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Environmental pollution is one of the most concerning topics today. It threatens the planet we live in, damaging, destroying and deteriorating our ecosystems causing the endangerment of human existence on earth. Currently the citizens of the United States are concerned about the environment, however the government of the United States has not shared their concern historically. This problem has grown bigger since humans started developing and populations started growing. Industrial and technological development was one of the main causes of pollution. As the industrial revolution was evolving, the United States cared more about the economy than anything else. The government was not thinking about the consequences that all this contamination originated from the creation of an industrialized country could cause later in life. As the country started to develop, transportation, agricultural activities, trading activities, and demographic growth were also contributing to the problem.
Today, in the United States there are law regulations for almost every aspect of contamination, like the clean air act that regulates the air we breathe, the clean water act that regulates surface waters and all discharges on them, regulations for drinking water, the resources conservation and recovery act and the comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability act that is responsible for the disposal and cleanup of hazardous wastes and many others. It has not been always like this.
While the Industrial Revolution in the United States caused many positive changes for the industrialized world, there is no doubt that it has brought devastation on nature. Even if this lead to an era of progress it has caused the depletion of natural resources, human health problems and huge amounts of carbon emissions, among other environmental problems. Water pollution intensified during the industrial revolution; rivers that passed through urban areas became a container for human waste products, factories began releasing pollutants directly into rivers and streams and by the 1850's inhabitants began experiencing epidemics of chlorea and typhoid. On the other side, air pollution was creating a deadly cloud of smoke and fog known as smog. Industries were releasing dangerous gases into the atmosphere and as a result, there were thousands of deaths because of respiratory problems. Other issue was acid rain, discovered in the 1850's and was one of the resulting problems from coal-powered plants.
The damage that was being done to the environment was evident and began to take more importance. Still, the government of the united states wasn’t doing anything about it. The US government was just benefiting from the profits of this industrialization and did not cared about the environmental footprint that they were leaving. At the time, there were no policies on the conservation on the environment.
As the progressive era started to develop, there was no way of avoiding the inevitable fact that pollution was increasing and the thought that this would result in catastrophic consequences made people take action. Progressive reformers initiated changes to address the problems associated with urbanization and industrialization in the late 19th century. Although progressive reformers generally raised awareness of environmental problems and changed public perceptions of pollution, their activism, in fact, remained quite limited. Reformers of this time generally accepted the beliefs of capitalism and industry. This caused them to limit their search for solutions to technological means, such as finding cleaner methods of burning coal, and releasing factories waste.
Pollution in the 1940s and 1950s was awful. The united states experienced contamination scenes like those now happening in parts of china and even in good days you could see the cloud of smoke up in the air. In the 1940s there was a smog severe in Los Angeles and not until 1947 Los Angeles Air Pollution Control District was formed. The 1950s were also the Golden Age of pesticides. New pesticides and products were discovered, and introduces to farmers. Back then, people didn’t know the downsides of these kind of products, there was very little information about the problems these chemicals could cause because the studies had just not been done yet. This age had nocuous consequences because farmers and consumers weren’t aware of all the risks and dangers pesticides caused to human health and the environment.
All this contamination was being emitted into the country and really the US government wasn’t doing anything about it. People could not stand by just watching how the environment was being torn apart, thy wanted a safe and clean country so the movements against pollution and the conservation of ecosystems started to rise up. All these protests lead to the environmental movement. This movement began in the 1960s and the 1970s this lead to the creation of the clean air and water act and the endangered species act to help protect and preserve animals and ecosystems. The rise of the environmental movement was caused because of several events in the sixties and seventies. Events such as the hydrogen bomb testing on Bikini Atoll, oil spills in the coast of California, the start of the use of pesticides and other chemicals, and the growing pollution on national lakes.
The EPA was also created because of the environmental concerns. It was established on December 2, 1970. “The EPA is an agency of the Federal government of the United States which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.”
Today there is still an active environmental movement with the goal to inspire the population on taking more sustainable approaches in the way we live and to take action on the way we treat the environment.
In conclusion, all movements and policies created to ensure environmental protection were established thanks to the concern of the people, not the government. Now days, a lot of the goals of the environmental movement have been accomplished and, incorporated into American culture. The citizens started to pressure the government to take action about this issue and it worked. Protests made the United States government to react and take action. Yes, the government started to do environmental procedures and created new policies but it was thanks to the people that lead to it. After years of development and evolution we have progressed in technology but at the same time we have extremely polluted the world we live in and we can see the effects this pollution has caused. Species of animals are at the edge of extinction, glaciers are melting and our ecosystems are being destroyed. Not long ago, have we began to realize the consequences. Our role in nature is really important and it is necessary to impulse change.
Heidi Covarrubias hese chemicals could cause because the studies had just not been done yet. This age had nocuous consequences because farmers and consumers weren’t aware of all the risks and dangers pesticides caused to human health and the environment.