50 năm ngày trái đất – 50 years of progress and setbacks since the first Earth Day

Nationalgeographic.com

2020: 50 năm ngày Trái Đất | 7,7 tỷ dân
2019: Cháy rừng ở Úc
2019: Cháy rừng nhiệt đới Amazon
2019: Bánh Burger kẹp “Thịt nhân tạo” đã trở thành trào lưu ăn uống mới.
2018: Dân số thế giới đạt 7,6 tỷ dân
2017: Nước Anh nói không với than đá
2016: Loài động vật có vú đầu tiên bị tuyệt chủng vì biến đổi khí hậu
2016: Thềm băng khổng lồ Larsen C có dấu hiệu bị nứt
2015: Thế giới đạt Thoả thuận khí hậu lịch sử tại Paris
2012: Băng biển Bắc Cực ở mức thấp kỷ lục
2012: Siêu bão Sandy tàn phá New York
2011: Thảm hoạ kép động đất sóng thần ở Fukushima Nhật Bản
2010: Vụ nổ giàn khoan dầu Deepwater Horizon
2008: Ngân hàng hạt giống toàn cầu
2008: Ô tô điện đã trở nên thật sàng điệu
2006: Hội chứng mũi trắng khiến dơi chết hàng loạt
2006: Số lượng tổ ong mật giảm mạnh
2006: Săn vi cá mập lấy vây cá – Món súp vi cá mập quét sạch hơn 73 triệu con cá mập mỗi năm
2006: Sự trỗi dậy của Trung Quốc
2006: Rác thải nguy hại tại Bờ Biển Ngà gây ô nhiễm nghiêm trọng
2006: Phim đề tài môi trường của Al Gore đạt giải thưởng danh giá
2005: Cơn bão Katrina
2002: Thềm băng Larsen B sụp đổ một phần
2002: Bang California thúc đẩy sử dụng năng lượng mặt trời
2000: Cách mạng hybrid
1999: Gạo vàng biến đổi gen
1997: Nghị định thư Kyoto
1997: Lời khải huyền của loài lưỡng cư
1996: Mỹ cấm pha chì vào xăng
1995: Số lượng đại bàng đầu trắng được hồi phục
1995: Loài sói được đưa trở lại công viên quốc gia Yellowstone
1995: Suy giảm, mất rừng Amazon
1991: Cháy dầu Kuwait
1991: Nỗ lực thành công mang những chú chồn Ferrets trở lại
1990: Cuộc chiến chống lại các cơn mưa axit
1990: Báo cáo đầu tiên của IPPC
1990: Nhiều nước ký lệnh cấm quốc tế về buôn bán ngà voi
1990: Dân số thế giới đạt ngưỡng 5,3 tỷ dân
1989: Thảm hoạ tràn dầu của tàu Exxon Valdez
1988: Ảnh hưởng của hiệu ứng nhà kính được phát hiện
1987: Nghị định thư MONTREAL
1987: Giải cứu Kền Kền
1986: Thảm họa Chernobyl
1985 Phát hiện lỗ hổng Ozon
1980: Chương trình Superfund khởi động
1980 Khu bảo tồn hoang dã Alaska được bảo vệ
1980 dân số thế giới đạt 4,5 tỷ
1979: Thảm họa hạt nhân tại đảo Three Mile
1978: Thảm hoạ rò rỉ hoá chất độc hại ở Love Canal
1976: Sự cố nhà máy hóa chất ở Seveso, nước Ý
1972: Làm sạch các con sông
1973: Bảo tồn các loài
1972: Bảo vệ các loài động vật có vú dưới biển (thú biển)
1972: Hoa Kỳ cấm thuốc bảo vệ thực vật
1970: Đại hiến chương môi trường MAGNA CARTA
1970: Ngày Trái Đất đầu tiên | 3,68 tỷ dân

This story is part of our special issue on Earth Day. Read the rest of our stories here.

SINCE THE FIRST Earth Day in 1970, the United States and nations around the world have made significant progress in protecting the environment.

However, there is much work to be done, and new challenges have emerged. In this timeline, we examine the progress—and the setbacks—over the past 50 years.

1970: World population reaches 3.7 billion.

1970: FIRST EARTH DAY
On April 22, an estimated 20 million people march in U.S. streets to call attention to the urgent need for environmental protections.

PHOTOGRAPH BY NASA

1970: “ENVIRONMENTAL MAGNA CARTA”
The National Environmental Policy Act takes effect in the U.S. It requires environmental impact assessments for federally permitted projects such as roads and dams.

1972: CLEANING UP RIVERS
The Clean Water Act regulates pollution and leads to major cleanups in U.S. rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, and coastal areas. Some even become fishable and swimmable again.

