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Environmental Collections

The first Earth Day, observed across the country on April 22, 1970, was the product of local grassroots action to increase environmental awareness. Activities that day were not created by organizers in Washington, but by individuals and communities who worked to focus the nation’s political agenda on environmental issues. Special Collections and Archives holds several collections that document the history of environmental activism in Southern California.

Community activist Dorothy Boberg's work is documented in the Dorothy Boberg Collection. Boberg, as a member of numerous local civic and activist organizations, worked on myriad community issues in the San Fernando Valley and greater Los Angeles throughout her adult life. In 1971, she founded the North Valley Ecology Council, and was a member of the CSUN University-Community Advisory Planning Committee. From 1974 to 1977 Boberg served on Mayor Tom Bradley's Social Concerns Task Force, and also served as chairperson of the Hazardous Facilities Committee of Mayor Bradley's Task Force on Earthquake Prediction. She was an active member of the Sierra Club Nuclear Task Force, and frequently testified on environmental issues and against plans for construction of nuclear power facilities at Los Angeles City Council and Water and Power Commission meetings.

The Juana Beatriz Gutierrez Mothers of East Los Angeles Collection documents the work of the Mothers of East Los Angeles, formed in the early 1980s under the guidance of Monsignor John Moretta of the Resurrection Church in Los Angeles. MELA’s original intent was to band together in protest to the construction of a proposed $100-million state prison in East Los Angeles. After successfully quashing the East LA prison project in 1986, MELA turned to other issues which impacted the safety, protection, and welfare of their children. MELA has been nationally recognized as an environmental organization, and was credited with the defeat of several environmentally threatening projects, including the Vernon incinerator and the Chemclear plant. The MELA Collection includes materials that document the organization’s role in working toward reforms in pesticide and toxin controls, water reclamation and conservation, waste and recycling, and air quality issues.

The Santa Susana Mountain Park Association Collection documents the work of the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association (SSMPA). Formed as a non-profit group in 1971 to preserve the Santa Susana Mountains and the Simi Valley Hills as open space during the rapid urban development of the Santa Clarita, Santa Clara, Simi, and San Fernando valleys, the SSMPA has acted as a citizens' lobbying group to obtain state and federal legislation, local governmental support, and favorable public policy to conserve wilderness areas. The collection adds to a growing history of grassroots efforts to preserve and protect open space and wildlife in the ever developing San Fernando Valley.

“Air Pollution Primer” published by the National Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association, 1969. Dorothy Boberg Collection.
“Nuclear Power Today and Tomorrow” published by Atomics International, circa 1970s. Dorothy Boberg Collection.
California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission newsletter, circa 1974. Dorothy Boberg Collection.
Letter from Barry Goldwater, Jr. to Dorothy Boberg regarding the Supersonic Transport program, March 16, 1971. Dorothy Boberg Collection.
Nuclear Power…Bad for Jobs: A Trivial Source of Energy, flyer published by The Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, circa 1975. Dorothy Boberg Collection.
Ecology Task Force flyer, February 25, 1976. Dorothy Boberg Collection.
Karen Silkwood Day flyer, Pasadena Alliance for Survival, circa 1975. Dorothy Boberg Collection.
Sun Times, published by Solar Lobby, March/April 1982. Dorothy Boberg Collection.
Proposed Santa Susana Mountain Park map. Santa Susana Mountain Park Association Collection.
Reconnaissance Study of the Santa Susana Mountains, January 1973. Santa Susana Mountain Park Association Collection.
Letter from then Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, regarding funding for the proposed Santa Susana Mountain Park, November 24, 1970. Santa Susana Mountain Park Association Collection.
Letter from then Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, regarding funding for the proposed Santa Susana Mountain Park, June 1, 1973. Santa Susana Mountain Park Association Collection.
Letter from Janice Hinkston to then Governor Ronald Reagan regarding SB907, September 20, 1974. Santa Susana Mountain Park Association Collection.
"Water Conservation News" published by the California Department of Water Resources, October 1992. Mothers of East Los Angeles Collection.
"Toxics, Race, & Class: The Poisoning of Communities," March 18, 1991. Mothers of East Los Angeles Collection.
Letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Art Torres, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Toxics and Public Safety Management, regarding the Chemclear Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility, June 19, 1991. Mothers of East Los Angeles Collection.
"Pesticides and You" published by the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, Fall 1999. Mothers of East Los Angeles Collection.
"Toxinformer," published by the Environmental Health Coalition, January 1996. Mothers of East Los Angeles Collection.

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