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25 signs that you were a conservation child of the 90’s

The 90’s were a big decade for the environmental movement. The media landscape was filled with environmentally-themed programming. Major laws in the US and internationally were passed to protect the planet. Formative events galvanized, diversified, and sometimes radicalized the conservation community. And, like many other of our generation, we came of age right in the middle of it.

Here are 25 signs that your laid the foundation for your environmental ethic squarely in the 1990’s. Happy Holidays from Southern Fried Science.

1. Captain Planet taught us that “The Power is Yours!”


You knew this would be on the list, so let’s get it out of the way. Moving on.

2. Your “save the whale” media looked like this:


3. You remember when there was slightly more than 5 billion of us.


And you remember the roll-over to 6 billion.

4. The biggest environmental crisis of your childhood was the hole in the Ozone layer.


And it’s still one of the biggest success stories in international environmental cooperation.

5. You gave swordfish a break.


6.Your friends never knew if you were pumped about pandas or Hulkamania.




Hollywood Hogan was the best heel. WWF.

Seriously, why was there never a World Wildlife Fund/World Wrestling Federation Sustainability Smackdown?

7. You get the Exxon jokes in Waterworld.


Old Saint Joe. Scene from Waterworld.

The Valdez oil spill happened 25 years ago next June.

8. You’re still upset about the “new” Woodsy Owl.

Give a hoot, don't pollute!

Give a hoot, don’t pollute!

Give a hoot, don't blink, blink and you're dead.

Give a hoot, don’t… blink, blink and you’re dead.

9. You owned more than 1 pair of Teva’s.



And you’ve obnoxiously corrected people who pronounce it TEE-vah.

10. You remember when Avatar was called Fern Gully.


11. Bald Eagles were still endangered.


12. Baiji Dolphins were still extant.

Photo from Baiji.org.

Photo from Baiji.org.

13. The best part of SeaQuest DSV was Bob Ballard.

SeaQuest DSV season 1 cast, sans Ballard.

SeaQuest DSV season 1 cast, sans Ballard.

14. You had a big green box of Wildlife Treasury Cards and you loved it.

Technically they were released in the 80’s,  but they were definitely still a big thing when I was 6.

15. Taking 2 years to go live in a tree still seems perfectly reasonable.


16. You remember when cap-and-trade was the darling of conservatives.

President Reagan, the godfather of Cap and Trade. Source: AP

President Reagan, the godfather of Cap and Trade. Source: AP

Has anyone measured Cronbach’s alpha on the GOP?

17. You still have a copy of A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching.

18. You no longer think “painting a submarine to look like an orca and using it to chase gray whales” is Sea Shepherd’s Least Well-Thought-Out Plan.

There are zero picture of this thing in the water. Image from http://imulead.com/tolimared/concretesubmarine/anuncios/bg/

There are zero pictures of this thing in the water. Image from http://imulead.com/tolimared/concretesubmarine/anuncios/bg/

19. Your tuna was suddenly Dolphin-safe.


And that wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

20. Egregious greenwashing hadn’t yet rendered eco-labels meaningless. 

Are you kidding me with this, Raid?

Are you kidding me with this, Raid?

21. You still can’t get over how bad the clipart was on the plan to ban shark finning in US waters. 


22. You can still recite the intro monologue from Swamp Thing.

Why hasn’t this got a big-budget reboot yet?

23. You cheered when the UN killed drift nets. 

Shark in an illegal drift net. Photo by Seawatch.

Shark in an illegal drift net. Photo by Seawatch.

And now we’re haunted by ghost nets.

24. The series finale of Dinosaurs might be the greatest three-minute summary of the value of the precautionary principle, ever.

25. You remember the exact moment when all of the optimism, the idealism, the seemingly limitless potential that characterized the spirit of conservation in the 1990’s, died:

Screen capture of CNN announcing that the supreme court has terminated the recount in the 2000 Bush/Gore election.

Andrew David Thaler is the author of the maritime science fiction adventure, Fleet.

Deep-sea biologist, population/conservation geneticist, backyard farm advocate. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.

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