tv Origins of Environmental Consumerism CSPAN September 23, 2017 8:00pm-8:50pm EDT
our, visit c-span.org/history. you're watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend. to join the conversation like us on face look. next, temple university besser and your eisenberg -- professor andrew eisenberg describes the key america beautiful campaign. this class is 45 minutes. >> good morning. i'm going to start off with a brief one minute video. this ran for the first time in
>> some people have a deep respect for the natural beauty that was once this country. some people don't. people start pollution. people can stop it. that is pretty crazy, isn't it? what do you think? initial reactions? i will get to that in a minute. it was a heart-wrenching image for a lot of americans back then. is nothingerg: there ironic about how that was presented. thehe contrast of how native americans view the environment. prof. isenberg: other thoughts
about this? [inaudible] i was hopingg: somebody would say that. the first 20 seconds of the advertisement you would not realize this is set in a modern time. iron eyes is paddling a canoe down the river. a highway.is there is all this garbage. other thoughts? this was the early 1970's. casual --e more comfortable with this casual ethnic stereotyping. part of that stereotyping is the indian as ecological saint.
cursory, kind of stereo typical way. the only other thing that always strikes me, when that guy is driving by and puts his hand out the window, by the time it lands, it is a weeks worth of household trash. it is all over the place. there is something very strange about that. this ad had an extraordinary effect on people of a certain age. people of my age. we all knew this as children. we didn't know the actor in the video called themselves -- called himself iron eyes cody. his parents were migrants from sicily.
iron eyes cody and his brothers migrated to southern california in the 1920's, found work in the film industry as stuntmen. filmsyes cody did 200 starting in the 1920's. he found himself playing an indian on film because he was dark haired and dark featured. he started to claim that he was an indian. cherokee and creed. he stuck to that story until he died. keep america beautiful organization was a group but together by big corporations. phillip morris, anheuser-busch, pepsi. they started organizing after the first interstate highways when not. after they came online the size of those highways were strewn
with later. a lot of the litter on those ,ighways are cigarette butts and coke cans. the things that these corporations are selling. irony ofart of the early 1970's environmentalism. consumerism led to pollution. the industries that produce the packaging marshaled the same advertising agencies to sell their products to sell the idea that it was a virtuous to clean up those products. it takes a wild to unpack that. the way inny is which the noble savage ideal of native americans was pressed into service to sell products and to sell environmentalism. iron eyes cody is not the only questionable indian being invoked by the environmental
movement. the other one is chief seattle. that image of that native american there is not chief seattle. anyone know who that is? i don't expect you to. that is sitting bull. they present that as if it is chief seattle. some environmentalists like to caricature indians as ecological saints. that ad is doing that. the opinion of this is the infamous speech attributed to chief seattle. sometimes it is a letter, written in 1854 or addressed to the president of the united states at the time. it is a standard reading at earth day celebrations. some of you are probably familiar with it. the earth is our mother. i have seen a thousand rotting
buffaloes on the prairie. will happen when all of the buffalo are slaughtered? it goes on from there. is an indian born in 1786. 68 years old at the time of this speech. he made considerable adaptations to your american culture. at the time of this speech. he owned eight slaves. in the had been practice pacific northwest among these indian groups. ofause he was thinking himself as a good american, when emancipationhe proclamation he freed his slaves. in 1853 he delivered a speech to a man named isaac stevens.
he delivered that speech in his native language. it was translated into a trade dialect a combination of english and russian, used to the scylla tate communication and trade. -- to facilitate communication and trade. henry smith attended the conference. his translation of the speech has none of these references to the buffalo or the whippoorwill. if you look at other speeches written down, they are rather mundane things, hoping the united states will hold onto its treaty organizations. it is not surprising he would mention these things. the buffalo was probably never seen there.
