Before electric cars, curbside recycling, before energy-efficient light bulbs and wind farms there was a handful of pioneering “greenies” who wrote articles and books or worked to organize protests, demonstrations, and sit-ins for environmental issues as varied as DDT use, nuclear bombs, overpopulation, and pollution.
These efforts sparked a groundswell of awareness and political and social activism which led to the first Earth Day in 1970 and new research, initiatives, and numerous government bills which have changed the way Americans think and act as stewards of the land upon which they live.
A PBS/American Experience film called Earth Days documents the early days of the environmental movement and features interviews with activists and influencers such as biologist/Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich, Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, Apollo Nine astronaut Rusty Schweickart, and Silent Spring author Rachel Carson.
In an unprecedented move, PBS will offer a “social screening” of this film through Facebook at 8 p.m. EST on April 11, eight days ahead of the film being broadcast on PBS American Experience on April 19 PBS 9 EST/8 Central.
I was still a kid during the 60’s and 70’s protests but, as I wrote in Two is Enough, I recall being urged to eat my veggies because there where starving people in Africa. Later, in my twenties, I would get very angry when people threw litter out of car windows and was very pleased to see that littering fines were being enforced by cops patrolling the highways in Canada.
I was recently contacted by a man who informed me of the Earth Days film and told me he had made a pledge not to have children and had the vasectomy to back it up. I admitted I was not motivated primarily by environmental concerns to remain childfree. However, I am motivated by environmental concerns to recycle, drive less, and conserve food and water.
Were you motivated by environmental concerns not to have children? If not, how has the environmental movement influenced your behavior?