Although environmental legislation has a long history, it is only relatively recently that it has become both extensive in its scope and widespread in its application. In the second half of the 20th century, after 150 years of western industrialisation with its associated air, land and water pollution, public attitudes began to change and demand government action. This era of protest was ushered in by the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s The Silent Spring (Carson 1962). This book catalogued the effects that the indiscriminate use of chemicals was having on our environment. Carson’s chapter headings, such as ‘Rivers of Death’ and ‘No Birds Sing’, were often emotive and crafted to cause a sense of alarm. During the 1960s a number of environmental catastrophes emerged, such as Minimata and the Torrey Canyon, and these fuelled the growth of the protest movement. As Case has noted:
the early seventies [saw] the publication of Blueprint for Survival (Goldsmith 1972) and The Limits to Growth (Meadows 1972) [that] created a doomsday atmosphere which dissipated, to some extent, in the self-seeking 80s. However, by the late 80s even governments were becoming publicly concerned with the possibility of global warming and the IPCC was set up to advise governments (or as some cynics saw it, delay any action). Environmental NGOs, such as Greenpeace, were taking direct action and publicising issues such as the adverse impacts of the Olympic Games. Changes in public attitudes were reflected not only in the actions of global NGOs
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meteorological events. There can be few, especially in the media dominated western world, who can be unaware of environmental problems even if they contest their causes and fail to alter their lifestyles appropriately. (Case 2011: 366)
As governments responded to environmental problems, and the political issues associated with them, a wealth of legislation began to emerge, particularly in the western world. This occurred not only at the national level but also at the regional level, such as the European Union, and the global level with the United Nations. The result is a mass of complex legislation which affects what we can and cannot do with the environment. The event industry has to comply with this legislation.