Environmental Resources

From Animal Extinction to Ozone

ohio environmental history

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.

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