Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2021.


Copyright Vondracek 2021


Concern for environmental degradation, natural resource depletion, and public health has long been a necessary part of a strongly developed and sophisticated society. Humans are primarily responsible for the depletion of the natural environment as it supplies the commodities required to ensure the long-term survival of civilizations. As cultures continue to evolve, so does the practice of land stewardship and protection of resources. With the necessary expansion of industry and housing needed to support a rising human population, the management of natural resources, pollution control, and the environment has become increasingly important to people worldwide. Bernstein and Szuster (2019) suggest these concerns led to the environmental movement and environmentalism that largely emerged in the United States in the late 1960s. Environmentalism found its way into the public eye on the first Earth Day held on April 22, 1970, and was a catalyst in bringing about environmental legislation in the United States, such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. The first Earth Summit, attended by 113 nations, was held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972 and put environmentalism on an international stage (Bernstein and Szuster 2019). Environmentalism also surfaced in global political conversations through organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and projects like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).