Enviromentalism in a Turbulent Society

  • This movement started off with little public support but by the 1970's the movement became an enduring force in American life. (Similar to the Feminist Movement).
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The New Science of Ecology
  • Old enviromentalists based their commitment on aesthetic or moral grounds. These people wanted to preserve nature because it was beatuiful, it was a mark of divinity, and it permitted humans a spiritual experience.
  • The care of the enviromental wasn't factored in because of the need for expansion, Manifest Destiny. Also, with the build up of cities there wasn't a need for the clean up of the enviroment, this would cause problems that will be examined later, Industrialism and Growing Cities.
  • Scientists then created a new are of study in enviromentalism called ecology. Ecology is the study of the inter-relatedness of the natural world.
    • Created by Stephen Forbes an American Zoologist.
  • Aldo Leopold- Wrote the book, The Sand County Almanac (1949). He believed that humans had a responsibility to understand and maintain the balance od nature, and that humans should behave according to the "land ethic" code.
  • New termology came about such as food chain, ecosystem, biodiversity, and endagered species.
  • Rachel Carson- Wrote the book, Silent Spring (1962). This book showed that the sickness of birds would effect the whole ecosystem negitively. This book helped to ban DDT(harmful chemical) in 1972. This book was incredibly contoversial, enraging the chemical industry.
  • By the 1970's ecology became a predominant field in science.
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            • (Pictured: Aldo Leopold)
Enviromental Advocacy
  • New organizations formed, they were usually non-profit, and non government agencies. These agencies were the most important development in the Enviromentalism Movement.
    • Some organizations are the Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, the National Parks, and Conservation Association
  • These organizations were supported by outside not for profit organizations.
  • New break throughs in enviromentalism played key roles in political and legal systems.
  • Most importantly the new organizations learned how to mobolize public opinion on their behalf.
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      • (Pictured:The Wilderness Society Logo)

Enviormental Degradation

  • Lady Bird Johnson- She raised awareness by her beautification campaign, which was promoted by the idea that rapid economy growth led to the despoliation of the land.
  • Members of the counterculture romanticized the natural world and repudiated the "technocracy."
  • Many citites were dealing with disgusting sights and odors, health risks, and polluted rivers and lakes. This disgusting enviorment was the greatest pushing force behind environmentalism.
  • Even the air was becoming toxic, causing some respiratory problems.
  • A huge oil spill took place in Santa Barbra, California in 1969. This had a tremendous impact on the environmental consciousness of Americans. After that, in 1989, Exxon Valdez, a gaint tanker, spilled oil in Alaska. This oil spill greatly effected wildlife.
  • The short term effects were also brought into Americans awareness during this time. They would be: rapid depletion of oil and other fossil fuels, destruction of lakes and forests due to acid rain, destruction of rain forests(limited oxygen supply), depletion of the ozone layer(limited the earths protection from ultraviolet rays), and global warming(slowly raises ocean levels).
    • Most of these issues are controversal, this means that not everyone believes in what enviormentalists are campaigning.
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Earth Day and Beyond
  • Earth Day- Began on April 22nd, 1970, propossed by Senator Gaylord Nelson, 20 million people participated.
  • Enviormentalism was absorbed into popular culture, was taught about in schools, and endorsed by almost all politicans.
  • National Enviormental Protection Act- (1970) This act created the Enviormental Protection Agency which enforced antipollution standards on businesses and consumers.
  • Clean Air Act (1970) and Clean Water Act (1972)- Added additional help to the government to fight enviormental degradation.
  • State and local governments followed helping the enviorment, they sometimes had a dramatic impact. However, new problems emerged and sometimes not all old problems were solved.
  • Enviormentalism was a movement, set a public policies, and a national ideal which made it a continual force in American life.
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Sources
AAMSCO
American History-Text Book- 12th Edition-Alan Brinkley
Environmental Movement Info.