Well, before we became aware of pollution issues, we would just dump our pollution into rivers, in some cases making them so toxic that they could catch on fire. The Cuyahoga river’s burning was in fact what shocked many Americans into realizing the extent of their pollution. The fact that our rivers no longer can catch on fire, and actually support life, is probably a positive impact.
The downside is that taking care to clean up after ourselves costs money. You’ll note hybrid cars are pricier than regular vehicles, and it’s expensive to install solar panels. While you save money in the long run, in the short run it’s always cheaper to pollute and wreck the place, even if it will eventually come back and bite you in the rear.
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