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The Environmental Movement of the 1960's & 1970's
Transcript of The Environmental Movement of the 1960's & 1970's
The rise of Environmentalism
In the 1960s and 1970s Americans became concerned over the environment in several ways.
People of the time believed that they could bring about change and in many ways they did.
Oil spills, lake fires, and other environmental disasters are what pushed environmentalist to continue and increase the preservation of America’s wilderness and natural landscapes
The End of
The environmental movement in the U.S. is usually iconized by:
Groovy peace signs
white middle-class college students,
free love and acid and sunshine,
The Grateful Dead
-There was talk of nature and love and revolution.
-It smelled like grass and youth.
-Many adults didn't understand it, and as a result, a vast generational gap emerged.
1969 Oil Spill
January of 1969, an oil well off the coast of Santa Barbara, California erupted and spilled 200,000 gallons of crude oil covering 35 miles of beach with tar(1969 Oil Spill).
Cuyahoga River Fire
June of 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire.
Described as the river that “oozes rather than flows” and in which a person “does not drown but decays.”
The flames, fueled by oil and chemicals in the river, topped five stories(Cuyahoga River Fire, 2016)
Earth from Space
This was all in 1969, the year that humans saw footage of Earth from space for the first time, on Christmas Eve, 1968, thanks to the Apollo program(The Independent, 2009).
Calling it “Earth rise”, later becoming the iconic image of the environmental movement.(American Experience, 2016)
Suddenly, the Earth seemed very small, smaller than ever before.
On April 22, 1970, twenty million people across the country celebrated Earth Day with teach-ins and protests.
The event “achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders”(The History of Earth Day,2016).
“The sheer size of Earth Day was enough to convince politicians to pay attention, making the fact of the demonstration more important than the specifics of what actually happened”(Woodhouse, Keith Mako,2014).
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1970 and was charged with the task of protecting human health and the environment.
Which helped aid Congress in enacting into law the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
The 1970s also saw the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Greenpeace, the Worldwatch Institute, and the Land Institute.15
Today's environmental movement is different than that of 40 years ago.
The environmental movement has evolved significantly in the last five decades.
Today, many of the rallying points of the environmental movement have become ingrained into American society.
Air and water quality standards are regulated for the public good, endangered and threatened species are protected, and chemicals and products go through a rigorous testing process to determine potential health and environmental threats.
There is still an active environmental movement in the United States; it has built on the activism of previous decades.
Today the environmental movement in America can be divided into three levels- local, national, and international.
Local movements often include protection and preservation of communal environmental spaces like state parks.
Local movements can also rally around locally unwanted land uses such as the building of housing developments or the construction of chemical plants because of environmental and health concerns.
On the national level, there are many prominent environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that lobby for national environmental legislation.
These issues include new legislation and promoting updates of laws like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Internationally, NGOs and the American government also play an important role in international discussions on the environment. These include transnational issues like climate change and ozone degradation.
The multifaceted environmental activism of present day is clearly rooted in the activism of the 1960s and 1970s
Environmentalism evolved to become a multifaceted movement in the United States.
In the United States today, environmentalism is not a singular movement.
Environmentalism intersects local, state and federal politics.
It impacts business practices, art and the media, education and health in the United States.
There is still a great deal of environmental activism, but in the past five decades environmental concerns have become more ingrained in the consciousness of the American population.
Independent Digital News and Media. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
"1969 Oil Spill - Summary Articles and Images." 1969 Oil Spill -
Summary Articles and Images.
Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
"Cuyahoga River Fire - Ohio History Central."
Cuyahoga River Fire - Ohio History Central
. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
"American Experience: TV's Most-watched History Series." PBS. PBS. Web. 14 Apr. 2016
Woodhouse, Keith Mako. "AFTER EARTH DAY: THE MODERN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT."
Reviews in American History
42.3 (2014): 556-63.
.Web. 14 Apr. 2016.
"The History of Earth Day | Earth Day Network."
Earth Day Network.
Web. 14 Apr. 2016.
Peter Dykstra, “History of environmental movement full of twists, turns”
Cable News Network.2008 Web. 14 Apr. 2016.