The 1980’s were a slow time for the environmental movement. Following the leaps and bounds made in the 1960’s and 70’s, the United States entered a period defined by tough economic times and a presidential administration focused on deregulation. However, there were lingering effects of the progress made in the 1970’s. Following Lois Gibbs’ dramatic and heroic activism during the Love Canal disaster in the late 1970’s, she formed the Citizens’ Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste in 1980. Additionally, her activism also helped pass the Superfund Act of 1980, which forcescompanies who have harmed the environment to restore it back to as close to pristine as humanly possible. I definitely consider Lois Gibbs a green leader of the 1980’s.
Like andyyear said, there isn’t any one person who sticks out as being a major leader but that being said, there were a number of key developments that took place in the 1980’s that are worth mentioning:
1980: Lobbying from the Carter administration and John Denver get Congress to pass the Alaskan National Interest Lands Conservation Act thereby saving over 100 million acres of land and 26 rivers in the Wild and Scenic Rivers System for conservation.
1981: PETA was founded by Ingrid Newkirk (former Washington D.C. animal control chief) and Alex Pacheco (former Fund for Animals volunteer and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society crew member)
1982: World Resources Institute was founded in June. The Earth Island Institute was founded by David Brower.
1984: Maneka Gandhi starts People for Animals, the first national animal advocacy network in India.
1986: The International Whaling Commission implements a global ban on hunting for the commercial capture of both baleen and sperm whales.
1987: Congress passes the Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act which forbids ocean dumping of plastic materials.
1988: Svet Zabelin helps to create the Socio-Ecological Union which will help to preserve and rebuild the area and the land that was contaminated by radiation.
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