Environmentalism

Overview and Analysis: Environmental Movement of the 1960s
In the 1960s, dramatic environmental catastrophes, along with the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, greatly impacted the American public’s consciousness. The masses began to think broadly about the natural habitat in which they lived, worked, and played. Activists began to link the destruction of the natural environment to the complex interplay of new technology, industry, and economic power. Environmentalists were pushed into action as a movement based on the cleanup and control of human pollution and waste soon broke out. This marked the beginning of modern environmentalism: it created novel values that had the potential to restructure society and form alternative institutions and lifestyles.
As the degradation of the environment was traced back to humans, concerns regarding human health led to demands for increased activism to make natural environments more available for use and to ward off threats from industrial production. (Silveira, “The American Environmental Movement: Surviving Through Diversity”) Even the president of theU.S. noted the importance of cleaning up and protecting the environment from human pollution. In 1961, U.S. President John. F. Kennedy told the United Nations: "Every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable” (“Environmental History Timeline”). The goals of the environmentalists became more and more attainable as the standard of living rose, creating a widespread demand for reforms from the people to clean up and protect nature that could affect human health, the places people lived, and recreational pursuits such as going to the beach. To attain this, many organizations and groups were created (Silveira).
The organizations and groups that sprang up in the 1960s were created to raise public awareness on the problems of human waste and pollution as well as organize events and fundraisers for the protection and clean up of the environment. Not only were these groups created at a local level in communities and colleges, but in a national level as well. To name a few, nationally renowned organizations include the World Wildlife Fund created in 1961, the Senate Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution created in 1963, and Citizens for Clean Air in New York created in 1964 (“Environmental History Timeline”).
Methods used by these groups to achieve their goals included raising public awareness with sit-ins and events, raising funds for the clean up and protection of the earth, and gaining support for organizations and groups. AtColumbiaUniversity, for example, sit-ins were organized initially to protest the conversion of parkland in a neighboring black community into a university gymnasium. Similarly, the 1969 People’s Park protests atBerkeley, designed to prevent the bulldozing of a spontaneous community garden into a university parking lot, further heightened environmental awareness. Both these protests served to raise public awareness and support of environmental issues inAmerica(Silveira). Because of the efficiency and dedication of not just individuals but thousands, the goals of environmentalists in that decade were achieved. The hard work of these groups caused an increase in the public demand for reforms to protect our environment, and was fulfilled with many acts passed by the government.
There were many acts and services created and passed throughout the 1960s that protected our environment from human pollution. For example, in 1963 Congress passed the Clean Air Act with $95 million set aside for study and cleanup efforts at local, state, and federal levels. Also, Congress created a national wilderness preservation system in 1964, and passed the Water Quality Act, Noise Control Act, and Solid Waste Disposal Act in 1965. The acts and services created in the 1960s to protect nature and wildlife from human pollution show the effectiveness of the organizations and methods used by environmentalists to achieve their goals. (“Environmental History Timeline”)
Today, the momentous effects of the 1960s Environmental Movement still have effect in our society. As human waste and pollution continues, so do the environmentalists efforts to control it. For instance, Earth Day, a day created in 1970 to raise public awareness on the importance of having a pollution free earth, still carries on each year. Certain political parties today stress the importance of having a clean environment to preserve the quality of life. The acts created and the organizations established still have a role in our society. The 1960s movement has changed the human outlook on our importance with the environment, which continues on today. (Silveira)

Cite: "THE AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT: SURVIVING THROUGH DIVERSITY." BC.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/law/lwsch/ journals/bcealr/28_2-3/07_TXT.htm>.
Cite: "Environmental History Timeline." radford.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. http://www.radford.edu/wkovarik/envhist/8sixties.html.
Videos:

  • Rachel Carson was a marine biologist and she realized that the pesticides people were using were dangerous and harming the environment. She wrote the book Silent Spring. The book talked about the use of pesticides. It poisoned food and as a result many birds and fish were killed. She also talked about DDT. It not only affected insects but it was also harmful to humans. This addressed the president to investigate on pesticides being used. The Clean Air Act was passed in 1963 to regulate air pollution. DDT was then outlawed in 1972. Carson’s work made Americans realize that they were damaging the environment. Because of this many people are trying to make a difference. Environmentalists are the main people who are trying to protect the environment.

