What made Soylent Green culturally viable in America during this time period?

Shift in global concern -With the fear of nuclear holocaust “black boxed”, people began looking at other, more insidious, human changes to the environment (Prof. Buell’s Book)

Politics and Activism

-October 3 1965- Immigration Act of 1965

-April 22, 1970- First U.S.-wide Earth Day

-October 3, 1970- founding of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

-December 2, 1970- founding of the EPA

-December 31, 1970- Clean Air Act

-1970- founding of Natural Resources Defense Council and of Friends of the Everglades

-1972- Congress passes the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act, and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act

-June 1972- United Nations established the U.N. Environment Programme

Diffusion of environmental issues via literature– Murray Bookchin’s Our Synthetic Environment and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (both published in 1962); Barry Commoner’s The Closing Circle: Man, Nature, and Technology (1971)

-Bookchin’s text covered a wide range of environmental topics: contamination of the environment through pesticide and herbicide use, the damage done to soil and plants by chemical fertilizers, pollution, etc. However, it did not reach as wide an audience as Carson’s work.

-Carson also wished to warn society about the long-term effects of pesticide misuse-The way in which she published the work facilitated the spread of its ideas

-Commoner’s text presented his Four Laws of Ecology: “Everything is connected to everything else,” “Everything must go somewhere,” “Nature knows best” (“any major man-made change in a natural system is likely to be detrimental to that system”), and “There is no such thing as a free lunch” (“anything extracted from” the environment “by human effort must be replaced”)

Environmental disasters in the media- urban smog (NY- Summer 1966), the devastation of Lake Erie (1968), oily debris and a spark from a passing train igniting the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland (1969), and the Santa Barbara oil spill (1969)

Broad societal change- rise of the middle class and increased access to higher education

Social protest movements-(Civil-Rights, Anti-Vietnam, feminist) encouraged individuals and groups to question authority and provided personnel and tactics for environmentalist movements

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