Scientists discover that a chemical which was
presumed to be harmless and used by the ton in hundreds of everyday products was silently destroying
the ozone layer of Earth’s atmosphere. Ozone shields humans and other life on
the surface from harmful radiation. They alert the world and fight to have a
family of gasses called chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases banned. Nations of the
world finally agree. The scientists win the Nobel Prize.
It may read like the scenario from a science fiction thriller. This is one case,
however, in which truth was stranger than fiction. And an Ohio chemist, F.
Sherwood Rowland, starred in the real-life thriller. Ohio’s place in history has
been achieved by the use of our rich natural endowment. Our forests, soils,
minerals, streams, climate, plants and animals have been the foundation upon
which our great agricultural and industrial state has developed. Ohio’s geology,
including its soils and strategic location in relation to water transportation
on the Ohio and interior rivers and Lake Erie, was the original cornerstone of
Ohio's first economy. Geology continues to underpin our agriculture,
transportation, construction and manufacturing as we shift toward a new economy
based on the frontiers of knowledge.
Early Ohioans recognized the value of natural resources and began pioneering
efforts to preserve, protect and manage resources. Of all the developments and
innovations in the environment perhaps the most profound and far-reaching was
the platting of the land in the Northwest Territory by Thomas Hutchins, the
first Chief Geographer of the United States. His work became the model for the
American rectangular survey system which later was used throughout the West and
created the familiar checkerboard land pattern affecting agriculture, and the
settlement and taxation of citizens in towns, cities and entire states.