Lecture 2: Environmental History in the United States Environmental Biology
Outline • Importance of Studying Environmental History • Key Time Periods in Environmental History • US Environmental Policy: 1780’s – late 1800’s • Conservation Movement: late 1800’s – early 1900’s • The Dust Bowl and the “New Deal”: 1930’s and 1940’s • The Chemical/Nuclear Revolution: 1950’s • Environmental Movement 1960’s – 1970’s • Why is Spring so Silent? • Environmental Legislation • Earth Day • Current mindset about environmental issues? • Student exercise
Lecture 1 Goals: • To understand the key moments and important figures within environmental history • To distinguish between “conservation” and “environmental” perspectives and to examine how these concepts have influenced US policy • To learn about the Environmental Movement and the resulting legislation • To construct a recent environmental history timeline and to analyze the current environmental political climate
Why start with environmental history? • Environmental US history is an important topic for several reasons: • It clearly mirrors our social paradigms and gives us a perspective on how we have progressed as a society • It provides a foundation for understanding the current environmental situation and for understanding the underpinnings of US environmental policy • It provides insight into the human psyche, and it helps us understand philosophically our connections with the “natural” world • It may help provide insight into future environmental crises and into the human reactions to said crises
Environmental History in Only One Lecture? • Many colleges and universities teach entire courses on environmental history. Some have complete degree programs in environmental history. There are many environmental historians in academia. How can I, then, effectively condense such an important and wide-breadth topic into only one lecture? I can’t, really. However, this lecture will provide a general overview of some of the key events and figures that have influenced our environmental perspectives. What do I expect for you to get from this lecture? • Most historians would balk if all we did is memorize names and dates. Hopefully I will go beyond that and explain the reasoning behind why these events and why these people are so important. With this being said, I still would like for you to know who these people are and the times when important things happened. • I want you to be able to synthesize the events and occurrences and to put them within a US historical context • Lastly I would like for you to evaluate your own environmental experiences within the last couple decades and create a recent environmental timeline for the 1980’s - present
US Environmental History: 1785 – late 1800s • I am starting this lecture with the birth of our Nation. By that I don’t mean to imply that there were not any significant human-environmental interactions prior to. However, in the interest of time I would like to focus on the history of US environmental policy. The majority of information for this part of the lecture is derived from Merchant (2002), The Columbia Guide to American Environmental History, published by Columbia University Press, NY.
1780: Post Revolutionary War http://www.americanpresident.org/history/johnadams/biography/resources/images/TreatyofParis.image.jpg www.vonsworks.com/Wash%20Addresses%20the%20Tr... Review the Continental Congress from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_Congress
US Land Acquisition 1780’s - 1853 • During this time period the US territory greatly expanded from Coast to Coast. • 1803: Louisiana Purchase from France • 1819: Gulf of Mexico including Florida from Spain • 1845: Annexation of Texas from Mexico (and Texas) • 1846: Oregon Treaty from England • 1853: Gadsden Purchase (southern Arizona and New Mexico) from Mexico • All this land, from Sea to Shining Sea, within only three generations (Merchant, 2002)!! • What happened to all this “new” land?
What should the Government do with all the new land? • Sell it to the people! • From 1785 – late 1800’s there was a great change in land ownership. The US Government sold thousands of acres. • There was a great changeover from public land to private. • The American West was “settled”. • The Railroads brought in tons of people, and the land was claimed by homesteaders, logging companies, mining companies, and ranchers
After the Revolutionary War, there was an incentive by the Continental Congress to convert all the land west of the Appalachians into a great “public domain to be parceled out to citizens” (Merchant, 2002). The Continental Congress 1781 - 1789 http://www.americanrevolution.com/ContinentalCongress.jpg John Trumbull's (June 6, 1756 – November 10, 1843) famous painting depicts the signing of the Declaration.
