Documerica Project

Environmental snapshot

David Hiser/EPA/NARA.

For the Documerica Project (1971-77), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired freelance photographers to capture images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities and everyday life in the 1970s. The U.S. National Archives digitized more than 15,000 photographs from this series, and they can now be seen online.

Here, woman photographs flowers in Arches National Park, located in the heart of the Redrock country of southeastern Utah, in May 1972.

Love America

Erik Calonius/EPA/NARA.

Local opposition to mine stripping is voiced on a sign in Hendrysburg, Ohio, in October 1973.

Spare tires replace sea shells

Arthur Tress/EPA/NARA.

Abandoned tires litter the shores of Jamaica Bay in New York City, N.Y., in June 1973.

Burning batteries

Marc St. Gil/EPA/NARA.

In July 1972, smoke belches from a Houston, Texas, plant that burns discarded automobile batteries.

Rappeling the Canyonlands

David Hiser/EPA/NARA.

A woman descends into a canyon in a remote region of Canyonlands National Park in San Juan County, Utah, in May 1972.

Cover your ears

Erik Calonius/EPA/NARA.

A jet roars above a bicycle path near Washington, D.C., in November 1972.

Coal water

Erik Calonius/EPA/NARA.

Mary Workman of Steubenville, Ohio, holds a jar of undrinkable water from her well. The Hanna Coal Company owns all the land around her, so she must transport clean water from a well many miles away.


Frank Lodge/EPA/NARA.

Participants in the first symposium on the development of low-pollution power systems check out the ESB Sundancer, an experimental electric car, in the Marriot Motor Inn parking lot in Ann Arbor, Mich., in October 1973.

Tubing in Garner State Park

Marc St. Gil/EPA/NARA.

A woman carries an inner tube in July 1972, at Garner State Park in Uvalde County, Texas.

Sound advice

Wil Blanche/EPA/NARA.

A bumper sticker — “Fight Smog! Ride a Horse” — is displayed on a car in a lot on West Street in Lower Manhattan in New York City in May 1973.

Norfolk's polluted Navy Pier

David Alan Harvey/EPA/NARA.

Garbage and ship discharge float aimlessly through the Navy pier in Norfolk, Va., in May 1973.

Lake Travis growth

Bill Reaves/EPA/NARA.

An aerial view of the land surrounding Lake Travis, Texas, shows the early stages of recreational development.

Atlas Chemical Company

Marc St. Gil/EPA/NARA.

The Atlas Chemical Company emits smoke near a pasture around Marshall, Texas, in June 1972. At the time, the plant was referred to as "Old Darky" in the community because black soot from the plant covers everything nearby.

Hungry like a ... fox

Dennis Cowals/EPA/NARA.

A young red fox wrestles with a turkey neck in August 1973 near Galbraith Lake in the North Slope Borough of Alaska.

Outdoor fruit market

Ernst Halberstadt/EPA/NARA.

Fruits and flowers on display at an outdoor market in Haymarket Square, Boston, Mass., in May 1973.

Two on horseback

Terry Eiler/EPA/NARA.

Two children ride horseback in the Havasupai campground in Supai, Ariz.

Jamaica Bay pollution

Arthur Tress/EPA/NARA.

An abandoned car sits in Jamaica Bay, New York City, N.Y., in June 1973.

Alternative housing

David Hiser/EPA/NARA.

Designer Michael Reynolds stands next to an interior wall within an experimental housing project near Taos, N.M., in June 1974. The project uses empty beer and soft drink cans in its construction.

Frolicking in a dump

Arthur Tress/EPA/NARA.

Neighborhood boys run through the municipal incineration plant and landfill at Gravesend Bay near New York City in May 1973.

Earth, 1972


An exquisite view of planet Earth, as seen by Astronauts Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmidt from Apollo 17 in December 1972.