The term appropriate technology came into some prominence during the 1973 energy crisis and the environmental movement of the 1970s. The term is typically used in two arenas: utilizing the most effective technology to address the needs of developing areas, and using socially and environmentally acceptable technologies in industrialized nations.
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC (consisting of the Arab members of OPEC, plus Egypt and Syria) proclaimed an oil embargo “in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military” during the Yom Kippur war; it lasted until March 1974. OAPEC declared it would limit or stop oil shipments to the United States and other countries if they supported Israel in the conflict. With the US actions seen as initiating the oil embargo, the long-term possibility of embargo-related high oil prices, disrupted supply and recession, created a strong rift within NATO; both European nations and Japan sought to disassociate themselves from the US Middle East policy. Arab oil producers had also linked the end of the embargo with successful US efforts to create peace in the Middle East, which complicated the situation. To address these developments, the Nixon Administration began parallel negotiations with both Arab oil producers to end the embargo, and with Egypt, Syria, and Israel to arrange an Israeli pull back from the Sinai and the Golan Heights after the fighting stopped. By January 18, 1974, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had negotiated an Israeli troop withdrawal from parts of the Sinai. The promise of a negotiated settlement between Israel and Syria was sufficient to convince Arab oil producers to lift the embargo in March 1974. By May, Israel agreed to withdraw from the Golan Heights.
Independently, the OPEC members agreed to use their leverage over the world price-setting mechanism for oil to stabilize their real incomes by raising world oil prices. This action followed several years of steep income declines after the end of Bretton Woods, as well as the recent failure of negotiations with the major Western oil companies earlier in the month.
For the most part, industrialized economies relied on crude oil, and OPEC was their predominant supplier. Because of the dramatic inflation experienced during this period, a popular economic theory has been that these price increases were to blame, as being suppressive of economic activity. However, the causality stated by this theory is often questioned. The targeted countries responded with a wide variety of new, and mostly permanent, initiatives to contain their further dependency. The 1973 “oil price shock”, along with the 1973–1974 stock market crash, have been regarded as the first event since the Great Depression to have a persistent economic effect.
The environmental movement, a term that includes the conservation and green movements, is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing environmental issues.
Environmentalists advocate the sustainable management of resources and stewardship of the environment through changes in public policy and individual behavior. In its recognition of humanity as a participant in (not enemy of) ecosystems, the movement is centered on ecology, health, and human rights.
The environmental movement is represented by a range of organizations, from the large to grassroots. Due to its large membership, varying and strong beliefs, and occasionally speculative nature, the environmental movement is not always united in its goals. At its broadest, the movement includes private citizens, professionals, religious devotees, politicians, and extremists.
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