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The Environment

Since pre-colonial times, Americans' relationship to the natural world has shaped politics, policy, commerce, entertainment and culture. In this collection, delve into our complicated history with the environment through American Experience films exploring wide-ranging topics, from our struggles to exert dominion over nature to our attempts to understand and protect it.

Films  and  Features

  •  poster image Article
    Rachel Carson | Article

    Telling the Big Story: Science Writer Elizabeth Kolbert

    In 1962, The New Yorker published Rachel Carson’s articles on the side effects of pesticides. Today the magazine publishes science journalism by Elizabeth Kolbert, who reports on climate change.  

  • Rachel Carson poster image Rachel Carson

    Rachel Carson

    An intimate portrait of the woman whose groundbreaking writings revolutionized our relationship to the natural world and launched the modern environmental movement.

  • Grand Coulee Dam poster image Grand Coulee Dam

    Grand Coulee Dam

    At once the story of an astonishing engineering achievement, and a cautionary tale about arrogance, our relationship to the natural world, and the price of progress.

  • Earth Days poster image Earth Days

    Earth Days

    A meditation on man’s complex relationship with nature and an engaging history of the revolutionary achievements and missed opportunities of eco-activism.

  • The Civilian Conservation Corps poster image The Civilian Conservation Corps

    The Civilian Conservation Corps

    One of the most popular New Deal programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps put three million young men to work in the nation's forests and parks at the height of the Great Depression.

  • Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World poster image Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World

    Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World

    The 300-year saga of the American whaling industry, from its origins off the coast of New England, through the age of deep ocean whaling, and on to its demise in the decades following the Civil War. 

  • Panama Canal poster image Panama Canal

    Panama Canal

    In 1914, the Panama Canal connected the world’s two largest oceans. American ingenuity and innovation had succeeded where the French had failed disastrously, but the U.S. paid a price for victory.

  • Surviving the Dust Bowl poster image Surviving the Dust Bowl

    Surviving the Dust Bowl

    The story of the farmers who came to the Southern Plains of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas dreaming of prosperity, and lived through ten years of drought, dust, disease and death.

Additional funding for the Environment collection provided by

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