Land Ordinance Act of 1785 • The Confederation of Congress provided for the “vast public domain” to be converted into private property (Merchant, 2002) • Federal Surveyors superimposed a grid consisting of East-West and North-South lines at 1 mile intervals. These lines divided the landscape into townships, which were 6 square miles. Each township was further subdivided into 36 sections. • The primary goal was to raise money to pay off War debt • This laid the foundation for the US Land Policy until the Homestead Act of 1864 (Wikipedia)
1 mi2 = 640 acres Township SOURCE: http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/images/page2_large.gif
1785 – 1800 Conversion of Public Land into Private Land • At first, the price of public land was pretty expensive • In 1785 the cost was $1/acre, but a person had to buy at a minimum one whole section (640 acres). • Only the most wealthy (e.g. Easterners) could afford this price. • Land Act of 1796 actually increased the price to $2/acre and increased the minimum purchase to 5760 acres
Thomas Jefferson to the Rescue • With the election of Thomas Jefferson, a more democratic government ensued. • Harrison Land Act 1804: reduced the minimum land area a person needed to purchase to 120 acres (in Ohio). • Still $2/acre • Later in 1804 Congress decreased the price to $1.64/acre and minimum land area to 160 acres • 1820 = the price dropped again to $1.25/acre and the minimum was reduced to 80 acres http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/Amer_pol_hist/fi/00000051.jpg From Merchant (2002)
Squatters! • What about the not-so-affluent people during this time? • Many people just moved to an area on public land, cleared the land, built houses and fences, farmed, and brought in livestock. All of this occurred without purchasing the land (at first). These people were referred to as “squatters”. Today these people would be shot and arrested (in that order – interjecting humor). But back in the Day, the US Government actually afforded squatters legal protection • Preemption Act of 1841 (a.k.a. “Log Cabin Law”): Legalized squatting • US Citizens that were heads of households, widows, or single men over the age of 21 could own land provided: • They lived on the land for 14 months or longer • They paid $1.25 per acre and purchased at least 160 acres
Further Conversion of Public Land Into Private Land • During the latter half of the Nineteenth Century, the Government desired to sell off much of the remaining unsettled land. • The method for doing this was to make the land available at almost no cost to anyone who wanted it and agreed to settle/develop. • This was accomplished through the Homestead Act of 1862
Homestead Act 1862 • The Homestead Act greatly contributed to the conversion of public land into private land • One quarter of a section of a township (160 acres) of the undeveloped American West could be purchased by any family head or single person over the age of 21 provided: • They live on the land for 5 years for the purpose of “settlement and cultivation” (Merchant, 2002). • They build a house • They paid an entry cost of $10 • Most of the fertile land had already been occupied by the time this Act was initiated • Only the drier, less-fertile areas were available • Most of this land was too arid to develop any significant cultivation. • People didn’t understand the concept of “biomes” and that you can’t plant grassland crops (wheat, corn, rice, barley, etc.) in a semi-arid or arid climate. • 160 acres wasn’t enough to support livestock in the Arid West; more land was needed • The West was getting progressively more dry. Evidence from Hohokam Indian archeology suggests that there was sufficient moisture (with the use of irrigation) to develop large-scale agriculture. It was much wetter then (300 – 900 AD). Since that time the climate has become drier, and there were great droughts in the Great Plains during the mid to late 1800’s (Merchant, 2002). • There were many abuses of the Homestead Act • Private individuals working under the guise of ranching operations would “settle” land only to control resources, such as water, for said ranchers. Range wars ensued (see a million different Western movies). • Similarly, mining companies and logging companies would have a person claim land through the HA 1862 under the pretense of establishing a home/farm. A makeshift house would be built, but it is was usually only a façade. This homestead “claim” was a means through which the mining and logging companies could acquire more land and control the resources (Merchant, 2002).
