Campus Sustainability Office

Historical Roots of Sustainability (post-1960)

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This content focuses on the post-Progressive time period when environmentalism had just started to get rolling. Environmental disasters such as the Cuyahoga River fires, Santa Barbara oil spill, and government use of chemical pesticides like DDT spurred public outrage and collective action for better health and safety. Regulation were put in place to protect the environment for the future. Scientific data and technology to took on new importance. Minority groups such as women and people of color began to have more access to and involvement in public policy. New levels of understanding, ecological as well as moral and spiritual, coalesced to advance the ideas that today we call 'sustainability'. Writings from figures such as Rachel Carson (image below), Paul Ehrlich, Herman Daly and many more influential people found in the following references were critical to this process.

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(CC Image of Rachel Carson courtesy of The Smithsonian Institution on Flickr)

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