This year, the United States observed Earth Day on April 22. Atlanta’s own, Laura Seydel spoke at the National Celebration on the Mall in Washington, DC. As an activist and environmentalist Seydel is an eco-living expert dedicated to creating a healthy and sustainable future, visit her website www.lauraseydel.com for more information.
Senator and former Wisconsin governor Gaylord Nelson is environmental activist who created the celebration on April 22, 1970. This was a banner period for national environmental policy setting. The first Earth Day was the same year that President Nixon authorized the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act became law in 1972. The protection and preservation of the environment is no longer edgy and fringe debate. It’s mainstream from national discourse about climate change to personal responsibility for water conservation. Government agencies, environmental advocacy organizations, environmental studies in school and colleges and media have awakened the real connection between Americans and our relationship to nature.
President Barack Obama said two years ago that, “The true story of the environmental movement is not about the laws that have been passed. It’s about the citizens who have come together time and time again to demand cleaner air, healthier drinking water and safer food – and who have demanded that their representatives in government hold polluters accountable.”
In his first term, President Obama has:
• Created the first-ever standard to limit greenhouse gases from new fossil-fuel-fired power plants, America’s largest individual sources of carbon pollution. [Source: EPA]
• Established the first fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks, which will prevent 270 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from polluting the air. [Source: The Hill]
• Put into place the first-ever national standard for mercury and toxic air pollution from power plants, which will prevent up to 130,000 cases of asthma symptoms every year. [Source: EPA]
• Approved the nation’s first-ever offshore wind farm, which will produce enough clean electricity to power over more than 200,000 homes. [Source: UPI]
• Approved dozens of renewable energy projects, including 16 utility-scale solar projects—the first ever on public lands. [Source: Department of Interior]
The environmental movement is clear example of how each of us can become the change we seek in the world.