Chronography of Environment and Conservation
Page last modified 10 August 2023
For protection of animals see Environment-Animals
For whale and whaling industry see Environmant - Whales
See International for global population, and demography maps
See also Climate/weather
Click here for current, historic atmospheric CO2 levels, https://www.co2.earth/daily-co2
Click here for UK sea flood risk levels by amount of sea level rise, 1 metre � 60 metres, http://flood.firetree.net/
UK Environment Agency, https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency
UK Environment Agency, flooding and extreme weather, https://www.gov.uk/browse/environment-countryside/flooding-extreme-weather
World Resources Institute, https://www.wri.org/
�Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret�, Horace. You can expel nature with a pitchfork, but she will keep returning.
God will not seek thy race, nor will he ask thy birth. Alone he will demand of thee �What hast thou done with the land that I gave thee�, Persian Proverb
In fighting Nature, Man can win every battle, except the last, Thor Heyerdahl
Extinctions � see Appendix
Environmental and Conservation Organisations � see Appendix a
1 January 2020, Palau became the first nation to ban the import or sale of sunscreens containing chemicals toxic to coral. Half of sunscreen brands on sale in 2018 contained chemicals poisonous to coral even in trace amounts, and the area is a favoured destination for diving. Hawaii announced a similar ban in 5/2018, to come into effect in 2021.
1 November 2019, Fracking was banned in England after a series of earthquakes of up to magnitude 2.5 in the Blackpool area were attributed to it. Fracking was already banned in the rest of the UK.
3 January 2016, The United Kingdom designated Ascension Island and its surrounding waters in the Atlantic Ocean as a Marine protected area. The reserve was almost as big as the UK with just over half of the protected area completely closed to fishing.
26 June 2007, The UN declared the Galapagos Islands an endangered heritage site.
26 February 2008, The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened on Spitzbergen, Norway.
19 June 2006, On Spitzbergen, construction work began on a vault to preserve seeds for future generations in the event of a catastrophe such as nuclear war.
3 July 2005, Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, also Governor of Wisconsin, died (born 4 June 1916).
26 July 2004, The Frozen Ark Project was launched, to preserve the DNA of endangered species.
17 March 2001, The Eden Centre, officially opened. It featured the world�s largest indoor rainforest.
20 November 2000, The Millenium Seed Bank at Kew Gardens, London, opened.
1997, Salmon returned to the
River Rhine, after a major pollution incident on 1 November 1986, when a
chemical factory fire caused the river to run red. Fireman�s water had bene
contained but the containment wall gave way and a mix of agricultural chemicals
and heavy metals was released.
3 April 1993, Animal Rights activists disrupted the Grand National at Aintree, Liverpool.
3 June 1992, The United NationsEarth Summit began in Rio de Janeiro. Delegates agreed to protect biodiversity and combat global warming. This led to the UN Framework Convention oin Climate Change, which came into force in 1994. This Framework called for developed countries to reduce CO2 emissions to 1990, and provided for technological assistance to developing countries. These measures were strengthened by the Kyoto Protocol, 1997. �The USA, however, refused to sign the agreement on biodiversity, seeing it as a threat to its economic growth.
15 December 1991. Wildlife investigators uncovered an illegal plot to sell 15,000 elephant tusks for �6 million, in defiance of the international ban on the ivory trade. The 83 tons of ivory had been bought from the Government of Burundi by 2 South African businessmen, to sell in the Far East. 80% of Africa�s elephants had been slaughtered for their tusks in the previous 10 years.
1990, The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) was formed at the second World Climate Change Conference.
16 October 1989, At a committee of the Convention in International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), at Lausanne, Switzerland, a ban on the international ivory trade was passed by 76 votes to 11. This caused the price of ivory to plummet from US$100 per lb to under 2$. Previously, poachers had reduced the African elephant population from 1.3 million in 1979 to 610,000 in 1989.
18 November 1988, Two years after a serious pollution incident damaged the Rhine River, the first warning station in a chain of sensors was installed at Huningue, France, to monitor the river for pollutants.
1987, The Brundtland Report was published.
1986, The UK emitted 1,937,000 tonnes of nitrous oxides to the atmosphere this year, 40% from power stations and 40% from road vehicles. Oxides of nitrogen and sulphur create acid rain and kill forests and lake life.
1986, Walter G Rosen reportedly first proposed the term biodiversity.
1 November 1986, A spill of toxic chemicals turned the River Rhine red.
1985, In response to concerns about the sustainability of tropical wood harvesting, and related matters such as soil erosion in deforested areas, some countries signed the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA). However some countries did ont sign up.
29 December 1985, Dian Fossey, US zoologist and conservationist, died.
1984, The pesticide DDT was banned in Britain.
31 August 1983, Russell Doig of Surrey won a special prize for catching a salmon in the Thames, the first salmon caught there for 150 years. The fish weighed 6 lb.
