This book focuses on the use, abuse and restoration of rivers that have been heavily polluted by petrochemicals. As examples, the author chooses four North American rivers - the Buffalo River, Cuyahoga River, Rouge River and the Chicago River - which were so polluted that at times they actually did catch fire: burning rivers.
The book outlines the unique environmental histories of the four rivers. It has been 40 years since the Buffalo, Cuyahoga and Rouge Rivers caught fire, and over 100 years for the Chicago River. The book investigates what has been accomplished, environmentally and ecologically, since those fires; what challenges remain; what lessons have been learned; how the fires catalyzed river cleanup; what institutional arrangements have been developed to clean and protect the rivers. More widely, what hope does the restoration of these rivers provide for others throughout the world; and what can be learned to help inspire and teach the next generation of environmentalists, conservationists and sustainability entrepreneurs?
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