The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 1970 and 1979 Deselect

  1. Five activists parachute into a building site for a Canadian nuclear reactor. During the confusion, other activists succeed in occupying the site.

  2. Greenpeace targets the Icelandic whaling fleet, to stop it killing fin whales, whose populations have shrunk dramatically. In 3m waves, they manoeuvre their dinghies between the ships and the whales, with the result that not a single whale is harpooned.

  3. Greenpeace discovers by chance that Great Britain and other European states are dumping nuclear waste in the North Atlantic. As the British freighter "Gem" reaches the dumping site, c. 960 km from the coast of Cornwall, carrying 2,000 t nuclear waste, two dinghies take up post below the loading ramp. The barrels continue to roll out, and the protest must end, although the media are on hand to record events.

  4. Scientific studies by the FEA prove the dangers of fibrous asbestos dust in the environment as well. Despite early resistance, industry then halts the use of sprayed asbestos. Sprayed asbestos has been banned in Germany since 1979.

  5. Expeditions begin in March to prevent seal culling on the ice off Newfoundland in Canada. Activists blockade an icebreaker, others protect seals from the hunters' clubs with their own bodies. They are fined by the Canadian authorities.

  6. The first protest is aimed at the Soviet whaling fleet. Greenpeace members in rubber dinghies place themselves between the whales and the harpoons. Film of the protest alarms the entire world.

  7. Objective proof of the connection between the destruction of the ozone layer and the release of aerosol propellants.

  8. L. S. Rowland and M. J. Molina demonstrate the likelihood that the chemically stable, and therefore persistent, CFC compounds are destroying stratospheric ozone.

  9. Greenpeace sail to the French atoll for a second time. French soldiers enter their yacht, beating up one protester, McTaggart. Others manage to smuggle photographs of the attack from board. These are published all around the world. France abandons the test series.

  10. The European Community starts its first Environmental Action Programme

  11. Greenpeace extends its protests to French atomic tests in French Polynesia. They hold their position 15 Knots from the atoll for many weeks, until they hear an explosion. They are unaware that radioactive dust is now falling near them. 2 yours later, a French warship rams them in international waters. The damage is such that the crew must be towed to Moruroa.

  12. Fundamental change in waste disposal methods - instead of 50,000 smaller dumps, c. 1,000 larger landfills are used.

  13. Since 1972, the European Union (formerly the European Community) has passed over 200 guidelines and directives, which belong to the core sources of environmental law in member states.

  14. This programme was initiated by a decision at the UN Environmental Conference in Stockholm. It aims to support national action and regional cooperation in conservation and environmental protection, as well as developing, evaluating and monitoring international conservation and environmental law. It initiates regional programmes, advises governments, funds training and has produced reports and databases to support these projects. Prof. Klaus Töpfer, the former German environment minister has been its executive director since February 1998.

  15. Greenpeace protests against US government atomic tests in the ship "Phyllis". The test continues, but provokes public anger, with demonstrations, strikes and threatened boycotts in Canada and the USA. 4 months later, the US Atomic Energy Commission announces the abandonment of the test series.

  16. The German government's first environmental programme includes support for green technological advances, research and training, and an international approach to environmental problems. An Advisory Scientific Council (the SRU) is also set up.

  17. The reserves were identified as such in the UNESCO programme "Man and Biospheres" (MAB). The key goal is to create a global network of reserves for the conservation and sustainable use of the natural world in large representative sections of natural and cultivated landscapes. Another aim is to explore the relationship between humans and the environment, monitor the environment and raise public awareness.

  18. The first Red List of Threatened Breeding Birds of Germany was published in 1971.

  19. Discovery that nitrogen oxides can deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, thereby exposing the Earth's surface to excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

  20. The first international environmental authority, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, is run by an administrator with cabinet rank, although without the status of a minister.