Environmental movement

ESS 1.1: History of the Environmental Movement

  • World population reaches one billion

  • World population reaches two billion

  • Minamata

    Minamata was a disease discovered in Japan from the release of methyl mercury into the waste- water produced by a chemical factory. Fish and shellfish became contaminated and caused mercury poisoning.
  • World population reaches three billion

  • Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring Published

    In 1962, biologist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. The novel remains one of the most influential books of the environmental movement. Carson documents the harmful effects of pesticides in the food chains.
  • Gaia Hypothesis

    The hypothesis was introduced in the 1970s by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. It offers a look into climate change, energy, health, agriculture, and other important issues and is a new way of understanding life on our planet.
  • Founding of Earth Day

    Earth day was first started on April 22, 1970. It was created to raise awareness and spread the environmental movement.
  • Stockholm Declaration

    The United Nations held the first conference of the human environment in Stockholm, Sweden. They came to an agreement that all nations “design integrative development plans that combine science and technology.” These plans were designed to prevent less pollution in the air, land, and the oceans. The Stockholm declaration was an important factor in the development of environmental rules among 113 nations.
  • Limits to Growth

    The Limits to Growth was written in 1972 by a group of four scientists named Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and William W. Behrens lll. It is a study of patterns of human presence on Earth. It noted that if humans continue to do what we have been doing, the Earth would head toward environmental and economic collapse within a century.
  • World population reaches four billion

  • Whaling (save the whale)

    Save the whales campaign founded in 1977. In 1986 there was a worldwide ban on whaling. The save the whales campaign believes that education is vital to saving whales and the oceans.

    On December 11, 1980, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act was enacted by Congress. This law created a tax on the chemical 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.
  • Founding of IUCN

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature was founded in 1984 and works on species protection, environmental law, conservation, policy, management, education, and communication.
  • Bhopal

    December 3rd, 1984. An accident at a Union Carbide pesticide plant covered the city in a giant cloud of methyl isocyanate gas killing thousands.
  • Chernobyl

    On April 26, 1986 a nuclear accident that occurred at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. This led to the shaping of the environmental agenda as well as environmentalism, specifically social and political transformations.
  • World population reaches five billion

  • Our Common Future

    This report is also known as the Brundtland report and it consists of the principles of sustainable development. These principles state “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
  • Rio Earth Summit

    Rio de Janiero held a convention on biological diversity in 1992. The convention was held to discuss issues on environmental protection and to rethink economic growth. The conference came to an end with the Earth summit and over 105 nations attended the conference
  • Kyoto

    In 1997 the Kyoto Protocol emerged from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and was finalized, to mandate country by country reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It was finally put into force in 2005 and nearly all nations have ratified this treaty.
  • World population reaches six billion

  • Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development

    In 2002, the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development was held to look at social issues. Targets for reducing poverty, increase access to drinking water and sanitation, and other problems causing disease and death in LEDCs.
  • Documentary film An Inconvenient Truth released

    In 2006, the documentary An Inconvenient Truth was released starring former US vice president Al Gore. Following the release, the percentage of Americans attributing Global Warming to human activity rose from 41% to 50%.
  • Copenhagen Accord

    The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference occurred in December 2009 and rose climate change policy to the highest political level. Long-term goals of this conference included limiting the maximum global temperature and establishing new conservation groups.
  • Durban Agreement

    Created a universal legal agreement on climate change to act no late than 2015. As stated by the President of COP17/CMP7 Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said: "What we have achieved in Durban will play a central role in saving tomorrow, today" (UNFCCC).
  • World population reaches seven billion

  • Rio+20

    Summit held in Rio de Janeiro to create a document outlining how to implement sustainable development. Other results were green economy guidelines and strengthening the UN’s environmental department.