1982, Dutch Elm Disease killed 20 million elm trees in Britain, 66% of the total population.
12 August 1980, The first Giant Panda born in captivity was successfully delivered at a zoo in Mexico.
3 January 1980, British naturalist Joy Adamson, author of the book Born Free, was murdered in a Kenyan game park.
4 October 1979, British biologist James Lovelock published his book Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth.
1978, US Congress banned the manufacture of PCBs (Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls) after they had been shown to persist in the environment and build up in higher food chain animals. PCBs, once used as coolant and insulators for industrial equipment,� could cause liver damage and impede reproduction.
1976, Pooper Scoopers were introduced so dog powners could clear up their pet�s faeces.
10 July 1976. After an explosion at a chemical plant at Seveso, Italy, a 7 km radius was contaminated with dioxin, a weed killer. Crops and 40,000 animals died, and the number of abnormal births rose dramatically.
12 November 1974. A salmon was caught in the Thames, the first since around 1840. It was retrieved from the filters of West Thurrock power station.
28 December 1973, US President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act, providing further environmental protection.
2 November 1973, The IMCO Conference for Marine Pollution attended by 665 delegates from 79 countries, ended in London.
29 June 1973,� President Nixon warned US Congress that the US, with just 6% of the world population, consumed one third of the world�s energy supply, and that energy supplies were not infinite.
1972, Blueprint for Survival was published by the editors of The Ecologist magazine.
1972, The USA restricted the use of the weedkiller DDT after it was found to cause thinning of bird�s egg shells, reducing their reproductive success.
1972, The Club of Rome published �The Limits to Growth�, highlighting the dangers of natural resource depletion.
1972, The USA passed the Clean water Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments. This followed spectacular incidents in 1969 when the Cuyahoga River, Ohio, caught fire, and in the same year a record fish die off of 26 million fish was recorded in Florida�s Lake Thomnotosassa, blamed on pollution from food processing plants.
16 November 1972, UNESCOs World Heritage Convention was adopted. This seeks to preserve sites of major cultural or biological significance around the world.
28 October 1972, The USA signed the Federal Noise Control Act, limiting noise emissions by trucks, buses, trains and construction equipment.
23 July 1972, The US launched Landsat I, a satellite that could monitor Earth�s natural resources and their depletion from space.
22 April 1970, The first Earth Day was held in the USA, sponsored by Senator Gaylord Nelson.
1969, Muskoxen, which became extinct from Alaska in the 19c, were reintroduced there.
1965, The annual cisco fish catch in Lake Erie collapsed to 1,000 lbs. From 1885 to 1925 it had averaged 25 million lbs annually, but then abruptly fell to 6,000,000 lbs in 1926, declining more thereafter. Industrial pollution, sewage, eutrophication and lack of oxygen in the Great Lakes caused a collapse in many fish species, and a replacement by species less valued siuch as carp and sheepshead fish. Algal blooms have also occurred.
17 December 1963, The USA passed the Clean Air Act, forerunner to the 1970 Clean Air Act which required major cuts in car emissions.
27 September 1962, Rachel Carson published �Silent Spring�. She was very concerned about the issue of pesticides in the environment. By December, half a million copies had been printed, and even US President John F Kennedy was influenced.
22 February 1962, Steve Irwin, environmentalist, was born.
1958, A plague of locusts in Somalia was so large it covered 1,000 square kilometres.
22 December 1938. The coelacanth, a fish though to have been extinct for 65 million years, was caught off the coast of South Africa.
13 April 1938, Grey Owl, conservationist, died. He had styled himself as an indigenous Canadian, but was in fact English.
1935, The term �ecosystem� was first used by AG Tansley, to describe the entire interdendent system of organisms and the environment. The word was slow to gain popular usage.
1901, The term �biota� was first used to describe the animal and plant life of a region.
1866, Ernst Hackel, biologist, coined the term ecology (oecologie in German)
24 March 1936, David Suzuki, environmentalist, was born.
1935, In the US, President Roosevelt signed the Soil Conservation Act, nominating Hugh Hammond, 54, to head the new Soil Conservation Service. Hammond had estimated that in terms of diminished agricultural productivity alone, soil erosion was costing around US$ 400 million a year; dust storms were turning day into night and halting traffic.
1934, First known use of the term �biomass�, as in the total weight of all organisms in a certain area.
3 April 1934, Jane Goodall, British zoologist who studied gorillas in Tanzania in the 1960s, was born.
18 January 1933, Botanist and conservationist David Bellamy was born.
16 December 1932, Dian Fossey, US zoologist and conservationist was born.
7 March 1927,� Betty Leslie-Melville, wildlife conservationist, was born (died 23 September 2005)
1926, The corgi dog, a short legged animal whose name means �dwarf dog� in Welsh, was introduced as a pet breed. It became popular amongst the British Royal Family.
