This is one that doesn't need much introduction.
No matter how many new regulations are passed, we are still confronted
on a daily basis by environmental groups preaching universal doom if
another raft of laws aren't enacted immediately. We live in an age obsessed with pollution and, despite the fact that
Western countries enjoy cleaner air and water than since the
Industrial Revolution began, we still run about in circles if someone
so much as lights up a cigarette within a mile of a salmon farm for
fear that a fly will inhale, which will then be eaten by a fish, which
will end up on our tables resulting in fatal fourth-hand smoke
We like to think that pollution is something
everyone just woke up and noticed one day in 1968. In fact,
pollution has been a concern since Ogmu started complaining about the
stink from all the banana peels at the bottom of the tree. And
as you can see from the above illustration, the people of 1898 weren't
all that optimistic about air quality in the future. That was
one of the reason that exhibits like
Democracity were so popular;
they showed cities of the future that were spread out so that people
were freed from concrete warrens and could enjoy fresh air as
something other than a treat.
for the most part, people regarded pollution as an annoying side effect
of progress that would be eradicated once things got really up and
running. By the early 1970s, however, it was becoming clear that
problems like pollution, traffic congestion, the loss of privacy, etcetra were inextricably linked to our technology and to pull at one
thread was likely to solve one problem only to cause another.
So, you got things like the television series Doomwatch
(1970-1972), which followed the exploits of a government agency tasked
with forestalling dangers posed by new technologies before they got
out of hand. This programme had such an impact that the phrase "Doomwatch
scenario" can often be heard in environmental debates to this day.