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The history of environmental protection

With the rapid rise of global warming and increase in devastating natural disasters, the subject of environmental issues and protection has permeated the news and media over the last decade. However, despite only coming into mainstream consciousness in recent years, it is no new phenomenon. Environmental protection holds a rich history, with extensive efforts to preserve nature and reduce the human impact on it being made across the world by environmental movements since the 1960s, with legislation being put in place as early as the late 1800s in African countries such as Tanzania. The dedication of these groups has contributed heavily to public awareness of these issues and has helped pressure governments to take necessary action to protect the environment and, subsequently, improve and preserve the world we live in.

As aforementioned, the earliest environmental protection efforts on record took place in the African country of Tanzania during Germany's thirty five year occupation of East Africa that came to an end in 1919. Laws restricting activities such as hunting, firewood collection and cattle grazing were put in place to conserve its many forests and wildlife, and by 1948, Serengeti, its first national park initially centered on the preservation of wild cats, was opened. Tanzania now boasts a vast and ever growing network of protected areas, among which lie seven national parks, and its government focus heavily on further protecting its environment with the implementation of The National Environment Policy.

Australia, a country home to the largest barrier reef in the world, concocted its first National Park in 1879, though it wasn't until the 1960s that it really began to make progress environmentally. The United Nations' mammoth international environmental programs educated people in Australia and brought about public awareness, rallying support for more government regulation which was somewhat lacking and flaky up until the 1972 formation of the Australian Environmental Council. It now ranks as one of the world's most environmentally friendly countries.

Another country with a rich environmental past is Mexico, unsurprising given that it is home to 20,000 different species of animal and holds over 10% of the world's biodiversity. Its government implemented legislation helping to protect and preserve the land as early as 1940 and has expanded on this over the decades.

Environmental pressure groups have contributed greatly to these successes throughout history and continue to fight for the preservation of nature today. Activist groups like Greenpeace have campaigned for environmental protection for over four decades, making a difference globally through protests, campaigns, expeditions and direct action. Their campaigns exposing environmental injustices such as seal pup massacres and whaling as far back as 1970 have achieved laudable results, transforming laws and attitudes worldwide.

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