Enviromental science picture

Environmental Timeline

  • 100,000 BCE

    Agriculture Revolution

    The significant change in agriculture that occurs when there are discoveries, inventions, or new technologies that change production.
  • Industrial Revolution

    Industrial Revolution
    The total ​of the changes in the economic and social organization that began about 1760 in England and later in other countries, by the replacement of hand tools with power-driven machines, as the power loom and the steam engine, and by the concentration of industry in large establishments.
  • John Muir

    As early as 1876, he urged the federal government to adopt a forest conservation policy through articles published in popular periodicals. In 1892 he founded the Sierra Club. He served as its first president, a position he held until his death in 1914. He was largely responsible for the establishment of Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau

    Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • Homestead Act

    Was a special act of the Congress that made public lands in the West available to settlers without payment, usually in lots of 160 acres, to be used as farms.
  • Yellowstone National Park

    Yellowstone National Park
    ​Yellowstone National Park has rich human and ecological stories that continue to unfold. People have spent time in the Yellowstone region for more than 11,000 years. Many tribes and bands used the park as their home, hunting grounds, and transportation routes prior to and after European American arrival. Yellowstone was established as the world's first national park.
  • American Forests Association

    A group of forward-thinking citizens met in Chicago with the goal “to protect the existing forests of the country from unnecessary waste.” Led by physician and horticulturist​ John Aston Warder, who was among the first to propose planting trees on the Great Plains, the American Forestry Association was founded.
  • Yosemite plus Sequoia National Park

    Yosemite plus Sequoia National Park
    Environmentalist John Muir and his colleagues campaigned for the congressional action, which was signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison and paved the way for generations of hikers, campers, and nature lovers. On October 1 of the following year, Congress set aside over 1,500 square miles of land for what would become Yosemite National Park, America’s third national park.
  • Sierra Club

    The organization's stated mission is to "help educate, inspire, and empower humanity to preserve the natural and human environment." The Sierra Club Foundation ​a public charity based in San Francisco, California. It provides financial support to the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations. The Sierra Club Foundation funds a range of environmental projects. The organization was founded by David Brower.
  • Lacy Act

    A United States law that bans trafficking in illegal wildlife. The Act was amended to include plants and plant products such as timber and paper. This landmark legislation is the world's first ban on trade in illegally sourced wood products.
  • Golden Age of Conservation

    Golden Age of Conservation
    In North Dakota Badlands, where many of his ​concerns first gave rise to his later environmental efforts. Roosevelt is remembered with a national park that bears his name and honors the memory of this great conservationist. Theodore Roosevelt first came to the Badlands in Sept.​ 1883.​ Roosevelt sought a chance to hunt the big game of North America before they disappeared. His writings ​included numerous hunting trips and successful kills, they included the​ loss of species and habitat.
  • First National Wildlife Refuge

    First National Wildlife Refuge
    The National Wildlife Refuge Service is the world's largest collection of protected areas dedicated to wildlife preservation, more than 150 million acres of strategically located wildlife habitat protecting thousands of species. There are wildlife refuges in all 50 states and U.S. territories. President Theodore Roosevelt created the first U.S. national wildlife refuge ​when he set aside Pelican Island as a sanctuary and breeding ground for native birds.
  • US Forest Service

    US Forest Service
    The Forest Service was established by an act of Congress in 1905, during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, at the height of the Progressive Movement. The founding of the Forest Service actually has its roots in the last quarter of the 19th century. The national forests ​began with the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, which allowed the president to establish forest reserves from timber-covered public domain land.
  • Aldo Leopold

    Aldo Leopold
    Environmentalist Aldo Leopold served as director of the Audubon Society in the mid-1930s. He also founded the Wilderness Society. Leopold was influential in the development of modern environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness conservation. His ethics of nature and wildlife preservation had a profound impact on the environmental movement, with his​ holistic ethics regarding land. He emphasized biodiversity and ecology and was a founder of the science of wildlife management
  • Gifford Pinchot

    Gifford Pinchot
    Gifford Pinchot is generally regarded as the "father" of American conservation because of his great and unrelenting concern for the protection of the American forests. He was the primary founder of the Society of American Foresters.
  • Audubon Society

    Audubon Society
    Protecting waterbird populations has been part of Audubon’s mission even before the official establishment of the National Audubon Society. The National Audubon Society was founded, with the protection of gulls, terns, egrets, herons, and other waterbirds high on its conservation priority list.
  • Antiquities Act

    Antiquities Act
    ​The Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents to designate national monuments. Congress also has the power to declare national monuments and has done so 40 times. Congress has also redesignated 32 national monuments as national parks. That includes Grand Canyon National Park. Currently, there are several bills in Congress to designate special places as national monuments.
  • US National Park Service

    US National Park Service
    An industrialist named Stephen Mather began to establish a distinct National Park Service dedicated to the preservation ideal. Mather garnered support from titans of industry, schoolchildren, newspapers, and the National Geographic Society. Sacrifices were made as the system grew to today’s 392 national parks, monuments, battlefields, seashores, recreation areas, and other areas. Many native peoples were displaced and when eastern parks ​were created, so were settlements of U.S.
  • US National Park Service