1972: U.S. BANS NOTORIOUS PESTICIDE
Silent Spring had called for it; the new EPA does it: DDT is declared to be dangerous to wildlife, the environment, and potentially humans.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES P. BLAIR

1972: DEFENDING MARINE MAMMALS
The Marine Mammal Protection Act shields declining populations—whalesdolphinsseals, and manatees—from hunting and harassment in U.S. waters. Their numbers begin a decades-long recovery.

PHOTOGRAPH BY ALASKA STOCK IMAGES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAGE COLLECTION

1973: SAVING SPECIES
The Endangered Species Act limits encroachment on the habitat of listed animals and plants. It prevents extinctions—but is attacked for infringing on property rights.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM AND JAMIE DUTCHER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

1976: CHEMICAL PLANT ACCIDENT IN SEVESO, ITALY
Toxic vapors expose thousands of people to some of the highest dioxin levels ever recorded.

PHOTOGRAPH BY MARKA, GETTY IMAGES

1978: LOVE CANAL FUROR
Buried toxic chemicals sicken hundreds of residents in the community of Love Canal, near Niagara Falls, New York, calling attention to the dangers of industrial waste.

1979: THREE MILE ISLAND
A partial meltdown at a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant kills no one—but sours many Americans on nukes.

1980: World population reaches 4.5 billion.

1980: ALASKA WILDLANDS PROTECTED
The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act sets aside more than 100 million acres of wilderness in national parks, preserves, and refuges.

1980: SUPERFUND PROGRAM LAUNCHED
The fund enables the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up hazardous waste sites. Polluters must perform the cleanup or pay for it.

PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL MELFORD, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAGE COLLECTION

1985: DISCOVERY OF THE OZONE HOLE
Scientists detect severe depletion (red) of the protective ozone layer above Antarctica. The culprits: chlorofluorocarbons and other chemicals.

PHOTOGRAPH BY NASA

1986: CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR ACCIDENT
A nuclear reactor explodes at the Chernobyl power plant in the Soviet Union. The blast and radiation kill 30 and force the evacuation of nearly 1,100 square miles—raising more doubts about nuclear power.

PHOTOGRAPH BY AP IMAGES

1987: RESCUING CONDORS
The last 27 California condors are taken into captivity for breeding. A long recovery begins; today more than 200 live in the wild once again.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTO ARK

  

1987: MONTREAL PROTOCOL
World leaders agree to phase out ozone-depleting substances just a few years after the ozone hole is found. All nations ratify the treaty.

1988: GREENHOUSE EFFECT DETECTED
NASA climatologist James Hansen tells the U.S. Congress that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases released by the burning of fossil fuels are already warming the planet.

1989: “EXXON VALDEZ”
The supertanker spills 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska.

PHOTOGRAPH BY NATALIE B. FOBES

1990: World population reaches 5.3 billion.

1990: BAN ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ELEPHANT IVORY
It briefly slows poaching of African elephants. By 2016 Kenya is burning ivory to deter poaching.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES

1990: FIRST IPCC PROJECTION
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues its initial global warming report. Over the next quarter century, its forecasts mostly come true.

1990: FIGHTING ACID RAIN
Amendments to the U.S. Clean Air Act help reduce acid rain and ozone depletion, require cleaner gasoline, and target toxic emissions and urban air pollution.

1991: BRINGING FERRETS BACK
Black-footed ferrets, once extinct in the wild, are reintroduced to the American West by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists after a captive-breeding program. They remain endangered.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTO ARK

  

1991: KUWAIT OIL FIRES
As the Persian Gulf War winds down, Iraq sets more than 600 Kuwaiti oil wells on fire. Some 1.5 billion barrels of oil are burned or spilled.

1995: AMAZON FOREST LOSS
The deforestation rate rises dramatically, mostly to create cattle pasture, presaging a surge in Brazilian beef exports. Beef becomes a prime driver of rainforest destruction.

1995: WOLVES RETURN TO YELLOWSTONE
Reintroduced to the national park, gray wolves help rebalance an ecosystem suffering from an overpopulation of elk.

1995: BALD EAGLE RECOVERY
The American national bird is reclassified from endangered to merely threatened. Later it is delisted completely—one of about 90 animal and plant species so far to reach that goal.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN EASTCOTT AND YVA MOMATIUK, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAGE COLLECTION

  

1996: LEADED GAS BAN IN U.S.
It caps a long phaseout that caused blood lead levels to plummet. Most of Europe follows in 2000.

PHOTOGRAPH BY SARAH LEEN

1997: AMPHIBIAN APOCALYPSE
Scientists confirm that the skin-eating chytrid fungus spread by humans has been killing hundreds of varieties of frogs and salamanders. Ninety species have gone extinct to date, making it one of the most destructive known pathogens.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE

1997: KYOTO PROTOCOL
To address climate change, 37 nations and the European Community pledge to cut CO2 emissions. The U.S. later fails to ratify the treaty.

