This blog is part of a series on environmental history leading up to History Day 2021 on 4 November. History Day brings together students, researchers and anyone with an interest in history with professionals from archives, libraries, and other organisations with history collections from the UK and beyond. This year the event will explore collections that capture the experiences of ordinary people, collectors and scientists, looking at nature, landscape, climate change and much more.
In times of climate crisis, environmental issues are a dominant topic in our print and digital media. Our current collective consciousness for the environment is built upon a foundation of publications and activist movements spanning the 1960s to 1980s. During the 1970s, a momentous cultural shift towards environmentalism occurred. This was shaped by a variety of historical factors, including the looming threat of nuclear weapons and growing criticism of unlimited resource extraction to feed capitalist economies. Around the same time print cultures evolved to support the new movement. This history can be traced through the lens of a collection held at Senate House Library, the Institute of Germanic Studies Alternative Periodicals collection.