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SustainabilityA History$
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Jeremy L. Caradonna

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199372409

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199372409.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 September 2021

Eco-Warriors: The Environmental Movement and the Growth of Ecological Wisdom, 1960s–1970s

Eco-Warriors: The Environmental Movement and the Growth of Ecological Wisdom, 1960s–1970s

Chapter 3 (p.89) Eco-Warriors: The Environmental Movement and the Growth of Ecological Wisdom, 1960s–1970s

Jeremy L. Caradonna

Oxford University Press

One of the marks that distinguishes sustainability from classic environmentalism is the former’s cheery optimism. Indeed, reading side by side the 2005 guidebook Green Living—a fairly typical how-to for sustainable living—with, say, Paul Ehrlich’s doleful Population Bomb (1968) offers a case study in contrast. Green Living is constructive and buoyant whereas Population Bomb is frenzied and cynical. Yet it’s striking how much Green Living takes its inspiration not only from Ehrlich but from other titans of mid-century environmentalism—albeit with a noticeable shift in tone. Paul and Anne Ehrlich are cited approvingly in the opening pages of the book. The epigraph comes from the still-very-active David Suzuki. There are also references to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, which, of course, is named after the esteemed Aldo Leopold. But gone is the gloomy tone, replaced instead by a heartening “You can do it!” attitude. This brief observation illustrates how much the modern sustainability movement owes to the critics, intellectuals, and protestors of the 1960s and 1970s who raised awareness about environmental problems, advocated for social justice, and defended the rights of the oppressed. While the three Es of sustainability were rarely paired in the 1960s and 1970s, many of the basic concepts that shaped sustainability were clearly articulated before the 1980s. This chapter should not be taken as a comprehensive look at the environmental movement, about which there is reams more to say. Instead, it will examine in general terms some of the disparate sources that contributed to the holism of sustainability. Particular emphasis will be laid on the key ideas, associations, and scholars who developed the environmental movement and the success that environmentalists had in getting politicians, economists, and the public at large to think in ecological terms—a singular achievement that continues to inform the world of sustainability. It is important to note that the reason that this book jumps from the late nineteenth century to the 1960s is not because the era of the two world wars has nothing to do with the history of sustainability.

Keywords:   American Cyanamid Company, Clean Water Act, DuPont, Green Living, Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, Mayans, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), exchange value, pesticides

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