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Posts Tagged ‘Environmentalism’

epa-5-epaFounded on December 2nd, 1970, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was a response by President Nixon, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. Congress to two decades of growing concern of the American people about the deteriorating state of the environment in which they lived and the human health effects that resulted for that deteriorating state.

To address both concerns, the mission of the EPA (as stated on their website) has been to ensure that:

  • all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work;
  • national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information;
  • federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively;
  • environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy;
  • all parts of society — communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments — have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks;
  • environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable and economically productive; and
  • the United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment.

To accomplish this mission, the EPA develops and enforces regulations, gives out grants, studies environmental issues, sponsors partnerships, teaches people about the environment, and publishes their findings.

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Las Angeles, CA air quality compared across decades. Photo courtesy of Green Building Law.

Over the course of its history, the EPA has increased the health and quality of the environment outside and inside our bodies. By regulating air quality under the Clean Air Act (1963) the EPA sets emissions standards that insure the air we breath, particularly in cities, is healthy. As a result, air quality has dramatically improved. This has decreased the rates of respiratory distress and disorders and so lessened the burden on our healthcare system. Not to mention making the views we get to see all the more spectacular.

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Water comparison between two cities in Michigan. Photo courtesy of Michigan Radio.

By regulating water quality under the Clean Water Act (1972), the the EPA sets drinking water and wastewater standards that insure the water we drink is clean and safe. An example of this that should still be fresh in all of our minds is that of Flint Michigan where EPA standards were ignored, and the results were a tremendous negative impact on the health of the residents of Flint, particularly children.

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By reducing the amount of new materials we, as a society, use more land can be left looking like the lower right part of this photo instead of the upper left. Photo courtesy of FreeYork.

By promoting recycling standards and educating people about recycling (using tools like their ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ campaign), the EPA has helped reduce the amounts of raw materials needed to produce the vast quantities of foods and produces that we all need to live our lives. This reduction in the amounts of materials we need means that we can now do more with less which reduces extraction costs and leaves more areas open and natural and beautiful.

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Before and after photos of glacial retreat. Photo courtesy of NASA.

By regulating greenhouse gas emissions again under the Clean Air Act (1963), the EPA is helping to reduce the amount that our planet is going to warm and so lessen the catastrophic impacts that human caused global warming is going to have on all of our lives in the next few decades.

And don’t think for a second that people, organizations, corporations, etc will reduce their environmental impacts voluntarily. No voluntary environmental protection strategy has ever worked, and when left to their own devices, the environment and the health of the public citizen suffer. One example of this is that I have already written about is the history surrounding Love Canal. And there are many, many more stories such as this one out there.

It is for all these reasons and more that I find the current attacks on the EPA so disturbing. From the nomination of Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator to the introduction by congressman Matt Gaetz (R -Florida) of H.R. 861. If passed H.R. 861 will terminate the EPA. This bill was co-sponsored by Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), Steven Palazzo (R-Mississippi), and Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia). Remember these four names. They are the names of individuals who are in favor of causing harm to the environment and to US citizens. Call your congressperson every day, and tell them repeatedly, that any support for H.R. 861 will directly harm We The People of the United States not to mention the citizens of many other countries, and the ecosystems we all require to live. Instead ask them to support the EPA and the incredibly important job they are doing in the months, years, and decades ahead.

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Information is important. With information each of us as individuals, and our society as a whole, can learn about the world. With information, we can all make decisions that make sense. With information, we can all discuss ideas.

Without information none of that is possible. Without information, we are, at best, at the mercy of our current, limited knowledge, and our base instincts. Without information we are, at worst, at the mercy of the limited knowledge and instincts of someone else.

This is why the gag order, and insistence that all reports and data be pre-screened before release to the public, issued by the President to the EPA are so concerning to me, and I think should be so concerning everyone else. This is exactly the kind of action that limits access to, and spread of, information. It will only hamper all of our abilities to operate as rational, critically thinking individuals. It is the kind of action that is put in place to control what we, as citizens, know and when we know it. This is censorship and it has no place in science or a free society.

#thisisnotnormal

pansy-white-blue

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You Are Invited to Help Save the Delta!

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A pile of garbage illegally dumped along a roadway in the Delta

Trash in the world’s waterways and oceans has been making a lot of news lately. A recent report from the World Economic Forum estimates that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans of the world, by weight, than fish. The report further calculates that amount of trash flowing into the oceans is equal to about one large dump truck load being dropped every minute. All this garbage has far reaching effects such as the beached whales around the world that are frequently found with 20-30 lbs or more of plastic in their stomachs and the 1 million or more seabirds that die from plastic ingestion every year.

