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