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History of Environmental Science

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Presentation on theme: "History of Environmental Science"— Presentation transcript:

1 History of Environmental Science

2 Ancient Civilizations BC to 1200 AD
Air pollution was common in large towns long before the industrial revolution. The pollution came from dust, wood smoke, tanneries, animal manure and other things.

3 Ancient Civilizations
Timbering stripped the forests of Babylon, Greece, Phonecia (Lebanon) and Italy with the rise of civilization. The wood energy crisis led Greeks to use passive solar energy by orienting their cities and houses toward the sun.

4 Ancient Civilizations
Water pollution Israeli and Hindu cities had less water pollution due to strict religious codes about cleanliness. Ancient Rome was notorious for sewage-filled streets.

5 Middle Ages and Renaissance
Plague devastates Europe but leads to the beginnings of a public health system.

6 Industrial Revolution: 1830 - 1890
Living conditions horrify commissions in London and America. The common interest in pure drinking water and sanitation is spurred by epidemics of typhoid and cholera.

7 Living Conditions During the Industrial Revolution

8 Environmental Problems During The Industrial Revolution
Smog episodes begin killing residents of large cities like London. Conservation of wilderness areas begins with the felling of an enormous tree, called the "Mother of the Forest" in The outrage over the act leads to calls for a national park system.

9 London, Killer Smog 1952

10 Onondaga Lake, 1946 In 1946, Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation began production of chlorine. As a result, mercury wastes were discharged directly into Onondaga Lake. The Allied facility discharged an estimated 165,000 pounds of mercury to Onondaga Lake between 1946 and Mercury loading was greatly reduced after 1970, and the plant was closed in 1977. However, scientists estimate that 7 million cubic yards of lake sediments remain contaminated with mercury, and mercury remains the contaminant of primary concern, because of its persistence in fish found in the lake.

11 Honeywell to spend $451 million to remove pollutants in New York

12 Onondaga Lake cont. Pollution of the lake from municipal as well as industrial sources led to reduced use of the lake for recreation. By 1940, the lake was declared unsafe for swimming and by the 1970s, fishing was banned on the Lake.

13 City of Syracuse Sewage Treatment Plant


15 1960s- 1970s A burning river ends the decade as a dramatic symbol of an environment on the brink. On June 22, 1969, oil and chemicals in the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio catch fire. Flames top five stories.

16 Cuyahoga River

17 Cuyahoga River Contaminated catfish. A brown bullhead has tumors from pollution in the Cuyahoga River in Ohio.

18 1970s-1980s Toxic chemicals become more troubling. Corporations like Allied (manufacturer of Kepone) seem to have deliberately endangered employees and the public for minor increments of profit. Love Canal and other incidents lead to new regulations in the 1980s.

19 Love Canal Niagara Falls, NY

20 1970s-1980s Nuclear power safety is increasingly suspect after the Three Mile Island accident in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

21 1980s-1990s Disasters show the tenuous and fragile side of industrial technology. Among them are the Bhopal mass poisoning in India; the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in Ukraine; and the Challenger shuttle and Exxon Valdez oil spills in the U.S.

22 1984 The explosion at the Union Carbide plant in the central Indian city of Bhopal is widely seen as the worst industrial disaster in world history.

23 April 26, 1986 The Chernobyl nuclear disaster is considered to be the worst accident in the history of nuclear power. This picture was taken 20 years after the accident.

24 Exxon Valdez March 24, 1989 The tanker, captained by Joseph Hazelwood, hit Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef and spilled an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil. This has been recorded as one of the largest spills in U.S. history.

25 Exxon Valdez

26 2000- Now Global climate change report by the UN and the National Academy of Sciences firmly establishes scientific basis for concern. Eventually, even the Bush administration admits climate change is happening but shows disdain for international treaties to reduce climate changing emissions.


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