Cuyahoga River

Ignus Flumen

Cuyahoga River, the spark to the environmentalism flame, is famous for being so polluted that it has spontaneously combusted on several different occasions. The river is located in Ohio and ‘dumps’ into Lake Eerie. It is said to ‘ooze’, not flow, and it is more common to see a floatilla of garbage than to see a fish.

There have been 13 reported flowing infernos, the first of which occurred in 1868. It wasn’t until June of 1969, when Time magazine ran a story on the river, that something was actually done. This piece of journalism forced Congress to enact some of the first environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and also helped to establish the Environmental Protection Agency.

In regards to the environmental movement, the Cuyahoga River was the catalyst that started it all. After the river caught fire, we finally realized that maybe we should start taking care of our environment or we will poison ourselves. To this day, however, we have not completely learned our lesson as the fire on the river slowly fades into a distant memory.

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