Eco-communities as a social vision

Eco-communities as a social vision
Egalitarian and ecological communities, like the pictured East Wind (, are very close to our vision of an ecological society

16 November, 2007

The growth of environmental movement in early seventies and the appearance of green parties

We saw in a previous post that environmental awareness increased gradually during the 1960s, something that affected the lyrical influences of rock music.

During the 1960s, several events illustrated the magnitude of environmental damage caused by man. In 1962 the publication of the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson drew attention to the impact of chemicals on the natural environment. In 1967 the Torrey Canyon oil tanker went aground off the southwest coast of England, and in 1969 oil spilled from an offshore well in California's Santa Barbara Channel. In 1971 the conclusion of a law suit in Japan drew international attention to the effects of decades of mercury poisoning on the people of Minamata. At the same time, emerging scientific research drew new attention to existing and hypothetical threats to the environment and humanity. Among them were Paul R. Ehrlich, whose book The Population Bomb, published 1968, revived concerns about the impact of exponential population growth. Biologist Barry Commoner generated a debate about growth, affluence and "flawed technology." Additionally, an association of scientists and political leaders known as the Club of Rome published their report The Limits to Growth in 1972, and drew attention to the growing pressure on natural resources from human activities. Meanwhile, nuclear proliferation and photos of Earth from space emphasized the consequences of technological accomplishments, as well as Earth's truly small place in the universe. In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, and for the first time united the representatives of multiple governments in discussion relating to the state of the global environment. This conference led directly the creation of government environment agencies and the UN Environment Program. The United States also passed new legislation such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act- the foundations for current environmental standards.

Thus, in early seventies, the environmental concerns find their way to the highest levels of goverments and the international community. The interest for environmental issues is reflected to various rock songs of that period, that we have already presented. The environmental movement takes gradually political character and the first green parties begin to pop up around the world. They incorporate many values of the counterculture and the new social movements of the sixties.

In March of 1972 the world's first green party, the United Tasmania Group, was formed at a public meeting in Hobart, Australia. At about that same time, in Atlantic Canada, 'the Small party' was formed with similar goals. In May 1972, a meeting at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, launched the Values Party, the world's first countrywide green party to contest Parliamentary seats nationally. A year later in 1973, Europe's first green party, the UK's Ecology Party, came into existence.


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