the slaughter of the buffalo didn't start until the late 1860's. allegedly refers to people shooting bison from trains. that had not happened yet. the first transcontinental railroad is not completed until 1868. where did this come from? it came from a speech writer, a screenwriter. he taught at middlebury college. he wrote a screenplay for a film about ecology. he essentially made up or invented what seattle said. his speech was further .mbellished and became a letter it became a children's book. fogelman, the president
of the press that publish this, when told about the , for wantcity, said of a cheap -- tape recorder, maybe we have a book that will change children's views about the environment. the creator of the illustration of the book said i don't know what he said the native american people live this philosophy and that is what is important. i will give some credit to that point of view. there is not a single native american culture. there are hundreds native american cultures. most of them practice ecological hunting and gathering. think about incorporating them. the beans replace nitrogen in the soil. they restrain their hunting. they regarded animals as animate
spirits. general to a sustainable practice. at the same time, native americans are human beings and they made mistakes. at certain points california indians over hunted deer. caribou. plains indians over hunted bison. they did good things and bad. the indian as environmentalism is basically a noble savage myth that imagines culturally static people living in permanent harmony with nature. i want to argue that the noble savage environmentalist was a product that was sold to american consumers like big macs or cars. that, we have to talk about pollution.
this ad is a message about pollution. what is pollution? it, theto think about resources we get in nature that we don't use. the particulates emitted into the atmosphere in the process of steelmaking are the iron door that are wasted. they go into the atmosphere. they are emitted when refrigerators are decommissioned. solid waste is packaging we don't use. in the postwar consumer economy we are told to consume and consume. waste is the result. pollution is not the concern of the producers. they incorporate into the cost of their product the waste and pass that on to the consumer. pollution, it can impair your health. also hurt your
health. the biggest pollution problem currently is climate change. i will to talk reedley about that. the united states -- i want to talk recently about that. there was a huge jump after the second world war, people stopped public -- riding transportation. 1990 the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased to 352 parts per million, the highest concentration in a hundred thousand years. rose to1990 and 2011 it 392 parts per million. greenhouseide is a
asked that traps heat. dioxide warmsrbon the earth. the earth has become one degree warmer over the last 100 years. , it the last 12,000 years takes a thousand years for the temperature to change. we have done in 100. the earth is getting warmer at a rapid pace. there are other times of warning that had nothing to do with industrial pollution. there was an ice age. the earth was warmer. the earth does go through warming and cooling on its own. sometimes people will that fact and say therefore what is happening with carbon emissions is not what is causing global warming. those are not mutually exclusive arguments. if the earth is getting warmer
on its own, the last thing we want to do is contribute to that by adding carbon into the atmosphere. carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps heat, warms the earth surface. we need some of that. enoughwarmed the earth to form lakes and rivers. the natural background is a point to be .03%. most is composed of nitrogen and oxygen. what causes excess amounts is the burning of fossil fuels. 80% is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. the rest comes from other sources. deforestation. trees are pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. entries are burned carbon is released. the burning of the wood and
other things releases methane. gasre potent sheet trapping than carbon dioxide. the amount of methane in the atmosphere is more than doubled since 1750. what are the effects? crop failure. this is nothing new. if it gets too warm your going to have a drought. the dust all of the 1930's was a huge crop they'll year -- failure caused by drought. rising global temperatures were first noticed in the 1980's, 1988. it was so hot in the midwest there was widespread crop failure. masked because of increased use of fertilizer. you can't really see it because we are dumping more and more fertilizer on things.
forests burning down in the west. wildfires. thests were so dry in 1980's lightning started fires that torched large parts of yellowstone national park. i was there. i swear i did not do it. i was able to see the park before the fire happened. you can still see the effects of the fire that swept through that part. according to the scripps institution of oceanography, global warming has contributed to wildfires in the western united states and made them worse. the number of wildfires has increased by a factor of four. the area were and has increased by that same factor as well. wildfire season is five weeks longer. , hurricanesct
pre-tropical storms have been numerous and powerful. the storms draw their energy from the heat in the ocean. if the ocean is warmer the storms are going to be more powerful. and 2006, the number of category 4 storms has doubled. arctic sea ice. what this does, it leads to the extinction of certain species who live in polar regions. it is disappearing at a rate of 9% per decade. bearars ago 60% of polar cubs reached the age of 12 area now only 42%. all of these effects are so recent it is hard to say is this a trend? is this something that may shift in the other direction? it is impossible to say.
