Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Tufts University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Preface: The Citizen Environmentalists
A funny thing happened on the way to study the public forum: I didn’t find what I expected. As a historian interested in public debate, I’ve long been working under the loose thesis that when people speak in the public sphere on matters of policy, they...
Acronyms and Abbreviations
1. Power to the Public Hearing: The Importance of Citizenship to the Environmental Movement
It was supposed to be a quiet meeting, but it turned into the political equivalent of an ambush. The topic of the day wasn’t anything new, and there was no pressing deadline; after all, it was just another advisory board meeting to discuss a proposed plan...
2. The Smoky City: Public Involvement in Controlling Air Pollution in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh’s air pollution problem makes an excellent case study of public involvement in political matters, and it does so for two reasons. The first is illustrated in the lyrics to folksinger Woody Guthrie’s “Pittsburgh Town”: the political matter at issue...
3. "I Belong Here!": Citizen Environmentalism in Pittsburgh and the United States
In 1975, gasp made a remarkable short film, summarizing the organization’s history to that date and urging national viewers to follow its example. In the opening of the film, Pittsburgh’s polluted past is quickly established with a montage of historical photographs...
4. Mothers of Urban Skies: Environmental Education and the Rhetoric of Women's Activism
In the early 1970s, the Group Against Smog and Pollution published this description of their mission: “gasp works within the system in a responsible manner— prodding or supporting as necessary. gasp does not ask the impossible—but does demand...
5. "Where the Rubber Meets the Road”: Implementation and the Rhetoric of Scientific Expertise at the Variance Board, 1970-1975
After the excitement and emotion of the first round of public hearings on proposed air pollution control policies in the fall of 1969, the more prosaic process of implementing and enforcing those regulations fell to the county’s Variance Board. Yet those...
6. Citizens and the Courts: United States Steel, Jones & Laughlin, and the Limits of Local Control
Federal intervention and a wave of environmental sentiment empowered local environmental activism across the nation in the 1970s, but the actual process of air pollution control was essentially transformed by the substantive inclusion of citizens in the creation...
Conclusion: The Significance of the Citizen Environmentalists for the Modern Environmental Movement, in Pittsburgh's Experiment, and in GASP
The citizen environmentalists were created by a confluence of forces, from the opportunities for public involvement in federal legislation, to the legal philosophy of citizen standing, to the late-1960s support for the idea of participatory democracy. In turn...