Brower, David Dean of the Modern Environmental Movement (1912–2000)

Often called Earth's best friend, David Ross Brower built a fire under the environmental community and kept it stoked for more than half a century. Sound-bite genius, both gracious and fierce, Brower was a master organizer, and his story is the story of the modern environmental movement.


A brownfield is a property which was once was home to a viable commercial or industrial operation but, because there is no longer an adequate market demand for that operation, the property sits idle, partially because of possible environmental contamination, waiting for a new function.

Brundtland, Gro Norwegian Prime Minister and Environmentalist (1939–)

In her life, Gro Harlem Brundtland has served society in three distinct capacities—as a medical doctor, a politician, and an environmentalist. She initially worked as a physician and then moved into the political arena as an environmental minister in the Norwegian government.

Burn Barrels

People used to think that burning household trash and yard waste in an open barrel was an inexpensive, good way to get rid of it. However, today's packaging and products are often made from plastics, dyes, and other synthetics.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, and poisonous gas with the chemical formula CO. Because of its toxicity, the U.S.

Careers in Environmental Protection

Careers in environmental protection involve jobs that help reduce the negative environmental impacts of today's actions, restore damaged ecosystems to health, or build sustainable ways of life for the future. Fifty years ago, most of today's environmental careers did not exist.

Carson, Rachel Scientist, Ecologist, Writer of Silent Spring (1907–1964)

In 1963 an important national symbol almost became extinct. According to the U.S.

Carver, George Washington Farmer, Agricultural/Food Scientist, Educator (1805–1943)

The conservationist agricultural practices developed by George Washington Carver at the beginning of the twentieth century increased agricultural sustainability for poor African-American farmers in the U.S. Deep South.

Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter in an automobile is an expanded section of exhaust pipe occurring upstream of the muffler in which pollutants generated in the engine are converted to normal atmospheric gases. It is an essential element in the emissions control system of modern automobiles.

CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons)

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), once described as "miracle chemicals," cause the breakdown of the ozone layer that protects the earth from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. CFCs have no significant natural sources.

Chávez, César E. Founder of United Farm Workers of America (1927–1993)

César Estrada Chávez was born near Yuma, Arizona, on March 31, 1927. Eleven years later, his family lost their farm and joined several hundred thousand other migrants working California's crops under terrible conditions.

Citizen Science

If asked to picture a scientist, most people probably would imagine a professional peering into a microscope or poring over statistics on a computer screen. Science does not belong solely to such professionals, however.

Citizen Suits

Citizen suits are lawsuits that are brought by individuals or nonprofit groups under the provisions of certain environmental laws. Because agencies do not catch and prosecute all violators of environmental statutes, citizen suits can be extremely useful, empowering anyone with an interest in environmental protection to demand that laws be enforced.

Clean Air Act

The 1970 Clean Air Act (CAA), significantly amended in 1977 and again in 1990, regulates air pollution emissions from "stationary" sources (e.g., factories, smokestacks, etc.), mobile sources (e.g., motor vehicles), and certain "indirect" sources (e.g., highways, malls, parking lots, etc., that attract mobile sources to the location). Specified "criteria" pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, particulates (i.e., soot, fly ash, etc.), and lead are directly regulated, as are "hazardous" air pollutants that the EPA determines are likely to cause death or serious physical injuries.

Clean Water Act

The twentieth-century conflagration of Ohio's Cuyahoga River well illustrated the quandary of a nation whose water was so polluted that it burned. The modern Clean Water Act (CWA) is the result of a sequence of federal water pollution control statutes starting with the nineteenth-century enactment of the Rivers and Harbors Act (limited to navigation-impeding debris), the 1948 Federal Water Pollution Control Act (the first federal attempt to regulate water pollution), the 1965 Water Quality Improvement Act, and the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act.


The cleanup of environmental pollution involves a variety of techniques, ranging from simple biological processes to advanced engineering technologies. Cleanup activities may address a wide range of contaminants, from common industrial chemicals such as petroleum products and solvents, agricultural chemicals and metals, to radionuclides.


Coal is a brown-to-black combustible rock that originated from peat deposits in large swamp environments, through their burial to great depths and over a few hundred thousand to tens of millions of years. During burial peat is converted first into lignite, then subbituminous and bituminous coal, and, uncommonly, anthracite.

Colborn, Theo American Environmentalist, Coauthor of Our Stolen Future (1927–)

Dr. Theo Colborn focused international attention on the dangers of endocrine disrupters, chemicals that alter or block endocrine functions.

Commoner, Barry American Environmentalist, Writer, and Professor of Biology (1917–)

Barry Commoner's 1971 book The Closing Circle: Man, Nature and Technology attempted to explain the causes of and solutions for environmental degradation in modern society. The "closing circle" was his metaphor for the connection between humans and the natural ecosystem.