Earth day

Environmental Timeline: From the Agricultural Revolution to Today

  • Agricultural Revolution (roughly 10.000 years ago)

    Agricultural Revolution (roughly 10.000 years ago)
    Around 8,000 B.C, humans began to abandon the hunter gatherer way of life in favor of a pastoral system. This is also known at the Neolithic Revolution. This is not to scale on the timeline because the website does not accept 8000 B.C as an acceuptable date. Putting this tab closer to the others also makes this timeline easier to read.
  • Industrial Revolution

    Industrial Revolution
    During the 18th Century, Industrial developments in Europe produced a social and economic revolution that brought about the factory system and many new technologies. These new technologies were mainly powered by coal and the late 18th and early 19th century saw the greatest use of fossil fuels (mainly coal) in human history thus far.
  • John Muir (1838 - 1914) born

    John Muir (1838 - 1914) born
    John Muir is seen by many as America's greatest naturalist. He was well known as an explorer of California's Sierra Nevada mountains as well as the glaciers of Alaska. His words and actions inspired Theodore Roosevelt to create many of his conservation projects. This has earned John Muir the title of "Father of America's National Parks". Sources:
  • Walden - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Walden - Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous transcendentalist author, moved to a cabin on a small lake in New England to pen this book. In it, he advocates removing oneself to a quiet life in nature. This book has inspired nature lovers, hippies, and deep thinkers for almost two centuries. Sources:
  • Homestead Act

  • Yellowstone National Park founded

    Located in Wyoming and parts of Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone was the first national park.
  • American Forestry Association founded

  • Sequoia National Park founded

  • Yosemite National Park founded

  • Sierra Club founded

    The Sierra Club describes itself as "the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States". The group was founded in San Francisco in1892 by John Muir with the mission to "do something for wildness and make the mountains glad". Sources:
  • Lacey Act

    This pieace of legislation protects plants and animals against trafficking and sale that may harm their existence. It is more or less and underscore for state laws but is very important in that it creates seperate offenses for violated laws in place to protect wildlife. Sources:
  • Period: to

    Golden Age of Conservation

    Theodore Roosevelt
  • First National Wildlife Refuge Established

    First National Wildlife Refuge Established
    The National Wildlife Refuge is a distinction afforded certain areas of the country in the interest of protecting clean air, clean water, and rare wildlife. Sources:
  • U.S Forest Service founded

    U.S Forest Service founded
  • Audubon Society founded

  • Gifford Pinchot

    Gifford Pinchot
    Gifford Pinchot, born in 1865, became the first chief forester of the Forest Service in 1905.
  • Aldo Leopold

  • American Antiquities Act

    Landmark legislation that offered government protection for areas of the country containing historic or prehistoric artifacts. It gave the government the power to declare areas protected. Sources:
  • U.S National Park Service founded

  • Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) founded

    Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) founded
    part of the New Deal
  • Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act

    This bill required all duck hunters to carry with them a signed stamp. This increased revenue for the government, as well as disccouraged the overhunting of ducks. Sources:
  • Taylor Grazing Act

    The Taylor Grazing Act was signed into law by president Roosevelt. It's intention was to prevent the continued abuse of grazing lands and soil deprivation. This bill resulted in the formation of grazing districts across valuable land in the U.S. Sources:
  • Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

    Bureaus from the Department of the Interior were combined to form what was, at the time, the principal wildlife and fisheries research agency.
  • Silent Spring Published

    Silent Spring Published
    This book by Rachel Carson was first published as a series of installments in New Yorker magazine in June 1962. In Septemeber it was published as a full book and the outcry it caused resulted in a lot of environmental reforms. These reforms included the banning of DDT, a well known pesticide. Sources:
    Barnes and Noble summary of the book
  • Wilderness Act

    This law was enacted in 1964 to create nearly 110 million acres of protected wilderness in states across the nation. Sources:
  • Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