It has been estimated that about 70% of all this trash originates on land…from humans…we are the problem!

Want to be a part of the solution?

The Delta Conservancy is hosting Delta Waterways Cleanups as part of Creek Week, an event organized by the Sacramento Area Creeks Council, to help stem the flood of trash to the waterways and the ocean. On April 9th we will be organizing two sites in the Delta. One site is located along the shore of Sherman Island. The other site is in the Sacramento Bufferlands along Lower Morrison Creek. Join with hundreds of other volunteers and come spend the morning with us pulling all manner of trash out of the waterways of the delicate ecosystems of the Delta. If you do, you will be helping to keep our waterways, our planet, clean and healthy.

Online Registration is at: http://www.creekweek.net/vdelta.html and additional information on the sites and detail for the day can be found at: http://deltaconservancy.ca.gov/waterway-cleanups-0/

Please feel free to share this invitation widely with anyone who may wish to join us.

If you have questions, contact me at: aaron.haiman@deltaconservancy.ca.gov

I hope to see you there!

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As the takeover of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge drags on, more and more movements are starting in opposition to the armed terrorists who have been holding Malheur hostage since January 2nd. These efforts are still small, but they are growing. From boycotts of the business who are supporting the terrorists to demonstrations that are being organized in and around Burns, OR. to this petition to the federal government calling for the arrest of the terrorists. This petition also calls for the containment of the terrorists, which is something I am amazed has not happened already. It seem the first place to start in the handling of a group of armed individuals who takeover a federal building is to make sure they cannot come and go as they please, and that others cannot join them (both things that are currently going on in Malheur).

I would also add that writing to your elected officials would not be inappropriate. Tell them that not only do you not support the ridiculous self-styled ‘militia,’ but that you are in favor of a much more active opposition to them.

#SupportMalheur #RestorMalheur

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I have been reading more about the standoff still underway at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and also been watching some videos online.

This was a big mistake.

The more I read and watch the angrier I get. A particular turning point for me was when I read this article which is in part how the ridiculous self-styled ‘militia’ (which is an insult to to therm militia, by the way) has been treating the employees of Malheur NWR, who’s desks the ‘militia’ members are now sitting at. This situation started as stupid, rapidly became wrong, and has now fully transitioned into insulting!

I STAND WITH LINDA SUE BECK!!!!!!!!

I am now going to go and watch rain drops falling and songbirds singing for a while.

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The Delta Conservancy is teaming up with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and the USGS to put on a workshop on the effects and management of Mercury (Hg) in California. Check out some additional information by clicking this link!

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I am sure that you have all heard by now that a few days ago a group of armed, domestic terrorists calling themselves ‘militia’ took over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon. They are doing this to protest what they see as government overreach. There are lot of reasons why I am both personally and professionally opposed to this group and their actions. But that is not what I want to discuss here right now. Instead, I want to focus on something else. The birding community.

Birders, as a whole, are wonderful, amazing, crazy people! They love the birds they see, and by extension, the rest of the natural world. They spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours each year buying equipment to go out birding, and then spend millions more dollars and thousands more hours actually looking for birds. And I am one of them. It often sounds odd when I tell people about birding or that I am a birder. I can see the looks on their faces. Their expressions say to me; ‘huh’ or ‘weird’ or ‘geek’ or ‘whatever.’ But the facts of the matter remain. Birding is one of the fastest growing activities in the country, no estimated at something 40 million people nation-wide. There are hundreds of books, magazines, newspaper articles, blogs, websites, discussion groups, and community events that focus on birds, and hundreds more each year. There are many towns that derive a large part of there annual revenue from birders, birding tours, and birding festivals. This is not a small group of fringe individuals. This is a well organized, passionate, and massive movement of people.

And that is why the people who have taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are not going to get very far. The online reaction to the Malheur situation in the birding community has been fierce! Here is an article featuring one birder’s letter on the subject. Here is one from The Portland Audubon Society. And here is the Facebook page for Restore Malheur, a group that has long had a focus on habitat restoration in the refuge and is now one of the central points for information and coordinating efforts to help. Finally, here is a wonderful article that appeared in the New York Times, and if you don’t read any of the other links I just posted, read this one.

Since Malheur is a National Wildlife Refuge, the protesters who have taken over the Malheur headquarters are denying the rights of all Americans to access and enjoy a part of the country that already belongs to them. And birders will be among the most vocal in telling these terrorists that denying rights to all Americans and endangering our natural heritage will not be taken lightly.

 

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