Throughout the twentieth century, the natural world has been assaulted as never before by advancing technology and unbridled economic growth. Cheaper fuel, bigger factories, more cars, pesticides -- all promised such rewards that their byproducts were tolerated as the price of progress. For many, however, evidence of industry's environmental toll emerged in the late 1950s -- in Minamata, Japan, where thousands were poisoned over many years by the outflow from a local aluminum factory. This was only one of many environmental disasters to hit the headlines as the cost of mass industrialization the world over was realized.
In Endangered Planet, the people remember: Minamata, Japan, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, DDT, smog, Torrey Canyon, Earth Day, Environmental Protection Agency, acid rain, ozone layer, Greenpeace, chemical accidents, Love Canal, Rio summit.