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Environmental Timeline


									Dangerous myths emerged
 in the vacuum of history.
            • That one book -- Rachel Carson's
          Silent Spring -- started all the uproar;
            • That environmentalism is just an
            hysterical reaction to science and
          • That environmentalism is a passing
            fad with no serious ideas to offer.
Ancient civilizations
• The world's oldest major religion, Hinduism.,
  begins with Vedic scriptures called Aranyakas
  (forest books} because they were written by sages
  living in the forest.

• Taoism and Confucianism explain and help people
  follow the patterns of nature.

• Egyptian, Sumarian, Babylonian and other
  civilizations have extensive and intricate links
  between nature and the divine.
Pre-History and Early
• 60,000 years before present -- Earliest
 probable evidence of fire used deliberately
 to clear forests in the Kalambo Falls site in

• 2700 BC -- Some of the first laws
 protecting the forests.
Pre-History and Early
• Classical Greece
• 500 BC - forward -- Greek coastal cities become
    landlocked after deforestation, which causes soil
    erosion. The siltation fills in the bays and mouths of

•       •• Greek philosopher Plato (427 – 347 BC) compared
    hills and mountains of Greece to the bones of a wasted
    body: "All the richer and softer parts have fallen away
    and the mere skelton of the land remains."
Pre-History and Early
• Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BC),
  considered the father of medicine, notes the
  effect of food, of occupation, and especially of
  climate in causing disease.

• 200 BC – Greek physician Galen observes
  copper miners and notes the danger of acid
  mists. Galen, Hippocrites and other physicians
  take individual medicine to new levels of
Pre-History and Early
• Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BC),
    considered the father of medicine, notes the
    effect of food, of occupation, and especially of
    climate in causing disease.
•    200 BC – Greek physician Galen observes
    copper miners and notes the danger of acid
    mists. Galen, Hippocrites and other physicians
    take individual medicine to new levels of
Ancient civilizations; continued

• Greek philosophers such as Aristotle see
 the “imitation of nature” as the key to
 understanding life.

• Prophets of Judaism, Buddhism,
 Christianity and Islam also renew their link
 to the divine by retreating into nature.
Ancient Rome

• Pollution is typically found in pre-industrial cities where
  people burn wood and work at crafts and industry. "The
  smoke, the wealth, the noise of Rome..." held no charms
  for the Roman poet Horace and many of his
  contemporaries. As residents of what had become the
  largest city in the world, ancient Romans were well
  aware of the problem of air pollution. They called it
  gravioris caeli (heavy heaven) or infamis aer (infamous
  air). Odors and runoff from garbage, sewage and
  industries such as smelting or tanning also fouled the air
  and water.
Ancient Rome
• the Romans are also remembered for setting a
  new standard for public health. Public physicians
  are appointed to attend the poor, and hospitals
  are built throughout the empire. The city of
  Rome has aquaducts bringing clean water to
  gymnasiums and public baths. Many areas of
  the city have sewage or use reservoirs for
  sending freshets of waters to sweep streets
  clean. A similar level of public health would not
  return to Europe until the mid 18th century or
Ancient Rome
• 80 A.D. • The Roman Senate passes a law to
 protect water stored during dry periods so it can
 be released for street and sewer cleaning.

• 100 AD - 400 AD – Decline of Roman Empire
 may have been partly due to lead poisoning,
 according to modern historian and toxicologist
 Jerome Nriagu.
Ancient Rome
• 535 AD -- Legal code (Institutes) of Roman
    emperor Justinian issued. In the section on the
    Law of Things, the first entry is:

•     "By the law of nature these things are
    common to mankind---the air, running water, the
    sea, and consequently the shores of the sea."
      1200 - 1750

• 1300s -- Forest Code introduced in France
 aimed at regulating wood production for
 the Navy.