much of this is speculative. it is a warning of what might happen. even though we have halted greenhouse gases -- moved back some of that, we still have to deal with the effects of it in the atmosphere because a law has been released. that is going to continue to warm the atmosphere. discussedl warming is in the media it is often talked about as if there is a global average. warmer,enheit degree that is not going to make that much difference. we have to realize it does not happen uniformly across the planet. you produce more rain in the tropics. rising sea levels and coastal regions. high latitude regions experience more warming. polar areas would be hit the
worst. 2-3 times warming. the tropics get 50-60% warmer. some places might get colder. northern europe is warmed by the gulf stream. thatice may change the way works. offset the may things going on. this is such a depressing story. i'm going to give you three happy stories about how pollution has been mitigated. the first one, particulates. air pollution contains a lot of particulates. that are, coal admitted. every year in the united states this pollution kills a hundred thousand people. it used to be worse before the clean air act, which was amended
in the 70's and 1990. a recent report has argued that clean air act saved 160,000 lives just in 2010, and that amount every year. work days.llion lost worked.n air act has as a public health measure, one of the most successful public health laws in the united states . ozone is a naturally occurring molecule. three oxygen atoms. background level it is small. it is harmful. in the stratosphere it absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun. air pollution breaks down the ozone layer and then holes develop. the chief culprits in breaking down the ozone layer are more
affordable carbons. in theupont used to use manufacture of freon, and dow chemical used to make styrofoam. ultraviolet light, when it reaches the earth's surface dry out, it skin to can cause cancer and cataracts. it might inhibit the human immune system. here is the happy part. cfcs are on the decline thanks andhe clean air act in 1990 two in international agreement called the montréal protocol that has undergone several amendments since then. 196 countries have signed it. ozone holes that have developed have started to close. acid rain. a strange sentence to say.
there have been improvements in this. when coal that is high in sulfur is burned the sulfur is released. when gasoline is burned, nitrogen compounds are released. when sulfur and nitrogen combined with oxygen you get assets. the acids are washed from the atmosphere and enter groundwater. this is the case in industrial regions in the northern hemisphere. canada, new york, northern europe. acid rain and snow has killed tens of thousands of lakes, raising the acidity level to the point where microorganisms, small fish could not live in them anymore. in 2005 congress passed a cap and trade law.
of acidmain causes rain. in missions have dropped 40%. there is even stricter legislation in europe. they have managed to have these drop by 75%. if you can have cap and trade law by nitrogen and sulfur dioxide you can have a cap and trade for co2 emissions. all right. let me move on to solid waste. so, fresh kills landfill, it was in staten island. it is now covered with earth. it closed in 2001. by the time it closed, it's volume was 25 times that of the great pyramid at giza.
solid waste is a problem. mostly a problem of where to put it. most garbage used to be burned. that created bad air quality. the clean air act addressed that. 1970, burning of garbage was prohibited. people try to figure where to put it. that is when disposal of solid waste started to become a problem. come from?he holes nobody thought about this. you won't know. in 1956 congress passed the interstate highway act. $30 billion to build highways. to build these highways contractors needed a lot of your. you need dirt to build on ramps and off ramps. weird you get this? people would
just dig up a huge hole in the ground. enterprising contractors went to these and bought them for next to nothing. ground?ed a hole in the then they started marking them as places to dump garbage. whaty thought hard about was going to happen when you put a large of -- a lot of garbage in them. they were not lined. early on in the history of the epa, the epa did a study of public water systems supplied by groundwater. i% were contaminated chemicals. this was stuff that seeped out of solace -- solid waste dumps. ever wonder what is in garbage
dumps? i'm going to give you a list of a few things. there. that is going to add up to 100%. give me a guess. throw some percentages out there. what is the biggest weighing? >> plastic. >> one vote for plastic. what else do you think? waste. and yard >> other stuff. other stuff is 15%. >> disposable diapers. why? >> there is a lot of them. they are bulky.
there's a lot of trash going out. it is people who change diapers who don't forget about the disposable diapers. what percentage would you put on the diapers? more than 50? >> 25 or 30. other thoughts? >> medal. >> because? [inaudible] >> i didn't hear anybody say paper. paper is the biggest thing in u.s. landfills. the easiest thing to recycle. i have six things on there. what is the thing that is contributing least? least?
