Independence Day: Celebrating the History of U.S. Environmentalism


This July 4th, the United States will celebrate its 240th year of independence as a nation. While much of the history around this holiday focuses on the Continental Congress adopting the Declaration of Independence, there’s an even more storied history surrounding environmentalism in the U.S.

Here are some of the most fascinating historical facts about U.S. environmentalism:

  • 1739: Benjamin Franklin petition Pennsylvania Assembly to stop waste dumping and remove tanneries from Philadelphia’s commercial district.
  • 1762 to 1769: Benjamin Franklin also attempted to regulate water pollution.
  • 1851: Henry David Thoreau delivers an address to the Concord Lyceum declaring that “in Wildness is the preservation of the World,” which ultimately leads to him writing
  • 1872: In the book Air and Rain, Robert Angus Smith coined the term acid rain. In addition, the world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park was founded, along with Arbor Day, that year.
  • 1903: President Theodore Roosevelt created first National Bird Preserve on Pelican Island, Florida. 
  • 1916: S. Congress created the National Park Service.
  • 1936: The National Wildlife Federation is founded.
  • 1955:S. Congress signed The Air Pollution Control Act into law.
  • 1967: The Environmental Defense Fund founded.
  • 1970: On April 22nd, millions of people gather in the United States for the first Earth Day.
  • 1985: The Rainforest Action Network founded.
  • 2006: Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore releases “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary that describes global warming.

Despite the current political atmosphere around climate change, we must always remember that protecting that environment has always been key priority for our great nation.

Please be sure to show your support for U.S. environmental activism by securing your own .earth domain extension. Please visit one of these registrars to learn more.


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