Going Green 1987-1989

Fred Bernard Wood was a lifelong environmentalist, starting in the days of naturalist and photographer John Muir and the early Sierra Club. However his activism in the environmental arena seriously intensified in the 1980s in connection, especially, with the then nascent issue around global climate change. By the mid-1980s, Fred Bernard was writing papers on climate change. By the late 1980s, he and his long term colleague, Alden Bryant, President of the Earth Regeneration Society (ERS), participated in and helped organize various climate-related events. Fred Bernard served as Secretary-Treasurer of ERS for many years, and was an active collaborator with Mr. Bryant in all major ERS initiatives.

Several of these events are highlighted here:

California Democratic Party State Convention
January 30-February 1, 1987

ERS proposed a Resolution on CO2 Reduction, Climate Stabilization, and Employment, which was approved by the Executive Committee on April 11 and became part of the Democratic Party work program. This was one of the first advocacy actions to link climate change remediation with jobs creation. The resolution also mentioned the need for international cooperation on climate friendly agricultural and forest improvements, including soil remineralization.

California Democratic Council (CDC) Convention, April 24-26, 1987: The ERS resolution was endorsed, with recommendations to send the resolution to interested advocacy groups and to the California Congressional delegation. The resolution in the form passed by the CDC, with the support of ERS, added the encouragement of development of renewable energy sources. The resolution also referenced a draft bill prepared by ERS, known as the “Earth Regeneration/Climate Stabilization Act of 1987.”

World Scientific Conference on Security and Disarmament,
In Preparation for the Third Special Session on Disarmament of the United Nations
May 27-31, 1988

Alden Bryant, ERS President, presented a paper,“The Global Climate Emergency, Possibilities for Stabilization and Proposals for Immediate Action". This paper provided considerably more detail than the earlier California resolutions, and included references to various news and scientific journal articles on the

Emergency Climate Stabilization/Earth Regeneration Act of 1988
July 7, 1988

ERS updated its earlier draft legislation and presented the proposed legislation to “climate conscious” members of the U.S. Congress and staff. This draft bill outlined the threats to humanity from climate change, and detailed an ambitious program of monitoring, analysis, and action to mitigate climate change, protect the environment, and create jobs. This legislation was one of the first comprehensive climate bills ever proposed. At the time, there was some debate about whether global warming could trigger accelerated global cooling, and the draft reflects that view. But many of the bill’s provisions are applicable today, perhaps with minor modifications.

United Nations General Assembly, Draft Resolution on Conservation of Climate as Part of the Common Heritage of Mankind
October 26, 1988

The Earth Regeneration Society was able to obtain United Nations sponsorship of the first U.N. climate conference through the good offices of the Permanent Mission of Malta. The support of Malta’s U.N. Ambassador, Dr. Alexander Borg Olivier, was key to gaining official U.N. involvement. Soon thereafter, Malta proposed a draft resolution to the U.N. General Assembly which was one of the first comprehensive U.N. statements on the importance of climate change and the myriad likely effects and action implications that warranted U.N. attention. The resolution was unanimously passed by the U.N. General Assembly on December 6, 1988.


United Nations Program on Earth Regeneration and the Environment
December 9, 1988

Due largely to the hard work of ERS leaders, including Alden Bryant and Fred Bernard Wood, the first ever U.N. sponsored conference on climate change took place on December 9, 1988, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The program included several U.N. representatives, including the United National Environment Program and the U.N. Disaster Relief Organization, and several eminent U.S. and international academic and advocacy leaders on the climate change issue. During the final preparations for the conference, Alden Bryant was traveling in Europe and appointed Fred Bernard Wood as senior representative for ERS in all matters relating to the conference, as well as other ERS business. ERS was represented on the program by ERS president Alden Bryant and ERS adivor Dr. Kenneth Watt, Professor of Zoology at the University of California at Davis, both of whom gave presentations: Human Rights, Environment, and Climate Stabilization and The Environmental Argument for Alternative Energy Sources and Reforestation. After the conference, ERS issued a press release summarizing the conference highlights and related activities.

American Association for the Advancement of Science Sessions on Climate Change
January 14-19, 1989

By the late 1980s, the U.S. and global climate science community was beginning to pay serious attention to the climate change issue. Major science organizations, and especially the AAAS, started including sessions on climate change in their conference programs. AAAS has had at least one session on climate change for virtually all of its annual meetings from the late 1980s to the present. The 1989 AAAS annual meeting in San Francisco included a session on Atmospheric Science Climate. And the AAAS accepted Fred Bernard Wood’s poster proposal. His paper was titled “Applying a Quasi-Completeness Test to Climate Change.” The full paper can be found in the Papers section of this website.

Stanford University Conference on Deciding Our Environmental Future
January 28-29, 1989

Concern over climate change was a factor contributing to efforts in the late 1980s to revitalize and re-energize the U.S. environmental movement. Environmentalists at Stanford organized a major conference for January 1989, with the cooperation of numerous Stanford University offices and organizations, along with various outside organizations. The conference was sweeping in its agenda, and cover topics from climate change to rainforest protection, to global population, to offshore oil drilling, to endangered species protection. The conference speakers included many well known academic and advocacy leaders in the environmental movement. Alden Bryant participated on a panel titled “Understanding and Stabilizing Our Changing Global Climate.” Fred Bernard assisted Alden in presentation preparations. The conference included involvement of grassroots environmental activists, workshops on “You Can Make A Difference,” and an Environmental Resources Handbook.

The visibility of the Stanford conference attracted attention from the environmental activists, locally to globally. For example, locally the Central Coast Greens Now prepared a list of 101 Green Things You Can Do. And globally, the Earth Repair Foundation prepared an Earth Treaty for the Children of the World and an Earth Repair Action Guide.

These events in 1988-1989 both helped re-energize the environmental movement, and put climate change on the environmental agenda.