Cite:The Silent Spring Of Rachel Carson. youtube.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eogwoY-_j2I&feature=related>.Danzer, Gerald A. The Americans: Reconstruction through the 20th Century. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 1999. Print.



  • Earth day was officially made a day on April 22, 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson. Earth day is a day when millions of people help solve environmental problems. They try to solve problems to pollution, toxic waste, and to earth’s few resources. This shows that others should also try to make a difference in the world by recycling and protecting the environment. We should all use earth’s resources wisely and avoid making a lot of pollution that can cause harm to humans and animals.
Cite: Earth Day`. youtube.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2009.<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24_gqlIURMs>.


Photo Montage:

LA.jpg
  • This picture is of the Los Angeles sky line. As you can see, the smoggy atmosphere proves how the degradation of the environment is traced back to humans. People living in this city would certainly have concerns for their health and state of well being as the standards of living rose.
Cite: California cars 99% cleaner than in 1960s, but smog levels still high, study says. Los Angeles Times 16 Nov. 2010: n. pag. Print.

quarantine_beach_615.jpg
  • This photo is of people at a beach, despite the fact that the water is polluted and quarantined. This photo serves to shows us if we do not clean up our waste then recreational actives such as enjoying nature will be threatened. Therefore this revealed to citizens living in the 1960s that organizations for environmental clean up and waste control should be created for the protection of our environment.
Cite: Untold stories of early environmentalists come alive in oral histories. 1973. Los Angeles Times 6 Feb. 1973: n. pag. Print.


090421-02-earth-day-teach-in_big.jpg
  • This photo is of an environmental group of the late 1960s that continued into the 70s. It shows that public awareness to save our environment grew throughout the decade. People’s support for organizations such as this one became increasingly popular and added to the significance of the Environmental Movement
Cite: Modern American History. N.p., 2012. Web. 14 Mar. 2012.http://blsciblogs.baruch.cuny.edu/his1005spring2011/tag/1960s/.






first-earth-day_bell-bottoms-gas-masks.jpg

  • This picture shows juxtaposition of nature and human waste. The symbolism of this photo is that the flower, or nature, is being harmed by the wasteful living of people in our society. This photo would increase public awareness on pollution and serve to galvanize environmentalists into action.
Cite: On Mission To Save the World. 1960. Modern American History: n. pag. N.p., n.Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://blsciblogs.baruch.cuny.edu/his1005spring2011/tag/1960s/>.

Poems/Music And Lyrics/Visual Arts

“Pollution” by Norman Rockwell

widescr_rockwell980215_b.jpg

  • This painting by Norman Rockwell exemplified the severity pollution at this time. No one thought of consequences of the plastic and other non biodegradables being thrown in to our bodies of water. The effect of this piece made people take a second look at how they treated our environment.
Cite: Norman Rockwell Pollution ca. 1960. 1960. spanierman.com. Web. 12 July 2011.<http://www.spanierman.com/Rockwell,-Norman/Pollution/widescr/8577/>.


“Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by Marvin Gaye
Lyrics:
“Oh, mercy mercy me

Oh, things ain't what they used to be
No, no
Where did all the blue sky go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north, east, south, and sea
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain't what they used to be
No, no
Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain't what they used to be
No, no
Radiation in the ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain't what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can you stand?
My sweet Lord
My sweet Lord
My sweet Lord”


  • Marvin Gaye stated blatantly his environmentalist views addressing every concern of the environmentalist party. Expressing how the pollution and destruction we bring on ourselves affect us and our planet. Attempting to bring awareness to the issues occurring during this enviornmental social movement.