Mid- to Late- 1800’s Land Conversion • Besides the Homestead Act, there were several other Acts put forth to “settle” the American West. • Again, during this time you see a major change over from public land to private in a frenzied land grab. • Not only where private citizens acquiring land, but also logging companies, mining companies, and ranchers were staking claims to large parcels. • This will set the stage for the “Conservation Movement”, and ultimately the “Environmental Movement” and theses actions will have a significant legacy on modern US Environmental Policy
Other Important Legislation that Encouraged the Development of Land • Mining Act 1872: “All valuable mineral deposits in lands belonging to the US shall be free and open to explore and purchase”, as quoted within Merchant (2002). • Timber Culture Act 1873: anyone who planted 40 acres of trees would be given an additional 160 acres of land • Note: by 1873 most of the arable land had already been occupied. The land mentioned in the TCA 1873 was the arid leftovers. People once again (private and government) either paid no heed to a “biome” concept or just didn’t realize that you can’t grow trees in a semi-arid or arid environment. • Desert Land Act 1877: the US Government would give 640 acres of arid or semi-arid land to anyone who would promise to pay $1.25 per acre and promise to irrigate the land for a minimum of 3 years. • Question: How much water was available for irrigation in the arid/semi-arid regions of the Southwest? Probably not a whole lot. • Timber and Stone Act 1878: this was an attempt to sell the public land that was unfit for agriculture to logging and mining companies or anyone else who wanted it. The Act set a price of $2.50/acre in increments of 160 acre blocks. • Free Timber Act 1878: this Act gave the right for people to cut timber on public lands reserved for mineral use. This timber was to be used in the construction of buildings (homes, etc.) • Railroads: In addition the development of railroads brought in volumes of immigrants from the East
Rampant Development of the American West: mid and late1800’s • During the latter half of the Nineteenth century, a majority of the US was developed. • The West was seen as vast, wild, and limitless. There were no restrictions put forth on its development or exploitation. • Poor land husbandry was the rule and not the exception • The land and the ecosystems were being pressed like never before.
Example of Overexploitation: Buffalo • Take for example the American Buffalo, which were hunted to the brink of extinction. • Before European colonization, buffalo and bison numbered in the millions. By the mid to late 1800’s there were only a few hundred left due to over-hunting (Wikipedia) • The near extermination of the buffalo was due to the importation of non-native livestock, such as cattle and sheep, to clear the land for development, and to remove and demoralize the Native Americans • “Every buffalo dead is an Indian gone” • Colonel Richard Doge 1867 as quoted in: Heads, Hides, and Horns, The Complete Buffalo Book, by Larry Barshess – and presented in Merchant (2002)
Extermination of Buffalo (and Native Americans) Buffalo were slaughtered by the millions in the 1800’s as exemplified by the mound of buffalo skulls, below, in this historic photograph (found on Wikipedia) Source: http://www.gprc.org/tour/tour3.html ; http://www.gprc.org/Graphics/Bisonpile_lg.jpg
Consequences of the mid- late Nineteenth Century Land Policy • Legislation during this time was put forth to settle and to utilize the American West for homesteads, logging, mining, farming, and livestock. • “By the late 1800’s most of the unsettled land had been allocated and people began to press for the conservation of natural resources for efficient use and to join a growing national movement to set aside wilderness…for recreation” (Merchant, 2002). • Much of the land was being overexploited
Conservation Moment of the mid – late 1800’s and early 1900’s • By the end of the Nineteenth Century most of the land and natural resources of the West had been claimed, and the “frontier had come to a close” (Merchant, 2002). • “The perception of abundant unexploited lands teaming with wildlife and fertile soils [turned] into wasted resources and inefficient use” (Merchant, 2002) • Timber companies cut trees without reforestation • Ranchers overgrazed the perennial grasslands • Mining companies also overexploited the land • During this time, several people became aware of the misuse of land. This sparked the “Conservation Movement”
Conservation Movement: Definitions • “Conservation = 1. the act or practice of conserving; protection from loss, waste, etc.; preservation 2. the official care and protection of natural resources, as forests.” (Webster’s New World Dictionary) • Optional Exercise: go to “Google” and search: • Definition: conservation • What are the recurring words?
