental movement that are clearly visible in the economic sector include production, consumption, and marketing. Myriad startups and other organizations have come together in recent decades to find and issue solutions to some of the challenges facing the US, such as climate change and global food and water insecurity.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The environmental movement has had at least two important impacts on the United States.  First, it has improved environmental quality in the country.  We no longer worry about acid rain and air pollution is down.  Most rivers and lakes are much cleaner than they were 40 years ago.  Second, it has contributed to the deep splits between conservatives and liberals.  It has become one more battle ground for us politically.  This is because liberals take environmentalism as an important cause and conservatives resist it largely because it is seen as a liberal thing.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team