The Environmental Movement was established in order to protect the society’s natural resources and emphasize the need for cleanliness and sanctification of the environment, the earth, and for the betterment of the quality of how people live. The movement came about after the nuclear messes World War II left in which people became exposed to. In 1962, the idea of an environmental movement sprang from a dialogue by Rachel Carson called Silent Spring. In this dialogue, Carson discussed and made it known to people about the health-harming and deadly substances in DDT, a pesticide that people were using for farming and cultivation. “Silent Spring conveyed the ecological message that humans were endangering their natural environment, and needed to find some way of protecting themselves from the hazards of industrial society” (Environmental Movement, 2003).
The Environmental Movement had no leader rather, through Carson’s initiative of speaking up about the environmental issues by her dialogue, it impacted many organizations to form and increase in participants, and the government to fix these environmental issues during the 1960s as the Congress established laws such as the Clean Air Acts, Water Quality Acts, Pesticide Control Acts, and many more to emphasize and take action to control pollution. As environmental organizations continued to grow, people began to protest for the protection and safety of the earth such as on April 22, 1970, which was the creation of Earth Day. “Students and teachers at over 1,500 colleges and universities and at over 10,000 schools held teach-ins on the environment” (Protests in the 1960s, n.d.). In order to fully emphasize and center the government and public’s awareness towards environmental problems, Earth Day was initiated. This protest eventually led the government to issue the National Environment Policy Act and the Environmental Protection Agency for higher environmental regulations decided by federal organizations (NEPA) and managing federal organizations on other environmental problems such as solid waste and pesticides (EPA).
The movement was able to achieve its goal as after the issuing of EPA, the air and water became cleaner and safer for people to use/be in the presence of, since 1988 42% of deadly chemicals that were in the air decreased, 70% of waterways were clean and safe, and individuals in organizations grew to about twenty million participants in 2000. Ultimately, the government submitted to protestors by issuing laws and acts which was able to increase the well-living of people as appreciating and actually making the environment cleaner during that time. Earth Day is considered a legacy that the movement influenced as environmental awareness and activities are encouraged and performed in schools, work places, and by environmental organizations. (http://www.encyclopedia.com/earth-and-environment/ecology-and-environmentalism/environmental-studies/environmental-movement)
I believe the Environmental Movement was effective during the 1970s and early 2000s, but in today’s generation and society there are still many environmental problems seen despite the many organizations and programs that continually advocate and emphasize the need for environmental safety and cleanliness. Seeing our society today, I believe the Environmental Movement is just a start in letting people truly see how the earth needs to be taken care of. For example, although a criminal act, littering is majorly seen in New York as all sorts of garbage can be spotted in many places; this just presents how careless people are and how many disregard the threatening issues of the environment and the earth. New York is a city where many visitors and tourists come and with the increase of people, garbage and waste may also increase. Despite the many recycle bins in the city, people still unfortunately litter. This makes it harder for sanitation workers to fully complete their jobs and it ultimately hurts our environment in that such wastes may contain toxic materials and trash that causes pollution and harm to humans and animals. Many public facilities as well, such as subway stations and public restrooms are very unclean and very rot. I don’t tend to hear a lot of news about people trying to help and perform methods of fixing the environmental problems we live in. There may be many organizations working behind the scenes for our environmental issues, but because the news doesn’t really present such reports, a lot of people may not have the awareness about our environment and may tend to then overlook the harsh and unclean environmental society we are living in.
My thoughts on social movements and collective resistance is that they are great forms of outer expression of individuals’ thoughts and demands on political, cultural, economic, and societal issues. Having freedom of speech is a great, legal privilege we have that people in other countries may be penalized for. Through social movements and collective resistance, we are able to convey the importance and truly take action for issues us citizens look towards, while others and/or the government may disregard. Possessing the right and ability to express and empower ourselves and other individuals through our voicing opinions presents just how much and how far humans can actually make a change in our society, no matter the size of that change.