The term ‘green’ was first used in connection with environmentally-orientated politics when it was employed to describe conservation and preservation movements which had sprung up in late nineteenth-century USA. The term nevertheless became more prominent from the 1970s onwards, first through its use by environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, established in 1971, but more significantly through the tendency of many emerging environmental parties to brand themselves as ‘Green parties’. The most influential of these new parties, and the model on which many other such parties were based, was the German Greens (Die Grünen), founded in 1980. From this point onwards, the term was adopted more widely, being used to refer, amongst other things, to green philosophy, green politics and green ideology (sometimes called ‘ecologism’, ‘political ecology’ or ‘greenism’). Green ideology is based on the belief that nature is an interconnected whole, embracing humans and non-humans, as well as the inanimate world. This has encouraged green thinkers to question (but not necessarily reject) the anthropocentric, or human-centred, assumptions of conventional political ideologies, allowing them to come up with new ideas about, among other things, economics, morality and social organization. Nevertheless, there are different strains and tendencies within green ideology. Some greens are committed to ‘shallow’ ecology (sometimes viewed as environmentalism, as opposed to ecologism), which attempts to harness the lessons of ecology to human ends and needs, and embraces a ‘modernist’ or reformist approach to environmental change.
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