Conservation Movement: Misc. Definitions • “Between 1850 and 1920, concern for the natural world emerged as a complex and broadly popular political and cultural movement in the United States. Newly urbanized Americans were becomingly increasingly aware of the importance of nature as an economic, aesthetic, and spiritual resource, especially as they became convinced that nature’s resources were imperiled by industrialization. This movement led to unprecedented public and private initiatives to ensure the conservation of natural resources and the preservation of wildlife and of land”. [This definition is from the Wisconsin Historical Society (www.wisconsinhistory.org)] • “The early conservation movement included fisheries and wildlife conservation, water, soil conservation and sustainable forestry. The contemporary conservation movement has broaden from the early movement's emphasis on use of sustainable yield of natual resouces [misspelled on-line] and preservation of wilderness areas to include preservation of biodiversity. The conservation movement is part of the broader and more far-reaching environmental movement.” This definition is from Wikipedia • Again, what are the recurring words in these definitions?
Key Words in the Definition of Conservation • Protection • Natural Resources • Sustainability • Human use • Renewal • Preservation • Management http://www.uku.fi/~dlaakson/Logging.jpg
Conservation Movement Common Threads • The common threads in these definitions lead to the belief that resources should be preserved (for future use). During the Conservation Movement natural resources were to be protected so they wouldn’t be squandered. In just a little bit we’ll see how certain key individuals wanted to push for the preservation of beautiful, scenic areas (e.g. John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt). The consensus was that the land should be preserved for human benefit, whether it means preserving timber for future generations or preserving scenic land for human enjoyment (getting back to “nature”, escaping the urban environment, demonstrating manhood by killing large game, hunting /fishing /hiking, communicating with “nature”, bird-watching, cultural-religious experiences in the wild, etc.). Note that in the “conservation” definition there is no language explaining that “nature” should be preserved for its own sake; that “nature” has a right to exist irrespective of whether it is beneficial to humans or not (this will come later with the Environmental Movement of the later Twentieth Century). • Keep in mind the historical context. Prior, the American West was viewed as limitless. It was a resource that should be utilized. The “Conservation” of such a limitless resource was heretical, anti-economic, anti-American, and may have been just as profound as many modern leftwing organizations are viewed today. In modern times the notion of National Parks, e.g., is commonplace today and no one would really argue against their existence. That may not have been the case back then.
Early Conservationist • Many of the early Conservationists were affluent urbanites from the East that enjoyed hiking, fishing, camping, exploring, and hunting in the Great Outdoors. • These outdoor activities were mostly reserved for those who could afford to take vacations, i.e. the wealthy. William Cronon explains this well in The Trouble with Wilderness; or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature, pg 78, second paragraph (required reading). • More rural people who lived off the land (farmers, lumberjacks, etc.) didn’t have the time or resources for these activities, and their existence and livelihood was often threatened by nature. Wilderness to the rural societies was still something to be feared and certainly not cherished. • Many Early Conservationists were writers and authors that preached the beauty and virtue of the outdoors. This is explained in more detail in Cronon (1996). • Several prominent politicians and US Secretaries also expounded the notion of sustainable resources and the value of preserving the wild, frontier-like American tradition. • Other Early Conservationists were just people that enjoyed being outside • The next few slides contain a short bio of the more important conservationist of the time. When reading each of these biographies, please keep in mind the historical context. The views and opinions expressed by these conservationist do not seem all that profound in the modern era, however back then these ideas were not mainstream. • Please note that the information included on these slides does not represent all the contributions that these individuals made. Certainly whole volumes could be written on each one. But due to the interest of time, I had to shorten the amount of information given. I encourage you to research further (on your own) the historical significance of each individual.
