Sunday, April 18, 2010
The environmental injustice in America didn’t just start in the 1970s, but in the early settling of this country. The movie, Avatar, is a perfect example of how the native’s belief of preserving and honoring the mineral, plant and animal life clashed with their suppressors, who believed in cultivating and using the land for power and procurement of money. Environmentalism is also rooted in the American Philosophical Thought of the 1830s and 1840s by such Transcendentalist as Henry David Thoreau. In his book, Maine Woods, he called for the conservation of and the respect for nature and the federal preservation of virgin forest. Those in power didn’t listen. They pushed for expansion toppling anything, place or person that got in the way. And that brings us to the 1970s.
By then, environmental groups had sprung up fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife. I remember the commercial, “Keep American Beautiful-the Crying Indian.” It carried a powerful message: If people can start pollution, they can also stop it. See the video above.
On April 22, 1970, the Environmental Movement was born when the then U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, organized the first nationwide environment protest. Here’s the paradox: the Environmental Movement led to the establishment of United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Act. And that was a good thing; but it’s sad that we need laws to protect that which should be natural. We now have to pay for water, and I’m concerned that in the future we might have to pay for clean air. Sounds bizarre? But decades ago so did paying for water. The fight for a clean environment continues as one tear has turned into millions of global tears.
What can you do? Find out about going green in Wednesday’s blog.