History of the Environmental Movements

  • 1st Billion

  • The Sierra Club

    John Muir founded the Sierra Club, with the reasoning behind it to protect and preserve the natural resources and the forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They defended the Yosemite National Park from laws seeking to reduce its borders.
  • 2nd Billion

  • Founding of the IUCN

    IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) was the first environmental movement with the target goal of protecting nature. It brought many governments together to think of new ideas on how to conserve our communities. This union was a fundamental part in the creation of other environmental conservation conventions.
  • Smog in New York City

    Deadly smog blanketed the city caused by air pollution which killed a few hundred people. Years later, “smog episodes” killed more hundreds of people.
  • Minamata Disaster

    The Minamata disaster was an epidemic disease in Japan that affected thousands of people. This disease occurred due to mercury contamination from chemical pipelines that spilled into the water, affecting marine life and eventually people.
  • 3rd Billion

  • Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring Published

    Silent Spring was about the environmental harm that people cause. This book widened people’s perspectives and affected government policies (banning many of the harmful chemicals/pesticides stated in the book.
  • Limited/Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

    This treaty was signed by the U.S., Great Britain, and the Soviet Union to agree to not test nuclear weapons in the water, the atmosphere, or outer space. They can only be tested in controlled environments.
  • The Club of Rome

    The Club of Rome is a nonprofit organization focused on fighting current environmental problems. This is a group of scientists, economists, and biologists to figure out solutions to problems that prevail locally and globally.
  • Fire on the Cuyahoga River

    The fire on the Cuyahoga River was a fire in Cleveland, Ohio that resulted from pollution of oily wastes and debris. This caused attention to river pollution and the environmental effects/health effects of it.
  • First Earth Day

    Earth Day is an annual holiday celebrated to give awareness to environment preservation. The First Earth Day reminded people of how important it is to protect our environment. It started to give attention to these environmental issues like pollution, deforestation, etc.
  • The Clean Air Act

    The Clean Air Act was a law passed that regulated air pollution to protect the public health. It allocated money for the study of the cleanup of water and air pollution.
  • Gaia Hypothesis

    The Gaia Hypothesis is the idea that all of Earth’s systems and beings are one huge, self-regulating system. There are many criticisms to the hypothesis because some are convinced that the self-regulation that the Gaia Hypothesis presents is set to collapse in the future.
  • Stockholm Conference

    The Stockholm Conference, also known as the “United Nations Conference on the Human Environment,” was the first discussion concerning the environment. This is the first time that the environment was deemed an issue that we needed to solve. Several principles such as the Stockholm Declaration took steps to improve environmental help.

    The World Conservation Union agrees on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora text, which was created to regulate trade over borders and spread information about the endangered status.
  • 4th Billion

  • Whaling (save the whale)

    Save the Whale is a movement that was started to eventually put a ban on whaling, which is hunting whales to use their blubber and other materials for product production.
  • Toxic Substances and Hazardous Waste Management Act

    This is an act that was passed to protect humans and the environment that requires testing on chemicals that could be potentially hazardous.
  • Bhopal

    An intense amount of gas leaked from a main insecticide plant in the Indian city of Bhopal. The death toll was estimated between 15,000 to 20,000 people. These gases caused major health defects for the many who survived the initial leakage.
  • Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior

    The sinking of the French fleet “Rain bow Warrior” was a protest by Greenpeace to stop the French nuclear bomb testing. This was after constant protests from Greenpeace directly on the island where the testing was going on.
  • Chernobyl

    The Chernobyl accident was an accident in Chernobyl, Ukraine, where some faulty machinery went out of control and exploded, leading to a tremendous amount of radiation being released into the atmosphere. This accident led to many safety measures (both on the machinery and the workers) being put into place to prevent something like it from happening again.
  • 5th Billion

  • Montreal Protocol

    The Montreal Protocol was created to regulate the chemicals that depleted the ozone layer. This was ratified by all the UN members (198).
  • Our Common Future

    Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report, was a global report sought to show that everyone must play a part in changing the environment while deeming it a global issue. It was later published by the United Nations.
  • Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

    The Exxon Valdez oil spill was one of the worst oil spills in the history of the U.S. 11 million gallons of oil was spilled into the Gulf of Alaska killing hundreds of thousands of sea life including whales, seabirds, otters, etc.
  • Kyoto Protocol

    The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty signed by more than 150 countries aimed to lower the big greenhouses gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride). It sets limits on emissions, so that the signed countries must create programs to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 6th Billion

  • Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development

    Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development was a global meeting with thousands of people including political leaders, Nonprofit leaders, and national leaders to focus on improving human life and focusing on the growing populations and the demands that comes with it.
  • The documentary film An Inconvenient Truth was released

    The release for An Inconvenient Truth was the thing that brought global warming into politics (where before it had been generally accepted by scientists and ignored by the public). It raised climate change to the public’s awareness and has been used as a lesson in what industrialization is doing to the world.
  • 7th Billion