What is environmentalism and how does it differ from ecology

What is environmentalism and how does it differ from ecology

These two terms, environmentalism and ecology, are in the media almost every day and can sound very similar. In addition, they tend to be associated with green movements for environmental conservation and sustainability. However, the reality is that both words have very different meanings.


In the definition given by the Royal Spanish Academy of Language (RAE) it is: "Science that studies living beings as inhabitants of an environment, and the relationships they maintain with each other and with the environment itself."

Therefore, ecology is a scientific discipline, objective and far from the fields of ethics or morals. Ecologists study the processes and changes that life undergoes on the planet, as well as the developments and fluctuations in biodiversity and ecosystems.

This science is 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.

Ecology encourages more and more people to be committed to nature and, therefore, worry about consuming a certain type of food, recycling or purchasing green products such as those offered by green electricity companies such as GanaEnergía.


According to the Royal Spanish Academy of the Language (RAE), it is the "sociopolitical movement that, with very different nuances, advocates the defense of nature and, in many cases, that of man in it."

Environmentalism is the activism of ecology, it constitutes a civic movement that seeks to apply ecological concepts to caring for the environment and that seeks a model of society where people can live in full communication with nature and other human beings.

It is the latest ideology incorporated into the concerns of a society that has seen how natural resources have been exploited in recent times and how the planet's biodiversity has decreased. Environmentalism emerges as a new way of doing politics that takes sustainable development as its central axis.

Types of environmentalism:

  • Technicist environmentalism: its objective is to reduce pollution worldwide, proposing alternative energies and technical advances.
  • Naturalistic environmentalism: it is an ecocentric philosophical current that seeks to avoid 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 studies problems of overpopulation, famine in the world and the depletion of resources.
  • Humanist environmentalism: it is a movement that considers 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.

Differences between ecology and environmentalism

The difference then is that the first term is a science and the other a social movement. Of course, nothing prevents an ecologist from being an ecologist too, in fact it happens often.

However, an ecologist might be an expert in his or her field, and not share the social or ethical implications of the environmental movement. In the same way, an environmentalist does not have to be qualified or trained for environmental work simply because they are.


Video: Difference between habitat and niche - ecology (October 2020).