Earth Day anniversary and the balance of nature myth

The balance of nature theory, that nature without the influence of human beings is in harmony, is a myth.  But in the wake of environmental disaster, it can be especially compelling.  Case in point: the 1969 Santa Barbara, California oil spill, which saw images of oil-coated seabirds and poisoned seals and dolphins splattered on American television.  The urge to do something to prevent similar catastrophes sparked unprecedented participation at the grassroots level, and a year later, on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans celebrated the first Earth Day, marking the birth of the modern environmental movement.  Soon thereafter, Congress codified the movement by passing the Clean Water Act (1972), the Clean Air Act (1973), and the Endangered Species Act (1973). In nearly fifty years since that first Earth Day, U.S. environmental policy has been built on the assumption that nature returns to a state of harmony and balance when humans leave it undisturbed.  But...(Read Full Post)

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