- from Ecology
America’s interest in the environment soared after June 22, 1969. That’s the day Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River caught fire.
It was so polluted with chemicals and garbage, it just burst into flames. The outrage after that incident led to reforms. Soon, new laws were passed. They helped clean filthy rivers, reduce air pollution, and protect some endangered species. Today, water and air in the U.S. are cleaner. A few endangered animals, like the bald eagle, have bounced back. But Earth’s health remains shaky. There are no easy ways to fix overpopulation, urban sprawl (the spread of housing and business to less developed areas), and global warming. Some people even doubt these are problems at all. Sadly, it may take something even more shocking and disastrous than a river catching fire to prove them wrong.