June 22, 1969: Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire, helping to ignite fledgling environmental movement & wave of aggressive political action leading to creation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency & passage of Clean Water Act. Fire started when sparks from passing train landed on oil-soaked industrial debris floating in the river burst into flame Fire lasted only 30 minutes & caused just $50,000 in damage. Instantly became powerful symbol of a troubled legacy, in terms of both environmental damage & human health risks, of America’s fading industrial economy. Cuyahoga River has since been reclaimed. Infamous waterway is now home to 60 species of fish as well as beavers, blue herons, & bald eagles. Annual outdoor festival raises money for water-focused environmental causes. Cuyahoga River has again become a national symbol, this time of successful river reclamation projects & undeniable power of sustained community action to bring about positive change.
June 22, 2008: Typhoon created heavy seas, which capsized ferry off coast of Philippines resulted in seven hundred missing people.
June 22, 1875: Major flood on Garonne River in France where 1,000 people died.
June 22, 1864: Hermann Minkowski, German mathematician, was born. He used geometrical methods to solve difficult problems in number theory, mathematical physics, & theory of relativity was born. He considered space & time, which were formerly thought to be independent, to be coupled together in four-dimensional “space-time continuum”. His idea of four-dimensional space (since known as “Minkowski space”), combining three dimensions of physical space with that of time, laid mathematical foundation of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.