Major Events in the Environmental Movement

Major Events in the Environmental Movement


February 1959

Minamata was a new disease found inMinamata, Japan and was linked to the release of methyl mercury into the waste-water produced by the Chisso Coorporation’s chemical factory. This disease caused neurological damages in people.

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

September 27, 1962

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was an influential book which made a case against chemical pollution by documenting the harmful effects of pesticides. This book also led many to become concern of pesticides and pollution.

The Club of Rome


The Club of Rome is an environmental movement that made the best selling environmental book in history: The Limits to Growth. This book examined the consequences of rapidly growing world population on finite natural resources.

Stockholm Conference

June 05, 1972

The Stockholm Conference was the first meeting of the international community to consider global environment and development needs. Furthermore, it also examined how human activity was affecting the environment.

James Lovelock's Gaia


James Lovelock's Gaia was a book which proposed the hypothesis that the Earth is a living organism with self-regulatory mechanisms that maintain the climate and biological conditions. He also noted that the actions of humanity were upsetting this balance.


December 03,1984

Bhopal was the name given to the release of 42 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate gas from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in the Indian City of Bhopal. In total, there were an estimate of 25,000 deaths from this.

Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior

July 10, 1985

The Rainbow Warrior was sunk to prevent the ship from interfering with nuclear test in the Polynesian Island of Moruo. This event promoted environmental campaigns against nuclear testing.


April 26,1986

Chernobyl occurred when reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl plant in the Ukraine exploded and highly radioactive dust went into the atmosphere. Around 3336,000 people were evacuated and there were an increase number of cancer incidents.

Our Common Future

March 20, 1987

Our Common Future was a report by the UN WCED and it placed environmental issues on a political agenda. The report also linked environmental concerns to development and sought to promote sustainable development through international collaboration.

UN Earth (Rio) Summit

June 03, 1992

The UN Earth (Rio) Summit encouraged people to think of the indirect values of ecosystems apart from economic ones. The Summit also gave people a different perspective in sustainability on a global scale and economic growth.

Agenda 21

June 14, 1992

The event was coordinated by the United Nations and adopted by more than 178 governments. Agenda 21 was a blueprint for action to achieve sustainable development worldwide. The plan of action was to be taken globally, nationally, and locally by groups in which humans impact the environment.

Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development

August 26, 2002

The Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development looked mainly at social issues and targets were set to reduce poverty and increase people’s access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Kyoto Climate Change Protocol

February 16, 2005

In the Kyoto Climate Change Protocol countries were allocated amounts of carbon dioxide they were allowed to emit. However, nations were allowed to sell carbon emissions not used to other nations, which then created the carbon market.

An Inconvenient Truth

May 26, 2006

An inconvenient truth was a book written by Al Gore and it stated that if we continue ignoring the environmental problems they will only get bigger, not smaller.

Copenhagen (COP-15)

December 07, 2009

Copenhagen (COP-15) was a political intent to constrain carbon and respond to climate change in both short and long terms. The conference also discussed how to help the poorest nations cope with climate change. Furthermore,115 world leaders attended the conference.