• 1306 -- Edward I forbids coal burning in
 London when Parliament is in session.
 Like many attempts to regulate coal
 burning, it has little effect.
1347 -- 1350s
• Bubonic plague decimates Europe,
 creating the first attempts to enforce public
 health and quarantine laws. People had no
 explanation for the Black Death other than
 rumor, superstition and vague theories
 about miasmas and air pollution.
• 1366 -- City of Paris forces butchers to
 dispose of animal wastes outside the
 city; similar laws would be disputed in
 Philadelphia and New York nearly 400
 years later.

• 1388 -- Parliament passes an act
 forbidding the throwing of filth and
 garbage into ditches, rivers and waters.
 City of Cambridge also passes the first
 urban sanitary laws in England.
Benjamin Franklin
• 1706 -- Benjamin Franklin born January 17 in
  Boston, Mass. Franklin's concern for sanitation
  and pure drinking water was a part of his lifelong
  concern for the improvement of Philadelphia in
  "small matters." But Franklin also saw a larger
  question -- one of "public rights" as opposed to
  private rights -- in many of these controversies.
                    John James Audubon
• 1785 -- April 26 -- John James Audubon born
    in Les Cayes Haiti. In 1826 the first edition of
    Birds of America, an ongoing collection of
    color engravings, was published in Scotland.
•   He returned to America in 1839 to continue
    collecting and painting. He died in 1851.
•   The Audubon Society, was founded in 1905
    in his honor by George Bird Grinell.
• 1789 -- Benjamin Franklin leaves money in
 a widely publicized codicil to his will to
 build fresh water pipeline to Philadelphia
 due to the link between bad water and
 disease. Within a few years, one quarter of
 the population of the town dies in a yellow
 fever epidemic.
• 1803 -- Louisiana Purchase finalized
 April 30. France sold 828,000 square
 miles stretching from the mouth of the
 Mississippi River to Idaho.

• 1804 -- May 14 -- Lewis and Clark
 expedition begins the journey up the
 Missouri River to explore the
 geography, flora and fauna of the
 interior of North America.
Louisiana Purchase
    Industrial Revolution:                     1830 -
• Living conditions in        • Smog episodes begin killing
                                residents of large cities like
    urban areas horrify         London.
    reform minded             • Demands for conservation of
    commissions                 wilderness areas accelerate
•   Water pollution carried     with the felling of an
                                enormous redwood, called
    disease, but no one         the "Mother of the Forest" in
    knew exactly why until      1851. The outrage over the
    the 1880s.                  act leads to calls for a
                                national park system.
          Industrial Revolution:    1830 - 1890

1832 -- Arkansas Hot Springs established as a national
reservation, setting a precedent for Yellowstone and
eventually, a national park system.

1835 -- Ralph Waldo Emerson writes the essay Nature,
beginning an American tradition of Transendentalism
continued by Thoreau, Fuller, Walt Whitman and others.
1838 -- April 21, John Muir born in Dunbar, Scotland.
1845 -- Johnny Appleseed dies. The legendary but real
man planted apple trees across Ohio and Indiana for
nearly 50 years.
            Industrial Revolution:     1830 - 1890

1849 -- U.S. Department of Interior established.

1852 -- "Mother of the Forest' -- a giant sequoia tree 300
feet high, 92 feet in circumference and about 2,500
years old -- is cut down for display in carnival sideshows.
The tree was in Calaveras Grove, part of what will
become Yosemite National Park. Public opinion is
aroused by the act. Horace Greeley, editor of the New
York Tribune, called it "vandalism" and "villainous
         Industrial Revolution:     1830 - 1890

1854 -- Walden by Henry David Thoreau is published.

1855 -- First comprehensive city sewer plan in U.S. in
Chicago. By 1905, all U.S. towns with population over
4,000 have city sewers.

1861 -- April 12 -- Civil War in the US creates
enormous environmental problems.

