The 1960’s and early 70’s produced a vast amount of environmental laws, programs and institutions. There was the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the first Earth Day celebrations, just to name a few.
But what started it all?
Rice University historian and author Douglas Brinkley, in his latest book, answers this question and pays tribute to the many who have helped revitalize the environmental movement. The book is called The Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and The Great Environmental Awakening.
In the audio above, Brinkley tells Houston Matters producer Michael Haggerty that the title refers to the popular 1962 book, Silent Spring, by marine biologist, author, and conservationist Rachel Carson. says. It warned about the harmful effects of pesticides such as DDT on the environment.
Brinkley says it “had an earthquake-like effect on our country.” And it deeply affected the press. John F. Kennedy made Carson one of his policy advisors.
What Brinkley calls the “great environmental awakening” continued into the ’60s and into the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon. It included the celebration of the first Earth Day in 1970, the passage of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and what was once known as conservationism is what we today call environmentalism. turned into something
Brinkley will discuss the book at the Progressive Forum event in Houston on November 10th.
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