    This legislation put governmental protections on many rivers across the country, ensuring they would be free-flowing long into the future. Source:
  • Cuyahoga River Catches Fire

    Cuyahoga River Catches Fire
    This event has gone down in history ecause of a picture of the burning river that appeared in a Time magazine story one month later. The Cuyahoga river had burned on many occasions before, and the picture was actually from 1952. But, in 1969, the time was right for the nation to take notice and a strong reaction against pollution resulted from the news coverage of the event. Sources:
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    Signed into Law the first day of 1970, NEPA brought a new day in environmental policy. NEPA established a national policy and national goals for environmental protection. After this law was enacted it was much easier for government agencies to create environmental protection laws. Sources:
  • First Earth Day

  • Clean Air Act

    This legislation committed government resources and created regulations to protect against the formation of smog and the deterioration of air quality int the U.S. Sources:
  • EPA established

  • Endangered Species Act

    The most powerful federal law for the protection of imperiled species. This bill has resulted in the savior of many species of wildlife from extinction. Sources:

    This bill was passed to protect against use of pesticides and regulate the sale, distribution, and application of pesticides. Sources:
  • OPEC and Oil Embarge

    This league of oil producing nations suffered from an embargo on the U.S from it's Arab member in 1973 and again in 1979. Sources:
  • Roland and Molina Annoucement

    Two California chemists announced in June 1974 that CFCs being released into the atmosphere were depleting the ozone layer.
  • RCRA

    The primary goal of this legislation was to protect human health and the environment from hazardous waste desposal. Sources:
  • Clean Water Act

    Legislation enacted to prevent pollution was revised and improved in 1977. Sources:
  • Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act

    The primary federal law that regulates the environmental effects of coal mining. Sources:
  • Love Canal, Niagara Falls, New York

    A neighborhood built on a 19th century canal full of toxic chemicals was evacuated in 1978 after the chemicals began leaking into basements. Children and pets were burned and the chemicals were sited as the cause for many birth defects and miscarriages. Sources:
  • Three Mile Island

    This Nuclear accident in 1979 resulted from a melted core in one of the reactors on an island near Harrisburg, PA. Sources:
  • Alaskan Island Act

    This legislation designated much of the public land in Alaska as protected wildlife preserves. Sources:
  • CERCLA (Superfund)

    This comprehensive environmental legislation created a tax on chemical and petroleum industries. Sources:
  • Bhopal Disaster

    On December 3, 1984 a gas leak at a pesticide factory in Bhopal, India spread a cloud of poisonous gas that covered more than 30 square miles. This is often designated as the world's worst industrial disaster. Sources:
  • Chernobyl Meltdown

    A russian nuclear power plant located in Chernobyl, Ukraine, experienced a meltdown in 1986. Many died in the immediate after effects of the meltdown but in years since there has been no major evidence of increased health problems in Ukraine and Belarus. Sources:
  • Montral Protocol

    This international protocol was intended to reduce the production and consumption of substances such as CFCs which deplete the earth's fragile ozone layer. Sources:
  • Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

    The Oil Tanker 'Exxon Valdez' struck a reef in Prince William Sound and spilled more than 11 million gallons of crude oil into the water. This was the worst oil spill in U.S history. The fishing industry in Prince William Sound, as well as millions of shorebirds were the greatest victims of this spill. Sources:
  • Energy Policy Act

    This legislation was a reform to the earlier National Energy Conservation Policy Act and established energy management goals spanning across all sectors of American life. Sources:
  • Desert Protection Act

    The California Desert Protection Act of 1994 established two National Parks and a National Preserve to protect the natural beauty and environmental health of California's desert landscape, Sources:
  • Period: to

    Kyoto Protocol

  • World Population reaches 6 Billion

  • Air Quality/Electric Utilities Bill “Clean Smokestacks Act”

  • BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico

    BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico
  • Japanese Tsunami and Subsequent Nuclear Reactor Meltdown