September 1919, Dutch Elm Disease was first observed in The Netehrlands. By the 1930s it was spreading across the rest of Europe, including Britain, and had also reached the USA.
1915, In Britain, so-called �nature reserves� were set up; areas of land managed so as to preserve the natural flora and fauna.
8 June 1908, US President Roosevelt appointed Gifford Pinchot as head of the National Conservation Commission. This was the start of� US Government involvement in the nation�s environment.
27 May 1907, Rachel Louise Carson, marine biologist and US author, author of Silent Spring, was born.
1903, President Theodore Roosevelt established the USA�s first national wildlife refuge, at Pelican Island, off the east coast of Florida, 87 square miles.
1895, The buffalo, which had once numbered millions across America, was now down to just 400 in the entire USA.
1876, In the UK the Cruelty to Animals Act was passed, to curb the use of live animals in scientific experiments.
1858, A few dozen English rabbits were released on the Australian estate of landowner Thomas Austin, to provide shooting sport. Over the next six years, Austin shot 200,000 rabbits, but this was barely half the total population. Five of the fast-breeding animals could eat more grass than one sheep, so causing major problems for sheep farmers.
21 April 1838, John Muir, US environmentalist who called for the preservation of wilderness areas, was born.
1281, King Edward I commissioned Peter Corbet, �The Mighty Hunter�, to clear all wolves from England�s forests.
1220, The first giraffes were exhibited in Europe.
Appensix � Air Quality
4 March 1985, In the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of leaded fuel for motor vehicles.
1971, It was announced that 250,000 tons of lead were being discharged from vehicle exhaust pipes every year in the US alone (see road transport technology). Lead pollution, first discovered in the animals at Staten Island Zoo, was also found inside humans living in New York.
5 July 1956, Britain passed the Clean Air Act. This gave industry seven years to stop emitting �dark smoke�. This was in the aftermath of the infamous 1952 London Smog, which kicked 4,000 people.
1951, Britain�s first smokeless zone was set up, in Coventry. In 1955 London was declared a smokeless zone. In 1956 Britain passed the Clean Air Act.
1935, Manchester first proposed the idea of smokeless zones in urban areas.
1929, In Britain, the National Smoke Abatement Society was set up.
29 November 1921, London suffered a severe smog, with pollution so bad that inside cinemas on Stoke Newington the projector lamp could not illuminate the screen.
1905, The term �smog� was coined for a combination of fog and smoke that affected London and other British cities, causing many deaths.
1 January 1864, In the US, the Alkali Act was passed. It was the first legislation of modern times concerning the environment. The Leblanc process of producing sodium carbonate released large amounts of hydrochloric acid into the atmosphere.
1856, In Britain, between 1853 and 1856, a series of Smoke Abatement Acts were passed in order to improve the quality of air in urban areas.
Appendix �� Extinctions
6 January 2000, The Pyrenean Ibex became the first extinction of the new millennium when a tree fell on the last individual, killing it. A cloned kid was born in 2009 but only survived seven minutes.
14 December 1994, In Australia the Wollemi pine, a relic from the age of the dinosaurs, was discovered growing in the Blue Mountains.
17 June 1987, The Dusky Seaside Sparrow became extinct as the last individual died. It had lived in the wetlands of Florida but much of its habitat was destroyed to make way for the Kennedy Space Centre and for new highways. Its food, mosquitoes, had been destroyed by DDT spraying, which then entered the birds themselves and caused their eggshells to thin, so their breeding was unviable. A captive breeding programme was begun at Disneyworld in the 1970s, but only 5 birds could be recovered, all male.� Attempts were made to cross-breed them with similar sparrows to preserve some of the species characteristics but this failed, and by 3/1986 only one of the sparrows was still alive.
1952, The cheetah was declared extinct in India. Hunting by the British, diminishing habitat, and killing by farmers as the animal threateed livestock, were to blame. In 2022 African cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa were reintroduced to a National park in Madhya Pradesh, India.
20 November 1948, The New Zealand flightless Takahe bird had only been sighted 4x between 1800 and 1900 and was presumed extinct. However this day Dr Geoffrey Orbell located the first individual of what was found to be a colony of 250 individuals in the Murchison Mountains, South Island.
1944, The last ivory-billed woodpecker died when its last habitat, a wood in Louisiana,USA, was felled by the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company.
23 March 1943, The Xerces Blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces) was seen for the last time, and is presumed to have become extinct, its habitat in the sand dunes near San Francisco Bay having been destroyed by the growth of the California city.
1938, The Coelocanth fish was believed extinct until one was caught this year near the Comoros Islands.
