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The Scientific History Behind the Environmental Movement

The Scientific History Behind the Environmental Movement

A few years ago, if you mentioned caring for the environment, most people wouldn’t have listened. But today that kind of talk has led to a green movement. One with a mission to make the world a cleaner, more sustainable place to live.

People are demanding green innovation in everything they do. They want their commute to release fewer emissions, and their homes to be filled with more efficient technology. But where did it all start? Follow this timeline to learn more about many of the scientific events and key moments that led up to the green revolution.


Literature Shows the Earliest Movements


Probably the most influential and highly publicized thoughts that affected environmental awareness before the turn of the 20th century came in the form of literary works. One such work was Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, an 1854 novel that recorded Thoreau’s time spent away from modern city life, in a cabin on Walden Pond. He shared what it meant to connect with your inner self and how it’s much easier to do away from others.


There was also George Perkins’ 1864 novel Marsh’s Man and Nature, which documented the direct effects of human action on the environment. It was integral in beginning the modern conservation movement that helps to protect the environment today.


The writings of influential authors such as John Ruskin, Octavia Hill, John Muir, and Edward Carpenter all discuss the importance of reducing man’s effect on the environment as well. It came about following the Industrial Revolution when the streets were covered in filth and the air was swimming in smoke. Once the damages to the environment were proven scientifically and brought to the attention of the government, changes were made to encourage conservation efforts rather than ignore them.


Conservation Groups and National Parks Were Formed


One of the most direct results of the writings of 20th century conservationists are the committees and national parks that formed shortly after these writings were released. For example, the National Audubon Society was formed in an effort to save birds from lady hatters, and the Sierra Club was formed by John Muir with the purpose of preserving Yosemite National Park.


Later Scientific Involvement


Though acts of conservation cropped up here and there in the early 1900s, the most significant eco-friendly motions didn’t begin until the 1960s. Laws were formed to help conserve the environment, which spurred on the importance of scientific and technological advancements in order to make it happen.


For example, Congress passed the 1963 Clean Air Act, which limited the amount of exhaust industrial establishments could send into the air. This called for inventions and scientific research in order to reduce the amount of exhaust being pumped into urban air without cutting down on efficiency for businesses. Other legislation has been enacted as well, and the innovation continues to keep up with it.


Today’s Innovation


From more efficient showerheads to smart home automation, today’s scientific discoveries and technological innovations make it possible to enjoy a cleaner environment than ever before, and the industry is continuing to bloom. One inventor is even looking into building a tower that will ingest smog and replace it with clean, fresh air. As science and technology continue to advance, the environmental movement surges forward, fueled by the abilities that technology brings.

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