Etymology
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ecological (adj.)

1899, see ecology + -ical. Related: Ecologically.

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environmentalism (n.)

1923, as a psychological theory (in the nature vs. nurture debate), from environmental + -ism. The ecological sense is from 1972. Related: Environmentalist (n.), 1916 in the psychological sense, 1970 in the ecological sense.

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eco- 

word-forming element referring to the environment and man's relation to it, abstracted from ecology, ecological; attested from 1969.

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environmental (adj.)

1887, "environing, surrounding," from environment + -al (1). Ecological sense by 1967. Related: Environmentally (1884).

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polluted (adj.)

late 14c., "ceremonially unclean, profane;" c. 1400, "rendered impure or unclean," past-participle adjective from pollute (v.). Meaning "drunk" is from 1912, American English slang; ecological sense is by 1888.

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conservationist (n.)

"advocate of conservation," 1861, from conservation + -ist. The ecological sense is from 1903. Conservatist (1849) was used in the sense "conservative."

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Earth Day 

as an annual ecological awareness event on April 22, from 1970; the idea for it and the name date from 1969.

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polluter (n.)

1540s, "one who renders unclean or impure, one who profanes," agent noun from pollute (v.). Ecological sense is by 1958.

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protection (n.)

mid-14c., proteccioun, "shelter, defense, that which shields from harm or injury; keeping, guardianship, act or state of protecting;" late 14c. as "that which protects," from Old French proteccion "protection, shield" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin protectionem (nominative protectio) "a covering over," noun of action from past-participle stem of protegere "protect, cover in front," from pro "before" (see pro-) + tegere "to cover" (from PIE root *(s)teg- "to cover"). A common Old English word for "protect" was beorgan.

The political economy sense of "system of fostering a country's industries by means of imposts on products of foreign competitors" is from 1789. As "a writing that guarantees the bearer safety or safe conduct" from mid-15c.; the modern underworld sense of "freedom from molestation in exchange for money" is attested from 1860. The ecological sense of "attempted preservation by laws" is from 1880 (originally of wild birds in Britain).

Also in medieval England, "the protection or maintenance of a lord or patron; sponsorship." To put (someone) out of protection meant to deprive him or her of the security of the protection of the kingdom's laws.

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