 1862 -- US Dept. of Agriculture established. President
 Abraham Lincoln calls it "the people's department"
 since 90 percent of Americans at this time are farmers.
            Industrial Revolution:       1830 - 1890

1866 -- The term Ecology is coined (in German by
Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (1834-1919)
Haeckel was philosophically an enthusiastic

1872 -- President Ulysses Grant signs Yellowstone
National Park bill.
1872 -- April 10 -- First Arbor Day initiated by J. Sterling
Morton of Nebraska City. Arbor Day is celebrated each
year on the last Friday in April.
Industrial Revolution:        1830 - 1890
1875 -- President Ulysses Grant vetoes a
bill protecting buffalo and other wildlife.
1879 -- Division of Forestry established in
US, later to become US Forest Service.
1881 -- Norway tracks first signs of acid
rain on its western coast
1885 -- U.S. Biological Survey created,
partly out of concern over the near
extermination of the buffalo and the
passenger pigeon.
           Industrial Revolution:
               1830 - 1890

1886 -- First Audubon Society formed by
George Bird Grinnell.

1887 -- Aldo Leopold born Jan. 11 in
Burlington, Iowa.
1889 -- American writer and naturalist John
Muir begins the campaign to save Yosemite
from exploitation.
1890 - 1920
The Progressive Era
 • 1890 -- Oct. 1 -- Yosemite National Park and
     General Grant national parks are authorized
     by Congress. Sequoia National Park also
     established Sept. 25.
 •   1892 -- June 4 -- Sierra Club founded by
     John Muir, Robert Underwood Johnson and
     William Colby "to do something for the
     wilderness and make the mountains glad.”
 •   1894 -- Dec. 24 -- Swedish chemist Svante
     August Arrhenius begins to wonder what
     increases of carbon dioxide in the
     atmosphere from fossil fuels will do to the
            1890 - 1920
        The Progressive Era
• 1900 -- Wild buffalo population drops to fewer
    than 40 animals from an estimated 30 million
    a century beforehand. Most are killed in the
    years just after the Civil War, when the US
    Army hopes to remove the buffalo in order to
    move Indians onto reservations.
•   1901 -- Our National Parks is written by John
    Muir. The book is reprinted a dozen times
    and helps establish Muir's reputation.
            1890 - 1920
        The Progressive Era
• 1905 -- National Audubon Society organized
    by George Bird Grinell to promote wildlife
    conservation. The society is named in honor
    of wildlife painter John James Audubon (1785
    - 1850).
•   1906 -- June 11 -- Yosemite Valley becomes
    Yosemite National Park after 42 years as a
    state park.
•   1906 -- June 29 -- Grand Canon Game
    Preserve established by Congress.
         1890 - 1920
     The Progressive Era
• 1907 --May 25 -- Rachel Carson born.
 Biologist and author of Silent Spring,
 Carson became a leading figure in the
 environmental movement before her
 death in 1964.
              1890 - 1920
          The Progressive Era
• 1908 -- Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius argues that the
  greenhouse effect from coal and petroleum use is warming
  the globe. According to his calculations, doubling C02
  would lead to average temperature increase of 5 to 6
  degrees C. Rather than being alarmed, Arrhenius is
  pleased that people in the future would "live under a
  warmer sky and a less harsh environment than we were
  granted." In his book World in the Making, he says that with
  increased CO2 "we may hope to enjoy ages with more
  equable and better climates, especially as regards the
  colder regions of the earth, ages when the Earth will bring
  forth much more abundant crops than at present for the
  benefit of rapidly propagating mankind."
            1890 - 1920
        The Progressive Era
• 1910, June 11 -- Jacques Cousteau born.
 The French oceanographer, inventor,
 explorer and environmental activist helped
 people around the world understand that a
 threat to the oceans was a threat to all life on

