The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 1960 and 1969 Deselect

  1. Unrecognised offenders discharged highly toxic Thiodan into the river Rhine near Bingen which caused the decease of at least 40 million whitings and eels downstream in Germany and the Netherlands.

  2. The first environmental ministry at state (Land) level is set up in Bavaria.

  3. The Federal Home Office gains a department of the environment.

  4. From 4-13 September 1968, an intergovernmental conference of experts took place at UNESCO House in Paris on 'the scientific basis for the rational use and conservation of the resources of the biosphere'. The 'Biosphere Conference', as it became to be known, was organized by UNESCO, with the active participation of the United Nations, FAO and WHO , and in co-operation with IUCN and ICSU's International Biological Programme (IBP). More than 300 delegates from 60 countries took part, coming from a wide variety of scientific fields, management and diplomacy. This was the first world-wide meeting at the intergovernmental level to adopt a series of recommendations concerning environmental problems and to highlight their growing importance and their global nature. The conference was the occasion on which the n ow familiar word 'biosphere' made its entry into international life and where it w o n its recognition in our present language, having been confined previously to those limited circles familiar with the writings of Vernadsky or Teilhard de Chardin.

  5. The Club of Rome is founded to debate emerging global problems. The key impulse came from Aurelio Peccei (1908 - 1984), along with Alexander King, Dennis Gabor, and later Hasan Ozbekhan.

  6. On 21 January 1968, a US B-52 bomber with several nuclear weapons on board crashed near the Thule Air Base in North-Western Greenland, releasing several kilos of weapons grade plutonium. The plutonium contaminated the immediate snow and ice at the crash site and was carried by high winds and water over an extensive area.

  7. c. 120,000 t oil are spilt from the Torrey Canyon and cause the largest oil slick to date off the British, French and Dutch coasts.

  8. Since a pulp and paper combine came into operation on the south bank, the Epischura, 98% of the zooplankton mass, and one of the first links in the food chain, have died out. This has seriously upset the ecological balance of the lake.

  9. Owing to methyl mercury pollution in water, the Swedish Medical Board prohibits consumption of fish from 40 lakes and rivers. The source of the pollution is thought to be seed treated with mercury.

  10. Naturopa is an organ of the Council of Europe (all its member states are also members of Naturopa). Its particular goal is to improve public awareness of the environment and nature conservation in Europe.

  11. On September 18, 1966 the tanker Seestern lost 1,700 tons of crude diesel oil which was quickly pushed by winds and tides onto the Medway Estuary, UK, affecting some 8,000 acres of wetlands. An estimated total of 5,000 birds were killed by this oil spill.

  12. The "Anne Mildred Brovig" spills c. 20,000 t oil.

  13. A U.S. B52 bomber collided with KC-135 tanker during mid-air flight refuelling over the coast of Spain. The tanker was completely destroyed in the incident, while the B52 broke apart, spilling four hydrogen bombs from its broken fuselage. The non-nuclear weapons in two of the bombs detonated on impact with the ground, contaminating of a 490 acre area with radioactive plutonium. One of the devices was recovered from the Mediterranean Sea.

  14. The European Diploma of Protected Areas is a prestigious international award granted since 1965 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to protected, natural and semi-natural areas and landscapes of special European importance for the preservation of biological, geological and landscape diversity. The Diploma is awarded to protected areas because of their outstanding scientific, cultural or aesthetic qualities, but they must also be the subject of a suitable conservation scheme. The first areas to be awarded the Diploma were the Camargue National Reserve (France), the Peak District National Park (United Kingdom) and the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium).

  15. The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations, adopted in 1961, provides humanitarian aid in emergencies, but also supports long-term economic development to ensure independent food supplies.

  16. Marine biologist Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, calling attention to the threat of toxic chemicals to people and the environment.

  17. World Day for Laboratory Animals is a United Nations recognized day of international commemoration of the suffering and killing of millions of innocent sentient beings in laboratories throughout the world.

  18. "Silent Spring", a book by US biologist Rachel Louise Carson (1907 - 1964) is published. The German translation appears in 1970, and has a major impact on public opinion, to some extent initiating the environmental debate.

  19. On 13 December 1961, the British tanker the Allegrity ran aground off the coast of Caerhays, near Saint Austell in the Channel. 800 tonnes of petroleum were spilled in the incident.

  20. The World Wide Fund (as it is still known in USA and Canada) is founded. It now has 4.7 million members (individual and organisations) worldwide. Its goals are the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity, through conservation of species and habitats, and changes in consumer behaviour.

  21. In June 1961, electricity generated by nuclear power is fed into the public grid for the first time in the Federal Republic of Germany from the Kahl Nuclear Power Plant.

  22. The Aral Sea has shrunk to 2/3 of its original size, and has almost been split in two. Natural inflow from the Amu Darja and Syr Darja has been cut off by irrigation systems. The sea is becoming oversalinated, fish populations are falling. Since pesticides flow into the sea, the food which gains water from the Aral is also contaminated. Mammal mortality in the region is on the rise, as is anaemia. The overall climate in the area has become more continental.