Miller Center

Colloquium - Earth Day 1970: Gaylord Nelson and the Making of the First Environmental Generation

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The Miller Center is a nonpartisan institute that seeks to provide critical insights for the nation’s governance challenges.

Adam Rome
October 23, 2009
12:30PM - 2:00PM (EDT)

Adam Rome
Adam Rome

The first Earth Day is probably the least understood famous event in modern American history.  Millions of people took part in thousands of protests and celebrations across the country. Earth Day 1970 helped to launch “the environmental decade”—a period of ambitious legislative and institutional efforts to address environmental problems. Yet scholars have not studied the event in detail. Why was the event so powerful a catalyst to action?

Adam Rome is Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University. He is author of The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism (Cambridge University Press, 2001), which won the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson Turner Award, given to the best first book on any topic in American history. He is finishing a book about the first Earth Day to be published by Hill and Wang.

In addition to writing about the modern environmental movement, Professor Rome has written about environmental reform in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. He served for four years as editor of the journal Environmental History. He teaches courses in environmental history and 20th-century U.S. history.

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