Environmental history learning from the past
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Environmental History: Learning from the Past. Environmental History of the US 4 Eras. The environmental history of the US can be divided into 4 eras: Tribal Frontier Early conservation Environmental. Environmental History of the US Tribal Era. Tribal Era- Native Americans

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Environmental History: Learning from the Past

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Environmental History: Learning from the Past


Environmental History of the US4 Eras

  • The environmental history of the US can be divided into 4 eras:

    • Tribal

    • Frontier

    • Early conservation

    • Environmental


Environmental History of the USTribal Era

  • Tribal Era-

    • Native Americans

    • 10,000 years before European settlement

    • Slash and burn/shifting cultivation

    • Small population

    • Low environmental impact


Environmental History of the USFrontier Era

  • Frontier Era-

    • Early 1600’s—European settlement

    • Frontier environmental worldview—vast and inexhaustible resources

    • Tribes and land conquered

    • Publicprivate land

    • Government declared frontier officially closed in 1890


Environmental History of the USEarly Conservation Era1832-1870

  • Early Conservation Era-

    • Alarm at resource depletion

    • Urged part of unspoiled wilderness be protected as legacy to future generations

    • Thoreau (Life in the Woods) and other writers addressed these issues but not taken seriously

    • Active role of government increases

    • Environmental change within democracies involves voicing opinions through elected officials, legislation, budgeting, and lobbying by special interest groups.


Environmental History of the USEarly Conservation Era1870-1930

  • Actions ↑ role of government

    and private citizens in

    resource conservation

  • 1891-Forest Reserve Act established federal government as responsible for protecting public lands

  • 1892-John Muir founded Sierra Club and led preservationist movement

  • 1890-Yosemite National Park


Environmental History of the USEarly Conservation Era1870-1930 cont….

  • Theodore Roosevelt 1901-1908

    • Established wildlife reserves and tripled size of national reserve

    • President given power to designate public land as federal wildlife reserves

    • 1905-US Forest Service

    • 1906-Antiquities Act President can protect areas on federal lands as national monuments (Grand Canyon)

    • “Golden Age of Conservation”


Environmental History of the USEarly Conservation Era1870-1930 cont….

  • 1916-National Park Service Act creates National Park System


Environmental History of the USEarly Conservation Era1930-1960

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR)

    • 1933-Civil Conservation Corp (CCC)

    • 2 million people employed

    • Restore degraded environment, built dams, etc.

  • 1940’s and 50’s had little change


  • Environmental History of the USEnvironmental Era1960’s

    • Environmental Era-

      • Citizens began modern environmental movement

      • 1962-Rachel Carson published Silent Spring about pesticide effects

      • 1963-Clean Air Act

      • 1964 Wilderness Act protecting tracts of land in the Wilderness System

      • 1968-Garrett Hardin

      • 1969-Spaceship Earth worldview


    Environmental History of the USEnvironmental Era1970’s

    • Environmental decade

    • 1970-1st Earth Day

    • Nixon

      • 1970-EPA established

      • 1973-Endagered Species Act

      • 1978-Bureau of Land Management started to manage public lands through Federal Land Policy and Management Act


    Environmental History of the USEnvironmental Era1970’s cont…..

    • Jimmy Carter

      • 1977-Department of Energy (DOE)

        to reduce dependence on foreign oil

      • 1977-Clean Water Act

      • 1980-Superfund created in response to Love Canal to clean up abandoned hazardous waste

      • Tripled land in National Wilderness system and doubled land in the National Park System


    Environmental History of the USEnvironmental Era1980’s

    • Anti-environmental movement formed

      to weaken laws of 60’s and 70’s

    • Ronald Reagan

      • Increased private energy, mineral

        development and timber cutting

      • Funding for environmental resources cut


    Environmental History of the USEnvironmental Era1990-2004 cont….

    • George Bush Sr.

      • Weakened protections on almost as much public lands as Teddy Roosevelt protected

      • Increase fossil fuel use

      • Relaxation on air and water quality standards

      • 1992 attended the United Nations Conference, Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to discuss environmental issues


    Environmental History of the USEnvironmental Era1990-2004

    • Clinton protected more public lands as national monuments than any other Pres.

    • 1997-Kyoto Japan 161 nations

      met to negotiate a treaty to decrease emissions and slow climate change


    Environmental History of the USEnvironmental Era1990-2004

    • George Bush Jr

      • Just like dad

      • Withdrew US totally from Kyoto treaty

    • We’ll see what’s next!

    • Frontline’s Hot Politics


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