The Modern Environmental Movement

Wisconsin has played a major and highly visible part in the development of environmental protection in the twentieth century, including a key role in forming the national organizations of the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society and in creating Earth Day in 1970. Although the first protests against pollution, first efforts to conserve natural resources, and first campaigns to save forests all occurred in the late 19th century, the modern environmental movement that emerged after 1950 had different social roots and objectives than the conservation movement that preceded it.

In the first half of the twentieth century, the conservation movement... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: The state of Wisconsin's environment, 1934.The state of Wisconsin's environment, 1934.
Link to article: The U.S. Congress recognizes Earth Day, in 1975.The U.S. Congress recognizes Earth Day, in 1975.
Link to article: Gov. Nelson tries to save unspoiled Wisconsin lands in 1961.Gov. Nelson tries to save unspoiled Wisconsin lands in 1961.
Link to article: An overview of Earth Day, 1970An overview of Earth Day, 1970
Link to article: Gaylord Nelson seeks to bring the environment into the classroom, 1969Gaylord Nelson seeks to bring the environment into the classroom, 1969
Link to artifacts: A "Blitz Fog" pesticide dispenser, 1965A "Blitz Fog" pesticide dispenser, 1965
Link to book: A guide to teaching conservation in 1949A guide to teaching conservation in 1949
Link to book: John Nolen drafts a plan for a state park system in 1909John Nolen drafts a plan for a state park system in 1909
Link to book: State parks and protected lands expand in the 1960s.State parks and protected lands expand in the 1960s.
Link to images: Photographs of Gaylord NelsonPhotographs of Gaylord Nelson
Link to images: Smokey Bear visits Milwaukee in 1954Smokey Bear visits Milwaukee in 1954
Link to manuscript: Gaylord Nelson proposes an environmental agenda to Congress, 1970Gaylord Nelson proposes an environmental agenda to Congress, 1970
Link to manuscript: Selections from Gaylord Nelson's Earth Day files, 1970Selections from Gaylord Nelson's Earth Day files, 1970
Link to manuscript: Gaylord Nelson's early environmental speeches, 1962-1971Gaylord Nelson's early environmental speeches, 1962-1971
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