• 1914, Dec. 24 -- John Muir dies.
            1890 - 1920
        The Progressive Era
• 1916 -- National Park Service created.
 According to the Environmental News
 Network, there are now 77.5 million acres of
 land preserved in the Park system.
    1920 - 1940
• 1934 -- April -- Dust Bowl storms begin in the
•   1935 -- Wilderness Society co-founded by Aldo
    Leopold and Arthur Carhardt.
•   1937 -- The term "greenhouse effect" is coined.
    Describes the action of short wave solar energy
    absorbed at the earths surface being transformed
    into heat while long wave is released back into
    space. The heat is absorbed by water vapor, CO2
    and other gasses acting as an insulating blanket
    or a pane of glass in a greenhouse.
    Greenhouse Effect
• A schematic representation of the exchanges of energy
  between outer space, the Earth's atmosphere, and the Earth
  surface. The ability of the atmosphere to capture and recycle
  energy emitted by the Earth surface is the defining
  characteristic of the greenhouse effect.
• 1940 -- US Congress passes Bald Eagle
    Preservation Act.
•   1941-- Rachel Carson writes Under the Sea-
    Wind, a naturalist's picture of ocean life. Carson
    would become famous in 1962 for her book
    Silent Spring, which warned against overuse of
• 1947 -- Dec. 6 -- Everglades National Park
•   1948 -- Aldo Leopold publishes A Sand County
•   1953 -- Jacques Cousteau's first book, The
    Silent World sells more than 5 million copies. His
    film by the same name wins an Academy Award
    for best documentary in 1957, the first of three
    such awards that his films would earn.
•   1955 -- Congress passes Air Pollution Control
    Act, a forerunner of the Clean Air Act of 1963
    and subsequent legislation.
                1960 - 1970
• 1961 -- World Wildlife Fund founded.
• 1962 -- Reacion to Silent Spring by Rachel
  Carson is immediate and nationwide. By 1970
  DDT is banned, but other more toxic chemicals
  are not. Silent Spring is often seen as a
  turning point in environmental history
  because it opened a much stronger national
  dialogue about the relationship between
  people and nature.
        Rachel Louise Carson
             Born: May 27, 1907
         in Springdale, Pennsylvania
             Died: April 14, 1964
          in Silver Spring, Maryland

Silent Spring took Carson four
 years to complete. It meticulously
 described how DDT entered the
 food chain and accumulated in the
 fatty tissues of animals, including
 human beings, and caused cancer
 and genetic damage.
              1960 - 1970
• 1964 --Sept. 3-- Congress creates
 National Wilderness Preservation System
 "to secure for the American people of
 present and future generations the
 benefits of an enduring resource of
 wilderness." The system initially contained
 9.1 million acres of wild lands, but by 2001
 there were about 90 million acres of
 wilderness preserved in the United States.
 1969 -- National Environmental
 Policy Act passed in Congress.
• " . . . it is the continuing policy of the Federal
  Government, in cooperation with State and local
  governments, and other concerned public and
  private organizations, to use all practicable
  means and measures, including financial and
  technical assistance, in a manner calculated to
  foster and promote the general welfare, to
  create and maintain conditions under which man
  and nature can exist in productive harmony, and
  fulfill the social, economic, and other
  requirements of present and future generations
  of Americans." NEPA Declaration of National
                    1970 - 1980
• 1970 -- Jan. 1 -- National Environmental Policy Act
    signed creating the Council on Environmental Quality
    (CEQ) to give the President advice on environmental
    issues and review Environmental Impact Statements.
    These statements are now required of all federal
    agencies planning projects with major environmental
•   1970 -- April 22 -- The first nationwide Earth Day
    celebration is organized by Sen. Gaylord Nelson and
    Dennis Hayes, creates a national political presence for
    environmental concerns. Millions of Americans
    demonstrate for air and water cleanup and preservation
    of nature.
•   1970 -- Clean Air Act is passed.
1970 -- December 2 -- Environmental
Protection Agency signed into law.(EPA)

