Discuss the connections between the energy crisis and the rise of the environmental movement during the 1970s.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One connection between the energy crisis and the rise of the environmental movement in the 1970s was its role of watchdog in energy initiatives.  As the oil crisis of the time period locked Americans into positions of vulnerability, the desire to seek alternate forms of energy spawned many initiatives by corporations who sought to seize the opportunity to turn good profit.  The proliferation of building nuclear power plants as a way to offset the energy crisis became the source of criticism from environmental movement advocates.  The newly established Nuclear Regulatory Commission was criticized for holding standards too low in the building of power plants.  The environmental movement's concerns about the building of plants like Three Mile Island proved to be warranted when its near fatal accident gripped the public consciousness.  

The energy crisis provided an instant in which business and commercial ventures could enter and provide potential solutions.  The rise of the environmental movement of the time period operated as a voice of dissent, a shrill dissonance that ensured that corporate profit could not take over public safety.  In drawing such a distinction, the environmental movement began to take a firm grasp on the American consciousness throughout a time period motivated by the energy crisis to cling to anything that could be seen as a potential sanctuary.

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