The development of environmental journalism in the Western world

Authored by: Mark Neuzil

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Journalism

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138478503
eBook ISBN: 9781351068406
Adobe ISBN:


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Many date the rise of the modern environmental movement and the beginning of modern environmental journalism in the West to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962, which led to a shift in the environmental paradigm from conservation to pollution and human health risk. But a concern for the natural world and writing about environmental issues dates all the way back to the ancient texts. In fact, the origin of the word pollution is “from the Latin pollut, which means soiled or defiled.” And in the Hebrew Bible, “the authors who collected the works of the biblical prophet Isaiah spoke of it eight centuries before Christ.” The chapter takes us from these early origins to the beginnings of the concept of “science” and then on to Henry David Thoreau on Walden Pond. It describes the rise of outdoor adventure writing in Europe and America and then moves to Theodore Roosevelt, “the father of American conservation.” Finally, it explains the mainstream development of environmental journalism, the downturn in the media business in the United States, and the influence of 21st century technology.

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