During the gas shortages of the 1970s, American motorists were encouraged to reduce highway speed in order to cut fuel consumption and automobile emissions. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency issued this red, white, and blue bumper sticker in the shape of a flag during the 1976 Bicentennial to promote patriotism and support for this unpopular idea.
overall: 17 in x 12 in x 7 in; 43.18 cm x 30.48 cm x 17.78 cm
The grassroots environmental movements that sprang up in America in the 1960s and early 1970s gave rise to new organizations and campaigns urging the conservation of natural resources. The A&P Grocery chain used this paper shopping bag promoting energy conservation in the mid-1970s demonstrating that even corporate America responded to the call for increased environmental awareness.
overall: 5 in x 37 in x 78 in; 12.7 cm x 93.98 cm x 198.12 cm
United States: Virginia, Warrenton
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
During his term in office, President Jimmy Carter fought for clean energy using renewable sources. As a symbol of his faith in “the power of the sun,” Carter had 32 solar panels installed on the White House West Wing roof in the summer of 1979. These panels were used to heat water in the household for seven years until President Ronald Reagan had them removed in 1986. The panels were stored in a government warehouse until 1991, when they were acquired by Unity College in Maine. The college installed some of the panels to heat their cafeteria water.
This solar panel is one of the original Carter White House panels and was donated to the National Museum of American History by Unity College in 2009.
overall: 5 in x 10 in x 12 3/4 in; 12.7 cm x 25.4 cm x 32.385 cm
The Johnny Horizon Program was established by the U.S. Department of the Interior in the early 1970s to increase environmental awareness and encourage people to work together to improve and protect the environment. “Johnny Horizon” was a symbolic figure of a concerned citizen who wanted to help keep America clean as it approached its 200th birthday in 1976.
The program distributed environmental education newsletters, booklets, stickers, and other material throughout the country. This “Johnny Horizon” red, white, and blue life-size cowboy hat was offered to children so they could show their support for a safe and healthy future for America.
Many environmental groups in the 1960s and 1970s battled against the use of nuclear power to produce electricity because they considered it a dangerous source of pollution to humans and their environment. This bumper sticker promoted the use of solar power as an alternative and safer method for providing the world’s energy needs.
The first “Earth Day” was established by environmental activists in 1970 to awaken the country and its lawmakers to the need for protecting our environment and conserving our natural resources. Response to the event was overwhelming as thousands of concerned citizens participated in community activities across the nation to show their support for the movement.
This Earthday seed packet was distributed in 2010 by movie director and environmentalist James Cameron’s “Avatar” Home Tree Initiative in a worldwide effort to plant one million trees.
Greenpeace is an international nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that uses direct action, lobbying, and research to combat threats to the Earth’s biodiversity and environment. Global warming, commercial whaling, and nuclear power are just a few of the issues it has focused on since its beginning in 1971.
In 1973 Greenpeace selected the whales as their first ecological campaign. In 2010 this sticker was distributed by Greenpeace during an Earth Day rally on the National Mall. More than 35 years later, Greenpeace continues its efforts “to save the whales.”
Scientific studies have linked air pollution to quality of life and health issues. To emphasize the need to control the quality of the country’s air, this poster shows the Statue of Liberty, an American symbol of freedom, wearing a gas mask because she has lost the freedom to breathe clean, healthy air. Produced in 1969 by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, it resembles rock music posters of the era.
Ecology is a branch of science dealing with the relationships of organisms within an environment. Urban ecology is the study of how organisms coexist in a hard-landscape urban area. This button showing a dead bird in the city is a satirical example of how ecosystems cannot coexist without a balanced relationship.
overall: 25 1/8 in x 19 1/8 in; 63.881 cm x 48.641 cm
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, as Americans became more aware of the need to protect the environment, political organizations and campaigns arose to combat pollution and the waste of our country’s natural resources. The League of Conservation Voters, established in 1969 to raise public awareness, began to publish an annual list of congressional legislators who consistently voted against clean energy and conservation.
This 1974 poster distributed by Environmental Action depicts 12 members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, who were accused of voting on the side of commercial interests over environmental concerns. Their faces are superimposed on a picture of an early 20th-century “sports team” wearing the letter “D” (Dirty Dozen) on their sweaters.
overall: 10 3/4 in x 8 1/8 in; 27.305 cm x 20.574 cm
In order to make their views known, candidates for political office often distribute material focusing on current issues facing the country. During the 1972 Presidential campaign, this ecology coloring book was distributed as a public service by the “McGovern For President” campaign to demonstrate George McGovern’s interest and concern for the environment and for preservation of the country’s natural resources.
The Johnny Horizon Program was established by the U.S. Department of the Interior in the early 1970s to increase environmental awareness and encourage people to work together to improve and protect the environment. “Johnny Horizon” was a symbolic figure of a concerned citizen who wanted to help clean up America as it approached its 200th birthday in 1976. His slogan was “This Land is Your Land—Keep it Clean.”
This sticker was one of a variety of educational materials from the “Johnny Horizon” program distributed to schools and communities throughout the country.
Of the many core responsibilities of citizenship, the most basic has been being a “good citizen.” The founding generation believed that liberty and freedom could only survive if the Republic and its people were virtuous. For them, and still today, this means respecting the country’s institutions, fulfilling civic duties, contributing to the community, and generally being a good neighbor, such as advertised in this 1971 public service poster.