environmental history

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From the director: Earth Day and the next 40 years

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

SERC director Anson 'Tuck' Hines

Anson 'Tuck' Hines, director of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

This spring we celebrate the 40th Earth Day – an anniversary marking a journey of commitment for me and others at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. For the first Earth Day in 1970, I was a new graduate student at University of California, Berkeley. Then as now, it was a raucous time with the country at war and intense focus on civil rights and the role of government.

The first Earth Day developed as a grassroots movement with teach-ins focused on the environment. I focused on a career in ecology, but Earth Day inspired my commitment to solutions for human impacts on the biosphere. In the ivory tower of Berkeley, applied research was then portrayed as a lower calling to “pure research.” But I was committed to merging fundamental ecology applied to human impacts, now a hallmark of SERC research.
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