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Earth Day: Scientists Reflect On 20 Years Of Activism

As this week's rallies approach, four tell how their concern for the environment has changed their lives and careers Chemical physicist Michael Oppenheimer remembers staring for hours at the poster in his bedroom. The vertical cliffs of granite that had once been Colorado's Glen Canyon shimmered down pink and orange from the wall of his Cambridge, Mass., apartment. Several years earlier, in 1967, a dam had been built and the canyon flooded, its beauty lost forever. "It blew me away," says the

Diana Morgan


As this week's rallies approach, four tell how their concern for the environment has changed their lives and careers
Chemical physicist Michael Oppenheimer remembers staring for hours at the poster in his bedroom. The vertical cliffs of granite that had once been Colorado's Glen Canyon shimmered down pink and orange from the wall of his Cambridge, Mass., apartment. Several years earlier, in 1967, a dam had been built and the canyon flooded, its beauty lost forever.

"It blew me away," says the 44-year-old scientist. "That someone could come along and decide that this incredible part of nature should be submerged for eternity - that people could even think about putting up a dam - still shocks me."

That poster - representing the human potential for permanent environmental change - radicalized the young postdoc. It transformed forever the way he thought about the environment and sowed the seeds for what he...

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