Awakening: A Not So Silent Spring
"we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it for our children"
Rachel Carlson's brilliant, ground-breaking book, Silent Spring, and the California coast oil spill in 1969 (still the 3rd largest in US history) spurred Senator Gaylord Nelson into organizing the first Earth Day.
I remember that day clear as a bell. I was a sophomore in HS. I was allowed to ride my bike to school and wear jeans (girls were required to wear skirts or dresses back then). We planted trees, picked up trash on the grounds and the woods surrounding the school and held all of our classes outdoors. Every class centered on the environment. Twenty-two million Americans participated in some way. Now, it is the largest secular celebration in the world.
U.S. Environmental Laws Timeline
1962 Silent Spring by Rachel Carson was published
1963 Clean Air Act (significant upgrade in 1970)
1964 Wilderness Act
1965 Solid Waste Disposal Act, Water Quality Act
1967 Air Quality Act
28 Jan 1969 Santa Barbara, CA oil spill began
1969 National Environmental Policy Act
Wednesday, 22 April 1970 EARTH DAY CELEBRATED
2 Dec 1970 Environmental Protection Agency was created by President Richard Nixon
1970 Clean Air Act
1972 Clean Water Act, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (significantly improved from 1910 law), Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act aka Ocean Dumping Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Noise Control Act (yes, that's pollution!), Federal Water Pollution Control Act
1973 Endangered Species Act
1974 Water Pollution Control Act (major Amendments), Safe Drinking Water Act
1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (solid and hazardous waste)
1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act aka Superfund (mostly in response to the Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY, not that far from my hometown.)
1985 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry established
1987 Water Quality Act
1994 DDT banned
Addendum: Naturalist Sir David Attenborough has stated that Silent Spring was probably the book that had changed the scientific world the most, after the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.