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Americas Growing Focus on the Environment - Essay Example

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The paper "Americas Growing Focus on the Environment" discusses that through cultural, political and economic changes, Americans are better able to see the consequences of their actions; the inability to give up or alter old consumer habits, however, display the level of selfishness still present…
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Americas Growing Focus on the Environment
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Download file to see previous pages I will focus on the subject of America’s wasteful use of natural resources set against the paradox of our serious desire to preserve nature and the particular challenges of environmental history studies.
Many changes were taking place in the 1960s and 1970s that brought about a clear shift in the way Americans viewed their natural environment. The cultural transformation was taking place as a result of the rapid economic growth and population increase that occurred in the United States following World War II. For many years prior, Americans had placed importance on the preservation of the country’s national wonders; starting in the 1960s, however, environmental activism grew to be a major player culturally and politically (Warren 273). Earth Day worked as a culmination of these various factors that pushed environmental concerns into the public consciousness.
As a result of the post-War economic boom and technological advancements, Americans found themselves with extra income to spend and more free time. The Highway Act of 1956 also helped to move Americans out of their usual surroundings and into the great outdoors. Together with the increased production and availability of the automobile, people were traveling to enjoy time in the great expanses of nature. Sales of pleasure boats and other tools of recreation experienced a great increase. While Americans were learning to appreciate and respect nature, however, their lifestyle changes--such as the treks to the suburbs and increased demand for electricity--were placing demands on the environment that proved to be disastrous. The result was more trash, disease and contaminated water supplies (Warren 275). These negative changes eventually brought about a public outcry that demanded change, as seen in the popularity of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and the successful membership drives of such environmental groups as the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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