Key People in the Conservation Movement • Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) • Important Work: Walden; Life in the Woods • Harvard graduate, writer • Details the beauty and wonder of the “natural world” • Thoreau lived in a small cabin (self-built) in the Maine woods for two years, living off the land. • The contribution of Thoreau was that his works inspired the notion of the beauty of nature. He also instilled the merits of “simple living amongst nature” • Thoreau wasn’t totally anti-civilization nor was he anti-urban. He is described as saying: He saw the wilderness of Maine as a place to visit to re-create but not to remain. Thoreau's concept of wilderness was a place used by man. For Thoreau "far in the recesses of the wilderness" of Maine was to "travel the logger's path and the Indian trail" rather than the pristine untouched wilderness we often associate with the word wilderness today (Wikipedia). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Thoreau.jpg
George Perkins Marsh (1801 – 1882) • Author, Diplomat, Politician • Important Work: Man and Nature (1864) • This is a classic work in environmental studies, and presents the idea that humans are having a deleterious effect on their environment. The Editorial review from Amazon.com states • “George Perkins Marsh challenged the general belief that human impact on nature was generally benign or negligible and charged that ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean had brought about their own collapse by their abuse of the environment. By deforesting their hillsides and eroding their soils, they had destroyed the natural fertility that sustained their well-being. Marsh offered his compatriots in the United States a stern warning that the young American republic might repeat these errors of the ancient world if it failed to end its own destructive waste of natural resources. Marsh’s ominous warnings inspired conservation and reform. In linking culture with nature, science with history, Man and Nature was the most influential text of its time next to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published just five years earlier. “ • Excerpt from Man and Nature: “In reclaiming and reoccupying lands laid waste by human improvidence or malice. . . The task is to become a co-worker with nature in the reconstruction of the damaged fabric”, quote taken from Cronon (1995), Uncommon Ground; Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, W. W. Norton and Company, NY. Pg 110. • Note use of the terms “damaged fabric”, this would be very progressive and controversial in the latter Nineteenth Century. • Another Excerpt: “Man has too long forgotten that the earth was given to him for usufruct alone, not for consumption, still less for profligate waste.” Quote taken from Merchant (2002). Photo from Wikipedia
Gifford Pinchot (1865 – 1946) • Chief of the United States Forest Service 1905 – 1910 • From Wikipedia: “He is famous for reforming the management and development of forests in the United States and his advocacy of scientific conservation for the planned use and renewal of the nation's forest reserves: "the art of producing from the forest whatever it can yield for the service of man." He coined the term conservation as applied to natural resources. “ • Pinchot is responsible for transferring the US Forest Service from the Department of Interior to the Department of Agriculture. This was done because he believed that forests should be managed as if they were a crop (Merchant, 2002). He also instituted sustainable yields and the reforestation after cutting • Pinchot’s ideas were in contrast to US Congress, which due to lobbying by lumber/mining companies, pushed for the uninterrupted cutting of Western timber. (Wikipedia) • With the election of William Taft to the presidency, Pinchot was fired. http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/PA_Env-er/images/pinchot.jpg
Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919) • 26th President of the US • Governor, Vice-President, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, War Hero, Beloved Politician, Adventure, Explorer, Conservationist, Frontiersman, Nobel Prize winner, and possibly one of the best Americans ever (my personal bias). I should also mention that the famous bear he refused to shoot (because it was injured and that would be unsportsmanlike) was in Mississippi. • Some of Roosevelt’s contributions to the Conservation Movement: • Supporter of Pinchot and Forest and Wild land conservation • Author of The Winning of the West, which inspired active, outdoor recreation • Supporter of John Muir • Supporter of the establishment of National Parks Photo from Wikipedia