• 1970 -- Dec. 29 -- Occupational Health
 and Safety Administration (OSHA) bill
 signed into law. The agency is up within
 the Department of Labor. Responsibilities
 include setting standards for employee
 exposure to hazardous substances.
• 1972 -- Feb 22, EPA announces all gasoline stations required to
  carry "nonleaded" gasoline. But EPA delays setting standards until
  1973, then is sued by Ethyl Corp.
• 1972 Congress passes:
•   * Federal Water Pollution Control Act (over President
  Nixon's veto)
•   * Coastal Zone Management Act
•   * Ocean Dumping Act.
•   * Marine Mammal Protection Act
• 1973 -- February -- Arab oil embargo panics
    U.S. and European consumers; prices
    quadruple. The energy shock leads to national
    soul-searching about energy priorities.
    Conservatives favor nuclear and coal sources;
    liberals explore alternatives. President Nixon
    insists that US can be energy independent by
•   1973 -- US Congress approves Alaska Oil
•   1973 -- Dec. 28 -- Endangered Species Act
    passed by US Congress.
• 1976 -- Congress passes

•  * Resource Conservation and Recovery
 Act (RCRA) to regulate hazardous waste
 and garbage
• * Federal Land Policy Management Act
• * Whale Conservation and Protective
 Study Act
• 1978 -- Lois Gibbs and her neighbors form the
  Love Canal Homeowners Association after
  finding that they were living on a major toxic
  waste dump in Niagara Falls, New York.
  According to her 1990 Goldman Award citation,
  Gibbs wondered if the neighborhood children's
  unusual health problems were connected to their
  exposure to leaking chemical waste owned by
  the Hooker Chemicals and Plastics Corp. which
  had used Love Canal as a toxic dump site in the
  1940s and 1950s.

• 1979 -- March 28 -- Three Mile Island
 nuclear power plant loses coolant and
 partially melts down. This is a telling blow
 for the nuclear power industry, already
 under fire for safety problems in other
 plants, construction cost overruns and lack
 of planning for radioactive waste disposal.
• 1982 -- October 28 -- UN World Charter for Nature passes by a vote
    of 111 in favor to 1 against (United States). The Charter says:
•     1. Nature shall be respected and its essential processes shall not
    be impaired.
•     2. The genetic viability on the earth shall not be compromised; the
    population levels of all life forms, wild and domesticated, must be at
    least sufficient for their survival, and to this end necessary habitats
    shall be safeguarded
•     3. All areas of the earth, both land and sea, shall be subject to
    these principles of conservation; special protection shall be given to
    unique areas, to representative samples of all the different types of
    ecosystems and to the habitats of rare or endangered species.
•     4. Ecosystems and organisms, as well as the land, marine and
    atmospheric resources that are utilized by man, shall be managed to
    achieve and maintain optimum sustainable productivity, but not in
    such a way as to endanger the integrity of those other ecosystems
    or species with which they coexist.
• 1988 -- June 23 -- NASA scientist James Hanson and
    others warn Congress about possible consequences
    from global warming -- rising sea levels, drought and
    increased storm severity. Meanwhile, the World
    Meterological Organization and UN Environmental
    Program establish the Intergovernmental Panel on
    Climate Change (IPCC). At the World Conference on the
    Changing Atmosphere in Toronto, Canada, a resolution
    calls for global CO2 emissions reductions of 20% by
    2005.. A United Nations resolution is approved
    characterizing climate as a "common concern of
•   1988 - NASA reports ozone layer eroding much faster
    than predicted. Meanwhile, DuPont -- the largest CFC
    producer -- announces an end to CFC production, and
    stustitute of safer chemicals.
• United Nations report on climate change
 warns that global temperature rise might
 be as much as 2 degrees F in 35 years,
 recommends reducing CO2 emissions

• 1990 -- April 20 -- Twentieth Anniversary
 of Earth Day -- 140 nations celebrate.
Kyoto Protocol

• 1997, Dec 11 -- Kyoto Protocol adopted by
 US and 121 other nations, but not ratified
 by U.S. Congress. American industry
 predicts "disaster" if CO2 reductions are
 enforced, but environmentalists are
 dissatisfied with weak goals of the treaty.

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