  • Civilian Conservation Corps

    Civilian Conservation Corps
    America was in the grip of the Great Depression when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated in March of 1933. More than twenty-five percent of the population was unemployed, hungry and without hope. The New Deal programs instituted bold changes in the federal government that energized the economy and created an equilibrium that helped to bolster the needs of citizens.
  • Taylor Grazing Act

    Taylor Grazing Act
    The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 was intended to stop injury to the public grazing lands [excluding Alaska] by preventing overgrazing and soil deterioration; to provide for their orderly use, improvement, and development and to stabilize the livestock industry dependent upon the public rang​e. This Act was pre-empted by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act

    Migratory Bird Treaty Act
    The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations. The migratory bird species protected by the Act.​
  • US Fish and Wild Life Servce

    US Fish and Wild Life Servce
    The origin goes back to an act of the Congress that established the position of U.S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, whose are to protect the nation's supply of fishes. In 1903, Congress created a Bureau of Fisheries. A branch reorganization in 1940 making the Department of the Interior, merge with Bureau of Biological Survey, creating the Fish and Wildlife Service. Their mission is to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats.​
  • Silent Sprig by Rachel Carson

    Silent Sprig by Rachel Carson
    Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading wrong information and that officials were accepting industry claims without questioning. Carson turned her attention to environmental problems that she believed were caused by synthetic pesticides. Carson was met with angry chemical companies, but made a reversal in national pesticide policy, led to a nationwide ban on DDT for agricultural uses, and inspired an environmental movement that led the creation of ​US Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Wilderness Act

    Wilderness Act
    The 1964 Wilderness Act, written by The Wilderness Society's Howard Zahniser created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness areas from coast to coast. They recognized wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”​
  • Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

    Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
    The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 to preserve certain rivers with​ natural and cultural values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The Act is known for safeguarding the special character of these rivers, while also recognizing the potential for their appropriate use and development. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in goals for river protection.
  • Cyahoga River Fire

    Cyahoga River Fire
    An oil slick on the Cuyahoga River - polluted from decades of industrial waste - caught fire in June 1969 near the Republic Steel mill, causing about $100,000 worth of damage to two railroad bridges. Initially,​ the fire drew little attention, either locally or nationally. The fire was determined to have reached heights of over five stories and lasted between twenty and thirty minutes.
  • National Environmental Policy Act

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was one of the first laws ever written that establishes the broad national outline for protecting our environment. NEPA's basic policy is to assure that all branches of government give proper consideration to the environment prior to undertaking any major federal action that significantly affects the environment. Requirements are when airports, buildings, military complexes, highways, parkland purchases, and other federal activities are proposed.
  • First Earth Day

    First Earth Day
    The idea for a national day to focus on the environment gave Gaylord Nelson an idea after witnessing the massive oil spill in Santa Barbar​a. Inspired, he realized that if he could persuade the public's thoughts about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Nelson announced the idea to the national media, and​ helping was Denis Hayes. Hayes built a national staff ​to promote events across the land. April 22, was selected as the date.
  • Clean Air Act

    Clean Air Act
    The Clean Air Act (CAA) is the comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources. Among other things, this law authorizes EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards to protect public health and public welfare and to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants. One of the goals of the Act was to set and achieve NAAQS in every state by 1975 in order to address the public health and welfare risks posed by certain widespread air pollutants.​
  • Environmental Protection Agency

    President Richard Nixon created the EPA to fix national guidelines and to monitor and enforce them. Functions of three federal departments—of the Interior, of Agriculture, and of Health, Education, and Welfare—and of other federal bodies were transferred to the new agency. The EPA was initially charged with the administration of the Clean Air Act​, enacted to abate air pollution primarily from industries and motor vehicles; the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act and the Clean Water Act.

    The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act provides for federal regulation of pesticide distribution, sale, and use. All pesticides distributed or sold in the United States must be registered or licensed​ by EPA. Before EPA may register a pesticide under FIFRA, the applicant must show, among other things, that using the pesticide according to specifications will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.'
  • Endangered Species Act

    Endangered Species Act
    The purpose of the ESA is to protect and recover endangered species and the ecosystems​ which they depend on. It's observed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service.​ FWS has responsibility for terrestrial and freshwater organisms ​and ​NMFS responsibility is​ mainly marine wildlife. Under​ ESA, species may be listed as either endangered or threatened. All species of plants and animals are eligible for listing as endangered or threatened.
  • OPEC and Oil Embargo

    Arab members of the OPEC imposed a bargain against the U.S. that if they didn't decision to re-supply the Israeli military and​ gain leverage in the post-war peace negotiations. That they would ban petroleum exports to nations and introduce cuts in oil production. OPEC members also extended the embargo to other countries​ as the Netherlands, Portugal, and South Africa. ​​After years of negotiations between oil-producing nations and oil companies had already agreed on decades-old pricing system.
  • Rowland and Molina

