1986 Fred Krupp, executive director of EDF, wrote in The Wall Street Journal about a third stage of the environmental movement. He suggested the environmental past could be seen in two stages. "The first was the conservation era launched by T.R. and Pinchot. The second was the explosion of pollution control laws and regulations that followed Silent Spring and Earth Day 1970. Krupp wrote that in the third stage, environmentalists should recognize that behind the waste dumps and dams and power plants and pesticides that threaten major environmental harm, there are nearly always legitimate social needs--and that long-term solutions lie in finding alternative ways to meet those underlying needs. Otherwise, we are treating only symptoms; the problems will surface again and again. Answer the underlying needs, and you have a lasting cure. As other environmentalists picked up on the theme, it became known as the Third Wave theory, after futurist Alvin Toffler's best seller. Different Third Wave concepts emerged, but the unifying theme was that the new wave should be solution-oriented. We have won the struggle for acceptance with Main Street America, and now people are looking to us for solutions, said Lucy Blake, chairman of the League of Conservation Voters, in a 1986 interview with The Los Angeles Times. It's not enough anymore to stand on the outside and take potshots. "
but some opposed the Third Wave, such as Dr. Barry Commoner, the noted environmental scientist and writer, who charged that big, national environmental groups are selling out. In Crossroads, he argued that in negotiating compromises, environmental groups may become hostage to the corporations' power and will experience the Stockholm Syndrome, in which hostages take on the ideology of their captors.
1987 a grassroots campaign began in Vermont by citizens, schools, churches, county governments to stop the use of styrofoam packaging by McDonalds, and it resulted in the announcement by McDonald Nov, 1, 1990, that it would stop using styrofoam sandwich boxes; the Montreal Protocol was signed by 24 nations pledging to reduce chlorofluorocarbons that endangered the ozone layer
1988 Congress passed the Plastics Pollution Research and Control Act that prohibited the dumping of plastics in the ocean.
1989 the tanker Exxon Valdez on March 24 ran aground off the coast of Alaska and spilled 37,000 tons of oil into Prince William Sound, killing 50,000 birds and other fish and wildlife; Congress voted to halt timbering in the Alaskan Tsongass National Forest, the last temperate rain forest in the U.S. - link to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. In the March 26, 1989 photo from AP at right, the Exxon Baton Rouge, top, off-loads crude oil from the Exxon Valdez after it ran aground in Prince William sound in Alaska.
1990 Congress tightened the Clean Air Act to further reduce levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere
1991 the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit agreed on principles to support the formation of people's coalitions
1992 Rio Summit under the direction of Maurice Strong issued Agenda 21, recommending placing political power in a centralized body charged with Global Governance. "Although the name Maurice Strong is hardly a household staple, his global peregrinations and vast political network lend added weight to statements he made as Secretary General of the Rio Summit in June of 1992: Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about? Consider the amenities that Maurice Strong has publicly identified as unsustainable: household appliances, air-conditioning, suburban housing, high meat intake, frozen/convenience foods, and fossil fuels." ( The Worldwatch Institute)
1993 On Earth Day, President Clinton promised to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000
1994 in February President Clinton signed the Environmental Justice Executive Order to give priority to low-income communities for federal cleaneup funds due to the fact that polluting industries deliberately located waste-producing processes in these communities; in September the EPA released a report on dioxin presenting evidence that everyone in America received a continual exposure to the most dangerous toxin in the environment from the food chain, from waste incinerators, from Agent Orange and similar defoliants and insecticides, and in April 1995 citizen groups began the Stop Dioxin Exposure Campaign, and in April 1997 President Clinton signed an executive order giving high priority to preventing the exposure to children of dangerous chemicals such as dioxin and the methylene chloride that was being released from the Kodak plant in Rochester and causing cancer in women and children living downwind from the plant; the second largest oil spill in California history (after the 1910 spill) resulted from the leak of 8.5 million gallons of diluent from the Unocal Guadalupe oil field
1995 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of 2,000 scientists reported that global warming was increasing due to the "greenhouse effect" of increased CO2 emissions and the loss of oxygen-producing forests.
1997 Julia Butterfly Hill on Dec. 10 climbed a180-foot California Coast Redwood tree to prevent the destruction of the redwoods. Two years later, on Dec. 18, 1999, she came down after concluding a deal with the Pacific Lumber/Maxxam Corporation to save the tree and a three-acre buffer zone
1997 Kyoto Protocol was signed by the United States and 121 other nations on Dec. 11 to reduce C02 emissions, but Congress refused ratification
1999 the Senate refused to ratify the Non-Proliferation Treaty that would have mandated a global nuclear test ban; in November, demonstrations were held in Seattle to protest the World Trade Organization
2000 National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported in mid-April that January-February-March were the warmest months in the 105 years that records have been kept; in December, demonstrations were held in Italy to protest the capitalistic orientation of the European Union