01 Marrying Anthropocentrism to Ecocentrism: The Rising Voices of Dissent in American Environmentalism
In light of multiple significant incidents in its contemporary history, the American environmental movement (EM) seems to be at a crossroads as the national consensus on this movement—forged during the 1970s—starts to crack under the strain of rising challenges. Communities most adversely affected by environmental hazards—usually referred to as communities of color and labor—now seem to be estranged from and ignored by a mostly ecocentric movement they can hardly identify with. Against such a backdrop,I examine the emergence of new dissenting ‘anthropocentric’ voices within the American EM—most notably the Environmental Justice Movement (EJM)—and discuss the multiple facets of the anthropocentric-ecocentric divide and its bearing on the evolution of the movement. I will further analyze whether the emerging sustainability discourse will be able to contain this ideological divide and offer a reconciliation framework for a harmonization of these movements’ objectives, policies, and modes of activism.