Sometimes the first #EarthDay is (mis)rembered as being focused only on suburban concerns, ignoring blue-collar workers. In fact, some speakers on #EarthDay addressed occupational hazards. This is day 2 of sharing excerpts from Earth Day 1970 speeches. #envhist #EnvHum
Here is a surprising reminder of the intersections between labor concerns and environmental concerns in the 1970s: the first collection of #EarthDay speeches, released in May 1970, was dedicated to Walter Reuther, the recently deceased president of the @UAW.
On Earth Day, Ron Linton, speaking at Hunter College, warned that workers were the first to face environmental hazards - both in factories and in farm fields - that would affect all Americans.
Speaking at SUNY-Buffalo, Adam Walinsky urged the environmental movement to focus on the concerns of workers. He pointed to black lung, silicosis, and emphysema - all hazards understudied and under-documented.
Walinsky feared that if the environmental movement did not put such concerns at the forefront, it would become the "plaything of the affluent."
As scholars including @ErikLoomis and @chadmo71 have made clear, there were powerful synergies between labor and environmental politics in the early 1970s. Those synergies, and tensions that would come to divide environmentalism, were all on display on Earth Day.
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