Environmentalism is not a recent movement, but one which dates from at least since the nineteenth century, and which has been subject to periods of contraction as well as growth. Moreover, the philosophical impulses underlying this movement have deep historical roots (and numerous antecedents) in the Western tradition. Broadly speaking, there have been two different traditions schools of environmental thought. The better known of these schools is one which the article identifies as the Arcadian, and which essentially represents a more up-to-date expression of the discontent with civilization and the desire for a return to the state of nature which have been characteristic of various Western philosophical traditions since antiquity. The other school, identified in this article as Utilitarian, which emphasizes the beneficial and less wasteful uses of nature with the help of science and technology, is now enjoying resurgence, but it also has deeper and broader historical and cultural roots than often suspected, as recent research has begun to show. Understanding the genealogy of these different types of ecophilosophies, in turn, helps us better discern, with the benefit of hindsight, their potential pitfalls as well as their likely contributions, and thus could lead to better informed philosophical discussions on environmental issues.