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environmental +‎ -ist


environmentalist (plural environmentalists)

  1. (medicine, social sciences) One who holds the view that environment, rather than heredity or culture, is the primary factor in the development of an individual or group.
    • 1926, Clark Wissler, 'The Relation of Nature to Man in Aboriginal America', 1971 edition, page 211-212:
      As we remarked once before, there are two extreme views with respect to life, one attributing everything to the environment, the other to inherent abilities. If, for example, an unusual number of distinguished men are born and reared in the same locality, the environmentalists assert that the causes for their appearance were entirely external and that had their parents changed habitats with those residing elsewhere the result would have been the same, except that the family names of these eminent men would have been different.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:environmentalist.
  2. One who advocates for the protection of the biosphere from misuse from human activity through such measures as ecosystem protection, waste reduction and pollution prevention.
    • 2020 December 2, Christian Wolmar, “Wales offers us a glimpse of an integrated transport policy”, in Rail, page 56:
      A widening of the M4 had long been mooted, and the Welsh Government had even earmarked most of the required £1.6bn funding for a new 14-mile, six-lane section around Newport. Then, in the face of opposition from environmentalists, came a realisation that similar road schemes across the world tend merely to encourage greater car use and therefore soon prove ineffective in solving the original problem.


  • (one who advocates for the protection of the biosphere): greenie (chiefly Australia and New Zealand, slang, often derogatory), tree hugger (slang, often disapproving)


(one who advocates for the protection of the biosphere):

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environmentalist (comparative more environmentalist, superlative most environmentalist)

  1. Of, or relating to environmentalism.
    • 1939, Alfred L. Kroeber, Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North America, 1963 edition, page 69:
      The environmentalist explanation would be that tropical environment retards or depresses culture through its physiological effect on the human organism.

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