metal? , guys. it is disposable diapers, 2%. plastic about 18%, papers 40%. food and yard waste, other stuff. why does everyone think it is diapers? that is interesting. why do people think diapers make up so much of u.s. landfills? if you have ever changed a diaper, you are like, this has got to be it. yeah. >> [indiscernible] andrew isenberg: yeah, not a disposable one. that is the whole point. >> with the exception of other stuff, everything else on that list is some something we have a solution to. you can recycle paper. andrew isenberg: there is no solution to diapers -- people used to use cloth diapers. at the beginning of the decade of environmentalism, most babies
are wearing cloth diapers. disposable diapers shoot up during the decade of environmentalism. there are a lot of reasons for this. is thathe big reasons women start going to work. children who are still in diapers start going to daycare centers. there was no rule of about this, but the understanding what they are going to a daycare, they are in disposable diapers. so i am not saying this about you guys, but the general feeling that a lot of what is in landfills is composed of disposable diapers, there is a gender thing about how this is not the way things should be and used to be, there is a proper role for women at home, they should be taking care of this. at any rate, one of the things that interests me is during this environmental decade, people are taking to this product which is about convenience and is more
expensive to use and less environmentally sensible. so half of what is in u.s. landfills is paper. that is the shocking thing. recycling certainly helps. the 1980's was the height of garbage production in the united states. recycling is not started yet. in the 1980's americans through a 150 million tons of garbage a year. i remember as a college student my eyesome, having been opened it to this, i told my parents they need to separate paper, glass, aluminum, they looked at me like i was insane. they were educated and liberally minded, but this never occurred to people at that time. recycling has had an effect. that is the case. today americans produce 100 million tons of garbage or year. that is good. .hat is extraordinary
one of the things pressing on people to be more sensible is a changing economy. a lot of this is the oil embargo , the oil prices that happened in 1970 and 74. in 1973, arab countries met in kuwait, decided to raise the price of oil from three dollars a barrel to five dollars a barrel. they wanted to punish the united states for supporting israel in the 1973 arab-israeli war. then they met at a summit in and raised then price. oil-producing countries raise their income from or billion dollars in 1920 to $60 billion in 1974. for western europe and the united states, 1972, it had cost them $20 billion to import.
in 1974 it cost $100 billion. devastating inflation, up above 10%. that they same time were rising the price of this, these countries that are this were alson cutting exports for the embargo part. by the summer of this were 1974f american gas stations had no fuel to sell. driversining stations, have long lines, there was rationing, what a lot of states and municipalities did was different days of the week depending on your license plate, you can only fill up on one of those days. thisers were frustrated by . there was a brief and violent strike by truckers in december 1973. so it is no accident recycling
began in a significant way in the 1970's. fuel costs raised the prices of everything, and industries that relied on fuel look for ways to cut costs. recycled aluminum cost 5% of what virgin aluminum costs. when she will becomes a big considerate -- fuel becomes a big consideration, they start looking for recycling. fuel efficiency and automobile starts to change. -- in automobiles starts to change. 16 miles per gallon. that seems wasteful, but it was an improvement at the time. 1970's, think back to iron eyes cody and using this noble savage imagery to sell environmentalism, in the 1970's there is this idea we will continue to consume, but we will do it in this environmentally sensitive way.