Cite: "Gaye Marvin - Mercy Mercy Me Lyrics." stlyrics.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb.
2002. <http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/g/gayemarvin14982/ mercymercyme400425.html>.



Documents:

1.Silent Springs by Rachel Carson

The history of life on earth has been a history of interaction between living things and their surroundings. To a large extent, the physical form and the habits of the earth's vegetation and its animal life have been molded by the environment. Considering the whole span of earthly time, the opposite effect, in which life actually modifies its surroundings, has been relatively slight. Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species—man—acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.

During the past quarter century this power has not only increased to one of disturbing magnitude but it has changed in character. The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the
environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal
materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world—the very nature of its life. Strontium 90, released through nuclear explosions into the air, comes to the earth in rain or drifts down as fallout, lodges in soil, enters into the grass or corn or wheat grown there, and in time takes up its abode in the bones of a human being, there to remain until his death.

Similarly, chemicals sprayed on croplands or forests or gardens lie long in the soil, entering into living organisms, passing from one to another in a chain of poisoning and death. Or they pass mysteriously by underground streams until they emerge and, through the alchemy of air and sunlight, combine into new forms that kill vegetation, sicken cattle, and work unknown harm on those who drink from once pure wells. As Albert Schweitzer has said, "Man can hardly even recognize the devils of his own creation."
It took hundreds of millions of years to produce the life that now inhabits the earth—eons
of time in which that developing and evolving and diversifying life reached a state of adjustment and balance with its surroundings. The environment, rigorously shaping and directing the life it supported, contained elements that were hostile as well as supporting. Certain rocks gave out dangerous radiation, even within the light of the sun, from which all life draws its energy, there were short-wave radiations with power to injure. Given time—time not in years but in millennia— life adjusts, and a balance has been reached. For time is the essential ingredient; but in the modern world there is no time.

  • Rachel Carson writes Silent Springs in 1962, as it describes the harmful effects of pesticides used within the environment. As Carson criticized the chemical companies, she suggested safer alternatives that would be less harmful to the environment. For example, Carson introduced a more safer, cheaper, longer acting, natural solution to pest problems such as introducing a fungus to that causes a fatal disease in order to control the Japanese beetle population. Carson’s Silent Springs helped American’s view their environment differently as they saw Carson as a noble crusader.


Cite: Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring," in Diane Ravitch, ed., The American Reader: Words that Moved a Nation (NewYork: HarperCollins, 1990), 323-325.




2.Unsafe at Any Speed by Ralph Nader

The importance of the stylist’s role in automobile design is frequently obscured by critics
whose principal tools are adjectives. The words are familiar: stylists build “insolent chariots,” they deal with tremendous trifles to place on “Detroit Iron.” Or, in the moralist’s language, the work of the stylists is “decadent, wasteful, and superficial.”
The stylists’ work cannot be dismissed so glibly. For however transitory or trivial their
visible creations may be on the scale of human values, their function has been designated by automobile company top management as the prerequisite for maintaining the annual high volume of automobile sales-no small assignment in an industry that has a volume of at least twenty billion dollars every year.

It is the stylists who are responsible for most of the annual model change which promises
the consumer “new” automobiles. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that this “newness” is almost entirely stylistic in content and that engineering innovation is restricted to a decidedly secondary role in product development.
In the matter of vehicle safety, this restriction has two main effects. First, of the dollar
amount that the manufacturer is investing in a vehicle, whatever is spent for styling cannot be spent for engineering. Thus, the costs of styling divert money that might be devoted to safety. Second, stylistic suggestions often conflict with engineering ideas, and since the industry holds the view that “seeing is selling,” style gets the priority.
Styling’s precedence over engineering safety is well illustrated by this statement in a

General Motors engineering journal: “The choice of latching means and actuating means, or handles, is dictated by styling requirements....Changes in body style will continue to force redesign of door locks and handles.” Another feature of style’s priority over safety shows up in the paint and chrome finishes of the vehicle, which, while they provide a shiny new automobile or the dealer’s floor, also create dangerous glare. Stylists can even be credited with overall concepts that result in a whole new variety of hazard. The hard top convertible and the pillarless models, for example, were clearly the products of General Motors styling staff.

