Now that we’ve got the same basic understanding of what global warming means, and where the term came from (thanks to yesterday’s blog post), we can explore the roles activists and climate conservationists have played in protecting us from it.
The phrase “global warming” may be fairly new, but the concept of protecting the environment is anything but new, and has been around for centuries! Native Americans have well-established a legacy of conservation, and thanks to the hard-fought preservation of their heritage, modern-day Americans can learn from their good example – check out the following article from The Wildlife Society for a few ideas: https://wildlife.org/a-tribal-model-of-wildlife-stewardship-from-the-wildlife-professional/.
John Muir, while originally from Dunbar, Scotland, emigrated to the United States and “explored the North American continent by foot, walking thousands of miles until he eventually settled in California. There, he fell in love with Yosemite Valley and the Sierra Nevada Mountains” (https://onetreeplanted.org/blogs/stories/earth-day-environmental-heroes), and “In 1890, due in large part to a series of articles he published in Century magazine, U.S. Congress created Yosemite National Park. Muir was also involved in the creation of the Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest, and Grand Canyon National Parks.” Thanks to his efforts in conservation, he founded the Sierra Club which lives on today over a hundred years later, fighting to protect the natural resources and equal access to environmental resources (https://www.sierraclub.org/lands-air-water-wildlife). Ironically, John Muir was also part of the inspiration for Theodore Roosevelt’s conservationist movement. During his presidency, he was able to protect “230 million acres of public lands” and “Much of that land – 150 millions acres – was set aside as national forests” (https://www.nps.gov/thro/learn/historyculture/theodore-roosevelt-and-conservation.htm), among many other national treasures we still enjoy today.
Thanks to these historic leaders, the environmental conservation movement had begun. Even without the science and technology to measure the effects of climate change in the early twentieth century, humans recognized the importance of protecting our natural resources. This movement gave rise to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 which would later become the Clean Water Act of 1972 (https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/history-clean-water-act), the Clean Air Act of of 1963 (https://www.epa.gov/clean-air-act-overview/clean-air-act-text#:~:text=The%20Clean%20Air%20Act%20is,has%20made%20several%20minor%20changes.), and later, in 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson founded the very first Earth Day which is now celebrated all over the world! With April 22nd right round the corner, how will you celebrate?