There are a few different dates floating around as to when the green movement actually started but the earliest date on record is May 28, 1892. This is the day when the Sierra Club had its first meeting. The Sierra Club was founded by John Muir (a preservationist) and is generally acknolwedged as the first environmentally conscious/aware/interested group in the United States. Muir and his followers are responsible for the establishment of Yosemite National Park by the federal government.
The progressive era’s conservation movement that m4fldhcky is talking about was truly the original environmental movement. However, another green movement took place in the 1960’s and 70’s following major environmental disasters (1969 Santa Barbara oil spill) and release of several influential writing pieces (Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb).
This movement gave birth to some of the most significant environmental legislation the country has ever seen including the clean air act, NEPA, the endangered species act, the clean water act, and the resource conservation and recovery act.
What was most significant about this movement was that, politically, it was a bi-partisan movement. Many of the legislations passed were passed by President Richard Nixon, who is considered to be one of the more conservative presidents the U.S. has ever had.
The 1960’s and 70’s green movement marked the penetration of environmental conservation and preservation into mainstream pop culture and politics.
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