Renowned Landscape Architect Designed many urban parks, including Central Park in New York Visited Yosemite Valley Olmstead was greatly inspired by the scenic beauty. His experiences at Yosemite contributed to his legacy of incorporating wilderness into his landscape designs. He believed that nature should be an important component of city life (Merchant, 2002). His landscape designs helped inspire a nostalgia for nature among urbanites. Frederick Law Olmstead (1822 – 1903) Photo from Wikipedia
John Muir (1838 – 1914) • Viewed by many to be the founder of the Conservation Movement • Probably the most noted Conservationists within his era • Accomplishments and Accolades • Founder of the Sierra Club • Protector of the Yosemite Valley • Helped in the creation of Yosemite National Park (and the creation of the concept of National Parks to some degree) • Influential Friend of President Roosevelt • Described by Goldfarb (2000)“ Muir was a vociferous proponent of an ecocentric rather than an ethnocentric philosophical perspective. He challenged the prevailing view of most of the conservationist of his time, who tempered their respect for nature with the multiple-use concept that gave primacy to human needs and appetites. The preservationist movement, supported by Muir, saw the need to set aside wilderness areas where no commercial or industrial activity would be permitted. The first such “primitive areas” were established by an administrative fiat of the U.S. Forest Service in the 1920’s, a decade after Muir’s death, but they were not officially protected by federal law until the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964,” from Notable Selections in Environmental Studies Second Edition, pg. 3 – 4. Required Reading • Environmental activist who attempted to stop the construction of a dam during his time (see Hetch Hetch Valley essay; required reading). Photo from Wikipedia
John Muir (continued) • Muir quote (taken from Wikipedia) • "Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of that unit - the cosmos? The universe would be incomplete without man; but it would also be incomplete without the smallest transmicroscopic creature that dwells beyond our conceitful eyes and knowledge."
National Parks Note: National Parks are an American invention And the US was one of the first Countries to set aside land for preservation Yellowstone (Wikipedia) • Many of the National Parks were established during the Conservation Movement • Yellowstone National Park – 1872 • National Park Act 1916: was proposed to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein”, Quote from Merchant (2002) • Yosemite National Park – 1890 • Sequoia National Park – 1890 • General Grant National Monument -1890 • Mt. Rainer National Park – 1899 • Creator Lake NP – 1902 • Mesa Verde NP – 1906 • Glacier NP – 1910 • Grand Canyon NP - 1919 Can you guess the rock type? Yosemite (Wikipedia) (Yosemite contains world-famous granite outcrops, an intrusive igneous rock – pluton)
Conservation Clubs • Several prominent Outdoor Clubs were borne out of the Conservation Movement. This “Outdoor Movement” as it is sometimes referred to was initiated by the upper class who desired access to wilderness for leisure and recreational purposes (Merchant, 2002). Additionally, many of these clubs were established to preserve areas of great scenic beauty. • Appalachian Mountain Club (1876): http://www.outdoors.org/ • Boone and Crockett Club (1887): http://www.boone-crockett.org/ • Theodore Roosevelt is the founder • Mazamas of Portland, Oregon (1894): http://www.mazamas.org/ • Sierra Club, John Muir founder (1892): http://www.sierraclub.org/ • Merchant (2002) writes: The upper class viewed “wilderness” as a threatened treasure to be “cherished and preserved”. Wilderness represented the “American character”
Summary of the Conservation Movement • Derived from the overexploitation of land during the Nineteenth Century • “Conservation” meant to preserve for future use or to preserve because it was meaningful to humanity • John Muir’s influence laid the foundation for a more “environmental” philosophical view of nature, as opposed to a “conservation” philosophy • Many of our National Parks and conservation clubs sprung out of the Conservation Movement
Skipping Ahead to the 1930’s and 1940’s • The Conservation Movement continued throughout the early Twentieth century. There were several key events though that strengthened the need for creating conservation legislation. • Most notably in the 1930’s was the combination of drought + poor agricultural land management + poor economy. These events acted in tandem and nearly destroyed farming in the Midwest. The infamous “Dust Bowl” prompted a more conservation-minded paradigm shift.