1999: GOLDEN RICE
Rice is genetically engineered with vitamin A to boost nutrition in the diets of Africans and Asians.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CRAIG CUTLER

2000: World population reaches 6.1 billion.

2000: THE HYBRID REVOLUTION
Toyota’s Prius, the first mass-produced car with both a gasoline engine and an electric motor, arrives in the U.S. and becomes an icon of fuel efficiency.

2002: CALIFORNIA GOES SOLAR
The state commits to getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2017. It exceeds the target—and raises it to 100 percent by 2045.

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID GUTTENFELDER

2002: LARSEN B ICE SHELF COLLAPSES
A NASA satellite documents the breakup in a month of a 1,250-square-mile ice shelf floating off the rapidly warming Antarctic Peninsula.

2005: HURRICANE KATRINA
America’s costliest storm kills 1,833 people and floods 80 percent of New Orleans.

2006: AL GORE’S MOVIE
An Inconvenient Truth helps raise public awareness about the threat of climate change and wins an Academy Award for best documentary feature. But the moment passes without significant progress in addressing the threat.

PHOTOGRAPH BY PARAMOUNT CLASSICS/PHOTOFEST

2006: TOXIC WASTE IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE
Waste containing hydrogen sulphide and other chemicals is dumped near the port city of Abidjan. It kills 15 and sickens 100,000.

2006: CHINA RISING
With soaring coal use fueling a booming economy, China passes the U.S. to become the largest emitter of CO2. Its per capita emissions remain far lower.

2006: SHARK FINNING
Scientists calculate that 26 million to 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins. The shocking numbers raise alarm about shark populations.

2006: HONEYBEE COLONIES COLLAPSE
Beekeepers begin reporting the mysterious disappearance of worker bees, which is leading to the collapse of many colonies.

PHOTOGRAPH BY INGO ARNDT

2006: WHITE-NOSE SYNDROME
fungus starts killing millions of American bats of several species, including endangered little brown bats.

PHOTOGRAPH BY STEPHEN ALVAREZ

2008: ELECTRIC CARS GET COOL
Tesla Motors, founded in 2003, releases its first car, the completely electric two-door Roadster. In company tests, the sports car travels 245 miles on a single charge, an unprecedented range for a mass-produced electric car.

PHOTOGRAPH BY NATIONAL MOTOR MUSEUM, GETTY IMAGES

2008: GLOBAL SEED BANK
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opens deep inside an Arctic mountain. Operated by Norway, it can store the frozen seeds of up to 4.5 million crops as an insurance policy for future generations.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM RICHARDSON

2010: DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL
An oil rig explosion kills 11 workers and spews more than 130 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the largest spill in U.S. history.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP PHOTO

2011: FUKUSHIMA DISASTER
An earthquake and a tsunami trigger the partial meltdown of three reactors at a Japanese power plant and massive discharges of radioactive material into the air and sea.

2012: HURRICANE SANDY
New York floods; damages reach $73 billion.

2012: ARCTIC SEA ICE EXTENT
It shrinks in September to a record minimum, about two Alaska-areas less than average.

2015: PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT
Leaders of 195 nations agree to cap global warming at two degrees Celsius. Many countries later announce emissions cuts—though not enough to meet the two-degree goal. President Donald Trump announces that the U.S. will withdraw.

2016: LARSEN C ICE SHELF CRACKS
After the Larsen B collapse in 2002, the next massive ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula begins to crack—just as expected from climate change.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN SONNTAG, NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

2016: MAMMAL EXTINCTION
It’s the first caused by climate change: the Bramble Cay melomys, an Australian rodent.

2017: U.K. COAL DECLINE
For the first time since the 1880s, the home of the industrial revolution goes a day without making electricity from coal. The government aims to shut all coal plants by 2025.

2018: World population reaches 7.6 billion.

2019: MEATLESS BURGERS
…hit the mainstream.

PHOTOGRAPH BY LAURI PATTERSON, GETTY IMAGES

2019: AMAZON RAINFOREST WILDFIRES
Fires linked to deforestation blanket much of Brazil in smoke, stoking fears that parts of the rainforest could turn to dry savanna.

PHOTOGRAPH BY VICTOR MORIYAMA/GETTY IMAGES

2019: AUSTRALIAN WILDFIRES
They burn an area larger than Iceland, killing up to a billion animals.

PHOTOGRAPH BY MATTHEW ABBOTT, NEW YORK TIMES

2020: EARTH DAY TURNS 50

This story appears in the April 2020 issue of National Geographic magazine.

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