6 September 1936, The last thylacine (Tasmanian marsupial tiger) died in a zoo in Hobart, Tasmania
1933, The last known Tasmanian Wolf died in a zoo; however there were later unverified reports of this animal in the wild.
1918, Death of the last California Parakeet, in captivity, The last confirmed sighting in the wild was in 1914, though there were alleged sightings for some decades afterwards.
1 September 1914, The last passenger pigeon, a bird which once dominated the skies of America, became extinct as the last individual died in Cincinnati Zoo.
12 August 1883, The last quagga (a sub-species of the zebra) died, at Amsterdam Zoo.
1875, Last sighting of the Falkland Islands wolf.
3 July 1844, The Great Auk became extinct when fishermen killed the last breeding pair of the flightless birds in Iceland.
1786, The last wolf was killed in Ireland, by John Watson of Ballydarton, Leighlinbridge, a master of foxhounds.
1768, Steller�s Sea Cow was hunted to extinction, just 27 years after the species after the species was discovered on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
1743, The last wolf was killed in Scotland.
1683, Wild boars became extinct in Britain.
1630, The last dodo was killed. Native to Mauritius, it was a flightless bird about the size of a turkey, prized by saillors for food. Meanwhile, rats, pigs and monkeys introduced to Mauritius ate the dodo�s eggs.
1627, The last auroch (ancestor of domestic cattle) died in Poland.
1297, The Giant Moas Bird was now extinct in what is now New Zealand.
1290, The last wolf in England was killed, by Peter Corbet, exterminator to King Edward I. This made it much safer to graze sheep. In turn this reinforced England�s leading position in the lucrative wool trade.
Appendix a - Environmental and Conservation Organisations (see also Morals � Animal Welfare)
1992, The British Green Party failed to match its success of 1989, winning just 1.3% of the vote in the General Election.
1989, The British Green Party, founded by Sara Parkin (born 1946) and Jonathan Porritt (born 1950) came from nowhere to take 2.3 million votes, a 15% share, in elections for the European Parliament.
1983, 28 �Greens� were elected to the German Bundestag.
1981, 9 �Green� MPs were elected to the Belgian Parliament.
1979, The first �Green� member of the Swiss parliament was elected.
1977, Sustrans was founded, in Bristol, to campaign for environmentally-sustainable transport and combat the problems of traffic congestion and pollution.
1976, Greenpeace was founded in Britain (see15 September 1971)
1973, In Britain the Ecological Party was founded � known since 1985 as the Green Party
15 September 1971, Greenpeace was founded, as a result of protests against a US nuclear test on Amchitka Island, Alaska. On this day Jim Bohlen, Paul Cote and Irving Stowe set sail in the boat Phyllis Cormack for the test site in the Quaker tradition of �proetsting by observing the misdeed�. The three protestors named their initiative �Greenpeace�. In the event ferocious storms both forced the boat to shelter in the Aleutian Islands and caused the nuclear test to be postponed. The test eventually took place on 6 November 1971; Greenpeace did succeed in mobilising public protests so that President Nixon cancelled the nuclear tests scheduled for 1971. In 1983 it had 1,500,000 members. By 1991 it had 6,750,000 members.
9 May 1971, In Britain, Friends of the Earth was founded. On this day its first action was to dump thousands of non-returnable Schweppes bottles on the doorstep of the company�s headquarters as part of a campaign for recyclable bottles.
29 April 1961, The World Wildlife Fund was founded in Switzerland. In 1983 it had 100,000 members. By 1991 it had 1,000,000 members.
1926, In Britain, the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) was set up by Patrick Abercrombie.
1924, The League Against Cruel Sports was formed to campaign against hunting, also hare coursing and badger baiting.
1919, The Save The Redwoods League was formed in the USA. It helped create national parks in California where the huge tress wouldnot be felled by loggers.
20 September 1917. The first RSPCA animal clinic was opened in Liverpool.
5/1909, The Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia (WPSA) was founded in Sydney, Australia to encourage the protection of, and to cultivate interest in, the Australian flora and fauna.
11 December 1903, The first wildlife preservation society was formed in Britain.� It was called The Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire.
1899, In Britain, the Coal Smoke Abatement Society was formed.
1897, The Blue Cross was founded, originally known as Our Dumb Friends� League. It changed its name to parallel the Red Cross. It opened an animal hospital in 1906 near Victoria Station, London.
1895, In Britain, the National Trust was founded.
10 April 1866, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Aniamls (ASPCA) was founded by New York shipbuilder�s son Henry Bergh, 43, who served as the first president of the ASPCA. It�s main objective was preventing the abuse of horses.
1860, Battersea Dogs Home was founded, initially sited in Holloway. By 1869 around 200 dogs were housed there and neighbours complained about the noise, and in 1871 the Home was moved to Battersea. Stray cats have also been taken in since 1882.
15 June 1824. The RSPCA was founded in London.