    They warned the CFC's had the potential to deplete the ozone layer and soon after many scientists​ issued their warnings.
  • RCRA

    The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act gives EPA the authority to control hazardous waste from the cradle-to-grave. This includes the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA also set forth a framework for the management of non-hazardous solid wastes. The Federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments are ​amendments to RCRA that focused on waste minimization and phasing out land disposal of hazardous waste as well as corrective action for releases.
  • Clean Water Act

    Clean Water Act
    The Clean Water Act establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. This law sets standards for clean water and tries to eliminate pollutions in the water.​
  • Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act

    Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
    This Act establishes a program for the regulation of surface mining activities and reclamation of coal-mined lands, under the administration of the Office of Surface Mining. The law sets forth minimum requirements for all coal surface mining on Federal and State lands, including explorations and the surface effects of underground mining. Mine operators are required to minimize disturbances and impact on fish, wildlife, and related environmental values. ​
  • Love Canal, NY

    Love Canal, NY
    Love Canal was originally meant to be a dream community. That vision belonged to the man for whom​ was named William Love. Love felt that by digging a short canal between the upper and lower Niagara Rivers, power could be generated cheaply to fuel the industry and homes of his would-be model city. That did not happen since Tesla's discovery of how to economically transmit electricity over great distances means of an alternating current.
  • Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident

    Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident
    This was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history, although its small radioactive release had no detectable health effects on plant workers or the public. Its aftermath brought some changes involving emergency response planning, reactor operator, human factors engineering, radiation protection, and etc. A combination of equipment malfunctions, design-related problems and worker errors led to TMI-2's partial meltdown and a small release of radioactivity.​
  • Bhopal Island

    Bhopal Island
    An accident at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal released at least 30 tons of highly toxic gasses. The pesticide plant was surrounded by poor towns, leading to more than 600,000 people being exposed to the deadly gas. The gasses stayed low, causing victims throats and eyes to burn, and many deaths. Toxic material remains, and 30 years later, many of those who were exposed to the gas have given birth to physically and mentally disabled children. The total number of deaths were 2,259.

    This law created a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries and provided broad federal authority to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. The CERCLA provides guidelines and procedures that need to releases​ hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants.
  • Chernobyl

    The disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine was the product of a flawed Soviet reactor design coupled with serious mistakes made by the plant operators. The resulting steam explosion and fires released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere​. Two Chernobyl plant workers died on the night of the accident, and a further 28 people died within a few weeks as a result of acute radiation poisoning.
  • Montreal Protocol

    The international treaty is gradually eliminating the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances to limit their damage to the earth’s ozone layer. Because of measures were taken under the Montreal Protocol, emissions of ODS are falling and the ozone layer is expected to be fully healed around the middle of the 21st centur​y.
  • Exxon Valdez

    Exxon Valdez
    The tanker Exxon Valdez sunk on Bligh Reef in Alaska, rupturing its hull and spilling nearly 11 million gallons of crude oil into a remote and biologically productive body of water. It was the largest single oil spill in U.S. coastal waters. In the weeks and months that followed, the oil spread over a wide area in Alaska. This resulting ended in an unprecedented response and cleanup.
  • Energy Policy Act

    The Energy Policy Act (EPA) addresses energy production in the United States, including:
    1. energy efficiency
    2. renewable energy
    3. oil and gas
    4. coal
    5. Tribal energy;
    6.nuclear matters and security
    7. vehicles and motor fuels, including ethanol
    8. hydrogen
    9.​ electricity
    10. energy tax incentives
    11. hydro power and geothermal energy
    12. climate change technology.
  • Desert Protection Act

    Desert Protection Act
    The Act establishes the Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve in the California desert. Federally owned desert lands of southern California constitute a public wildland resources and inestimable value for current and future generations; these desert wildlands have unique scenic, historical, archeological, environmental, ecological, wildlife, cultural, scientific, educational and recreational values.​
  • Kyoto Protocol

    The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets. Recognizing that developed countries are responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a ​burden on developed nations under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities."
  • World Population Hits 6 billion

    World Population Hits 6 billion
    The day of 6 billion came just before the year 2000, providing ​comparisons to past populations. In only 40 years, the world population had doubled. In 100 years, it had quadrupled. In only 12 years, it had increased by one billion
  • IPCC

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific and intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations, set up at the request of member governments, dedicated to the task of providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change and its political and economic impacts.​ The IPCC produces reports that support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , which is the main international treaty on climate change.
  • Gulf Oil Spill

    Gulf Oil Spill
    The Gulf oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 people, cameras revealed the BP pipe was leaking oil and gas on the ocean floor about 42 miles off Louisiana. ​An estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf. Immediately after the explosion, workers from BP and Transocean and many government agencies tried to control the spread of the oil to beaches and other coastal ecosystems.