so there is an increasing claim by corporations that their products are environmentally sensible. in 1986, 1% of consumer products on the market made an environmental claim. that was up to 4% in 1989, 10% the mid-1990's, but household products, 25% of products claim to be good for the environment. it is hard to tell whether these products are in fact good. you would know this if you go to any supermarket and go down the aisle, there is the organic, there is the safe the environment, there is small print on the labels. it is hard to judge, and there are certain things that were fraudulent in this respect. let me show you this 30-second ad that makes a similar use of a kind of native american claim to environmental sensitivity to advance a product that has nothing to do with the
environment. we knew there would be a glitch. i was going to show you a 1976 , which had a oil woman claiming to be an indian speaking in a kind of grave tone about when we called it maize and we lived here before people came. i am going to have to refer you to youtube since embedding it in the powerpoint didn't work. up.me sum this consumer driven environmentalism has some lapse. it helps with recycling, but it has also been used to sell products that have nothing to do with recycling. what is the answer? you have to go back to what i said at the beginning of the
lecture. pollution is made up of resources that are poorly or briefly used. we need to use natural resources more efficiently so not to produce so much trash. the packaging industry produces all plastic all plastic waste. think of what is in landfills. 40% is paper, 18% is plastic. this is recyclable. so you can reuse and recycle what some people have said, you can reduce coverage -- garbage production by 10%, something like 50% of consumer waste. it takes regulation. it can be done without reducing standard of living in the least curious question -- in the least. questions? >> the numbers that came off, -- aath in landfills
relatively big portion is [indiscernible] how well those numbers represented what is going in now compared to what is already in there. andrew isenberg: you are still pushing for the diapers. >> you are pretty sure -- andrew isenberg: most of it is still paper as far as i know. yeah. 1970's, countries raised the price of oil because we supported israel? andrew isenberg: mm-hmm. that was the jump in oil prices --19 avenue three, 19 said 1973, 1974. they have been underselling this product to western europe and the united states for a long time, and they could profit much price --hey raise the
raised the price. good job again around the iranian revolution, and -- it jumped again around the iranian revolution. there is another year of double-digit inflation at the end of the 1970's. there were a lot of factors. it was not just the arab-israeli war. it was just the initial impetus. they quickly morphed into other things. yeah. regarding the clean air act and lives saved versus lives lost, what has been the impact of more and more landfills compared to the people that died from the burning solid waste? andrew isenberg: you are better off with that garbage in a landfill, absolutely. absolutely. that being said, the big impact of the clean air act has been to
reduce particulate and to reduce sulfur. one of the things about the pushed coalt is it production to some extent from appalachia to the west. the eastern coal is high in sulfur. coal that is found in the western united states is low sulfur, and the clean air act basically held coal-fired power plants or industries that use coal, either you had to use low sulfur coal or install in's -- install expensive scrubbers. there was a real shift to low sulfur coal coming out of the american west. 90% of coal that is coming out of the american west, federally owned land in the american west, comes from the powder river basin on the wyoming-my time --
wyoming-montana border. there is a huge amount of coal is produced there. if you added up the coal in the powder river basin produces, if it were its own country and you added up all that coal and is being burned around 200 electricity plants around the united states, and you made the powder river and -- river its own country it would be the sixth largest contributor to global warming in the world. so one of the side effects of the clean air act -- it is unbalanced, but there are unintended consequences. it pushed coal production to another part of the united states, then you have to deal with that problem. yes. >> you mentioned how polar bear cubs don't live as long now, but the polar bear properly -- population is in general going
up. you mentioned the arctic sea ice is melting, but antarctica is expanding. why is it like the most contradictory effect? andrew isenberg: what i said was that fewer cubs make it to age 12. i don't know about the antarctic. i can to you about the arctic where the sea ice is melting. there are times at which in the summer particularly the ice caps are not there, you can sail through. it is a problem for the polar bears because they sort of have s toive on the ice floe hunt the seals. that is why more of them are disappearing or more don't make it to its age. why is the antarctic going up? i don't know, you will have to tell me. yes. >> the difference between global
warming and climate change. changeisenberg: climate is maybe technically the more accurate term because what we are seeing is not just average temperature going up but also more volatility in the system. so technically that is perhaps the more accurate term to college. -- two call it. the big underlying temperature -- problem is temperature is going up. there is a lot of complexity. it is going up faster in some places and not enough in others. you mentioned native americans were net related -- were manipulated and per trade as ecological saint. i wonder if that started with the environmental movement were earlier? andrew isenberg: it has roots
earlier. backgoes back, that goes to our oldest national myths of squanto and pocahontas, noble savage myths about good native americans who did what they could to help the colonists come in. repurposed to say something about the environment. ok, good. thank you very much. i was you next week. -- i will see you next week. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer 1: join us every saturday evening at eight ago p.m. and midnight eastern as we join students -- 8:00 p.m. as we join students ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. lectures in history are available as podcasts.
visit our website, c-span.org/history/. -- history/podcasts. announcer 2: an interview with eric draper, a chief photographer for george w. bush during the years he served. here is a preview. me, this is nine months into the job. i was learning a lot about traveling with the president. iron classroom and i see that moment. see his face change, something was very wrong. classroomto the behind that second classroom there was a hold room. that is where the president and
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