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Post-Watergate Society, 1975-1989
Guide: Focus on the Environment

These resources explain factors that led to the modern day environmental movement. Use these resources to build your students' understanding of the factors that led to a new focus on the environment. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Historical events can shape political institutions
  • Legislative policy changes are often a result of events that led to demands for change
  • A nation's economic policy is tied closely to its foreign policy
  • Popular sentiments often change from left to right and can be represented on a pendulum
  • Conflicts resolution is not always intentional, conflicts can resolve naturally and over time
  • A nation's foreign policy actions have legacies that impact future foreign policy
  • A democratic nation's social and cultural norms and practices are likely to change

Key Questions

  • What were some of the main events that led to an increase in concern for the environment?
  • What actions did environmental activists take to have their concerns heard?
  • How did the government respond to the environmental concerns of this time period?
  • In what ways has the federal government responded to new environmental threats since the 1960s, and do you think it has been enough? Why or why not?


  1. Overview: Focus on the Environment
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Lesson: Introduction
  4. Photos & Illustrations: Exxon Valdez cleanup debris
  5. Reference Articles: Exxon Valdez oil spill
  6. Reference Articles: Carson, Rachel: Silent Spring (1962)
  7. Reference Articles: energy crisis
  8. Reference Articles: environmental movement
  9. Reference Articles: Environmental Protection Agency
  10. Reference Articles: Love Canal Disaster
  11. Reference Articles: Santa Barbara oil spill
  12. Reference Articles: Three Mile Island accident
  13. Political, Government & Court Documents: Clean Air Act (1963) with amendments (1966 and 1990)
  14. Political, Government & Court Documents: Clean Water Act (1972) with amendments (1977)
  15. Political, Government & Court Documents: Endangered Species Act (1973)
  16. Political, Government & Court Documents: Energy Policy and Conservation Act (1975)
  17. Political, Government & Court Documents: National Environmental Policy Act (1969)
  18. Audio: Three Mile Island: news report

MLA Citation

"Focus on the Environment." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Display/2153100?cid=256. Accessed 6 Dec. 2019.

Entry ID: 2153100

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