A century of environmentalism
(Published April 22, 2001)
1892: Sierra Club founded by John Muir and others.
1905: National Audubon Society founded.
1914: Passenger pigeon goes extinct.
1946: Nature Conservancy established.
1962: "Silent Spring," by Rachel Carson, published.
1969: Cuyahoga River in Ohio catches fire.
April 22, 1970: The first Earth Day.
1971: Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and Greenpeace formed.
1973: Endangered Species Act passed by Congress. Citizen suit provision gives environmental groups the right to sue to enforce the law.
1976: Greenpeace's harp seal campaign touches heartstrings, opens pocketbooks.
1977: Love Canal toxic dumping incident leads to rising concern about dioxin and other chemicals.
1979: Three Mile Island nuclear accident.
1981-83: Sierra Club uses Interior Secretary James Watt as focus of a highly successful membership and fund-raising campaign.
1985: British scientists in Antarctica discover ozone hole.
1986: Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.
March, 1989: Exxon Valdez oil spill. Eleven million gallons of oil blacken 1,500 miles of Alaska shoreline.
1991: Suit filed against U.S. government involving a rare salamander that brings lawyers for the Sierra Club and other plaintiffs $3.55 million.
1991: Conservation International drops its direct mail fundraising campaign because of financial and environmental concerns.
1992: Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro.
1993: Federal Judges sharply criticize a Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund attorney for "flagrant overbilling" in a Clean Air Act case against the government.
1994: Charitable giving to environmental causes tops $2 billion.
1994: National Commission on Wildfire Disasters warns of escalating catastrophic fire danger in western states.
1995: Piece of ice the size of Rhode Island breaks off the Larsen ice shelf in Antarctica, indicating global warming could be a threat to the planet.
1996: Federal judge in Los Angeles reduces fee award of two environmental lawyers by 63 percent in a case involving the red-legged frog, calling the lawyers' hourly time sheets "overstated."
1996: Arizona rancher Matt Maggofin single-handedly saves rare leopard frog, at a personal cost of more than $8,000.
February 1997: A $500,000 Environmental Defense Fund investment plunges to $18,000.
March, 1997: National Parks Conservation Association fires its president and awards him $760,335 -- without telling members.
May, 1997: Sierra Club hosts cocktail party at Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco.
1997: Kyoto protocol signed. Industrial nations agree to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 5 percent to limit global warming.
1997: Julia "Butterfly" Hill begins two-year "tree sit" in a California redwood to protest logging.
1997-98: A coalition of environmental groups distort facts in an effort to derail the Quincy Library Group's logging and thinning project aimed at reducing fire danger and restoring forest health.
1998-99: The Wilderness Society sends 6.2 million fundraising letters at a cost of $1.46 million but uses a loophole to report $1.27 million of the bill as "public education."
1999: Average top executive salary at nation's 10 largest environmental groups climbs to an all-time high: $235,918
1999: Feed store owner Buddy Thomas forms all-volunteer environmental group to protect rare mussels and fish in the Appalachian Mountains.
1999: An estimated 35,000 protesters take to the streets in Seattle, objecting to the World Trade Organization's stance on health, labor and environmental standards.
2000: National Forest Protection Alliance and other groups take scientific findings out of context in promoting a "no-commercial logging" campaign in Congress.
2000: Most destructive fire season in half a century scars Western states.
2000: The Nature Conservancy mails 35 million fundraising letters: an average of 95,890 letters a day.
2000: Defenders of Wildlife receives a "D" rating from American Institute of Philanthropy for spending too little on conservation and too much on fund raising and management.
2001: National Audubon Society launches fund-raising campaign attacking President Bush's environmental policies.
-- Research by Tom Knudson