The “Dust Bowl” of the 1930’s www.photolib.noaa.gov/.../big/wea01414.jpg
Dust Bowl • From Abbot (2006) Natural Disasters 5th Edition, McGraw Hill, NY, pg. 307 • “ What happened to cause the drought? Recurrent large-scale meanders in the upper-air flow resulting in descending air. The upper-level high-pressure air was already dry, but as it sank, it became warmer, thus reaching the ground hot, dry, and thirsty. As the winds blew across the ground surface, they sucked up moisture, killing plants and exposing bare soil to erosion. Wind-blown clouds of dust built into towering masses of turbulent air and dust called rollers… When they rolled across an area, the Sun was darkened, and dust invaded every possible opening on a human body and came though every crack in a home. Dust even blew as visible masses across East Coast cities and blanketed ships at sea.”
Dust Bowl • The poor agricultural practices didn’t cause the drought, droughts are common in the Midwest, it just accentuated the drought effect (Abbott, 2006). • Examples of poor agricultural practices • Plowing deep, straight rows without windbreaks • Removing the more drought-resistant native grasslands and replacing them with more water-needy agricultural grasses, such as wheat and corn. • Here again we see a failure to recognize the importance of biomes and the natural climate-vegetation interactions. • The Dust Bowl occurred on the heels of the Great Depression, and it prompted one of the greatest migrations in US history.
“Now the wind grew strong and hard, It worked at the rain crust In the corn fields. Little by little the sky Was darkened by the mixing dust, And the wind felt over the earth, Loosened the dust and carried it away” John Steinbeck, quote presented in Abbott (2006)
Other Conservation-Related Activities of Note During the 1930’s and 1940’s • FDR’s “New Deal”: the Federal Government promoted conservation that benefited workers and was intended to “repair” the country from the Great Depression (Merchant, 2002). • “Wise management became the hallmark of the New Deal era” (Merchant, 2002). Photo from Wikipedia
The Civilian Conservation Corp. • A “work relief” program created by FDR and borne out of the “New Deal” was established to “combat” unemployment. • The young men in the CCC were used for manual labor: • Build trails and buildings within national parks and state parks • Build canals, levees, dams • Wildfire suppression Photograph from Wikipedia
Important Conservation Legislation Passed During the 1930’s • Taylor Grazing Act 1934: limited grazing on the Great Plains to preserve the soil and to prevent erosion (Merchant, 2002) • Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act 1935: “allowed the government to pay farmers to reduce production so as to "conserve soil", prevent erosion, and accomplish other minor goals. (Brinkley, 1999 "p. 879")” quote from Wikepedia, Brinkley reference = Brinkley, Alan (1999). American History: A Survey, Tenth Edition. McGraw-Hill College. • Pittman-Robertson, Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act 1937: provided funds to States for the “management and restoration of wildlife” (http://ipl.unm.edu/cwl/fedbook/pract.html) • Money was generated from the sale of hunting/fishing licenses.
The Chemical and Nuclear Revolution, Post WWII • Once again I am skipping ahead a decade or so. This doesn’t imply that there were not other important Acts or important environmental/conservationist issues. But in the interest of time, I need to get to the Environmental Movement of the 1960’s • During the late 1940’s and 1950’s there was an explosion (pun intended) of new chemical products and advances in nuclear technologies. • Regarding the Chemicals, advances were made in developing • Pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides • Petroleum products • Plastics • Shampoos, toy dinosaurs, rubber, vaccines, you name it! • Chemical manufacturing plants sprung up across the Nation • As an example (but later in time), read A Civil Action by John Harr. • Also as an example, Hooker Chemical company dumps waste from such chemical/military processing plants in an area near Niagara, NY, which eventually becomes one of the most horrific environmental disasters – the infamous “Love Canal”
1950’s – early 1960’s Nuclear Development • In addition to the chemical revolution, there were significant advances with nuclear technologies Photo from BBC Needless to say, many of these advances raised much concern! Did anyone have to do nuclear bomb evacuation drills as a student?