  • Unsafe at Any Speed by Ralph Nader, introduces a new perceptive on the new invention of the automobile. People during the 60’s were introduced to this new invention as they saw it as nothing harmful to the environment. Nader points out in this book that the thousands of automobiles used is harming the environment that is now filled with pollution. This book strongly emphasized the harmful facts about these automobiles as it opened the peoples’ eyes to this problem. Everyone viewed this new invention as an innovative and positive outcome, but Nader brought everyone back to reality as he talked about the harsh reality of this new invention.


Cite: Ralph Nader, "The Stylists: It's the Curve that Counts," Ch. 6 in Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile (New York: Grossman, 1965), 210-23 1.



3. National Environmental Policy Act passed by 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."

  • The National Environmental Policy Act was passed by Congress in 1969, as the policy declared a national policy in which man and his environment lives in harmony. This policy was to help promote efforts to prevent or eliminate damage to the environment. The policy also states that each person should be allowed to enjoy healthful environment and each person should contribute the preservation and enhancement of their environment

Cite: "Environmental History Timeline." www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/envhist/
8sixties.html. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2012. <http://www.radford.edu/ ~wkovarik/envhist/8sixties.html>.

Conclusion:
Due to the up rise of environmental movements in the sixties, today, there are many organizations and events that provide proof of the movement that rose in the sixties. Till this day, Earth Day is celebrated nationwide as there are many big celebrations that celebrate and encourage awareness of many of the environment’s problems that are still occurring to this day. Still to this day there are many large federal law agencies that help protect our environment, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which is in charge of the protection of human health as well as the environment we live in today.

Reference Sheet:

Overview & Analysis
"THE AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT: SURVIVING THROUGH DIVERSITY." BC.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/law/lwsch/ journals/bcealr/28_2-3/07_TXT.htm>.
"Environmental History Timeline." radford.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. http://www.radford.edu/wkovarik/envhist/8sixties.html

Videos
The Silent Spring Of Rachel Carson. youtube.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eogwoY-_j2I&feature=related>.Danzer, Gerald A. The Americans: Reconstruction through the 20th Century. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 1999. Print.
Earth Day`. youtube.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2009.<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24_gqlIURMs>.

Photo Montage
Californiacars 99% cleaner than in 1960s, but smog levels still high, studysays. Los Angeles Times 16 Nov. 2010: n. pag. Print.
Untold stories of early environmentalists come alive in oral histories. 1973. Los Angeles Times 6 Feb. 1973: n. pag. Print.
Modern American History. N.p., 2012. Web. 14 Mar. 2012.http://blsciblogs.baruch.cuny.edu/his1005spring2011/tag/1960s/.
On Mission To Save the World. 1960. Modern American History: n. pag. N.p., n.Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://blsciblogs.baruch.cuny.edu/his1005spring2011/tag/1960s/>.

Poems/lyrics/artwork
Norman Rockwell Pollution ca. 1960. 1960. spanierman.com. Web. 12 July 2011.http://www.spanierman.com/Rockwell,-Norman/Pollution/widescr/8577/
"Gaye Marvin - Mercy Mercy Me Lyrics." stlyrics.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb.
2002. <http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/g/gayemarvin14982/ mercymercyme400425.html>.

Documents
Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring," in Diane Ravitch, ed., The American Reader: Words that Moved a Nation (NewYork: HarperCollins, 1990), 323-325.
Ralph Nader, "The Stylists: It's the Curve that Counts," Ch. 6 in Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile (New York: Grossman, 1965), 210-23 1.
"Environmental History Timeline." www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/envhist/
8sixties.html. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2012. <http://www.radford.edu/ ~wkovarik/envhist/8sixties.html>.

Reference Sheet word doc.