5 Reasons Why We Need The Environmental Protection Agency

5 Reasons Why We Need The Environmental Protection Agency

“Protecting human health and the environment.”
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The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or USEPA) is a federal government agency initiated by President Richard Nixon. Nixon signed an executive order in December of 1970 and the EPA was born. The purpose of the EPA is to protect the environment by setting regulations and enforcing laws passed by Congress. The EPA is not a cabinet department, but the leader is usually given the power of a cabinet position. The EPA's plan “identifies the measurable environmental and human health outcomes the public can expect from EPA and describes how we intend to achieve those results.” Here are five reasons why we need the EPA in our lives:

1. To make sure companies dispose of their hazardous waste properly

Before the EPA, American environmental tragedies such as Love Canal turned families' lives upside down. Love Canal was an abandoned canal project off the Niagara River, which is about four miles south of Niagara Falls. This unfinished canal was used by Hooker Chemical Company as a dump for chemical waste from 1942 to 1953. When Hooker Chemical Company was finished dumping into the canal, there were around 21,000 tons of toxic chemicals in the area. The company covered the 16-acre chemical landfill with clay and dirt before selling it to Niagara Falls Schools with a warning of the toxins in the area. When the school was built right near the chemical dump, children attending the school and families living in the area acquired many diseases and illnesses. In 1976, after years of issues and complaints, the city and county finally started an investigation. The study by Calspan Corporation found that the canal area had toxic chemical residues in the air and sump pumps in many homes, which are commonly found in basements.

2. The Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act regulates the levels of many toxic substances in the air such as mercury and arsenic. One of the most influential updates to the act was in 1990 when the EPA was allowed to regulate and reduce a number of sulfur dioxide emissions, which is one of the main causes of acid rain (from power plants).

3. The Clean Water Act

In 1972, the Clean Water Act was enacted and gave the EPA authorization to set national standards for water and to make sure all cities and companies complied. The main problems weren’t just companies dumping wastes into rivers and lakes. Before 1970, many cities dumped sewage into waterways with very little or no treatment; therefore, waterways were highly contaminated causing fish kills and algae blooms.

4. To control climate change

Climate change has been evident since the mid to late 20th century with evidence such as sea levels rising, global temperature increases, warming of oceans and shrinking ice sheets. All of this entails changes in rainfall, flooding, droughts and more frequent and severe heat waves. These events surrounding climate change are caused by increased releases of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere mainly produced as a waste product of fossil fuel energy. Other causes of climate change also include greenhouse gasses such as methane from agricultural pollution, especially in livestock production.

5. We need to protect the Earth for future generations

When thinking about the future of our planet, it is important to remember that if every person on the planet lived like an American, we would need the amount of resources from five planets to sustain our lifestyles. With our ever-changing planet, worries arise when human-caused changes in climate are doubted. As Americans, our over-consumption, "quantity over quality" methods of production and throw-away practices need to be regulated in order to reverse major environmental mistakes of the past.

Earth’s history dates back about 4 billion years. Humans have only been around for about 200,000 years and we have made a large impact on the environment. With more than 7 billion people on the planet, questions about sustainability come into play. There has been so much environmental change in such a short period of time that scientists are calling this time the Anthropocene or “the age of humans.” This new geologic age encompasses the rise of the usage of fossil fuels, industrialization of agriculture, and urbanization of over half of the world’s population. There have been many changes in Earth’s history — the continents shifted, animals went extinct and climates changed. What is most worrisome about this geologic age is that humans are a large driving force in Earth’s recent changes. We are literally shaping the future of our planet, and we have to decide what we want things to be like in the years to come. We can be the change.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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So What is Feminism?

It's Time to do Our Homework!
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In light of the Women's March on January 20th 2018, I find it pertinent that we just recap what feminism is.

Some of you might be groaning already:

"ugh why do we even need feminism? it’s like the 20th century women have rights already?"

"yea... some women just need to be better than men ....and that’s just not gonna happen"

(***eye roll with an extra healthy dose of sarcasm sprinkled on top***)

So what EXACTLY is Feminism?

Feminism is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as:

"The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes."

and defined by Miriam Webster Dictionary as:

-"The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes"

- "Organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests"

"Woah woah woah! hold up... what’s all this "equality" mumbo jumbo?"

I am SO glad you asked!

Lets break this down: Feminism is actually a sociological term to describe the efforts to have equal rights, representation, wages, healthcare and education for ALL people.

“Once more for the people in the back!”

ALL PEOPLE.

So, if you believe that everyone, no matter their socio-economic background, ethnicity, religion, education but most importantly: their gender, should have access to basic human things such as

  • Access to healthcare
  • Access to equal education opportunities
  • Access to fair and equal wages
  • Access to housing
  • Access to healthy nutrition

Then congratulations, you’re a Feminist.

Now this doesn't mean that you need to break out your body paint and most glittery bra and join a social movement (but props to you if thats your thing!)

All it really means is that you care about other people sharing this space, this country and this world with you.

...and hey, maybe they deserve the opportunity to work just as hard as you do to earn the things that you have.

Recap: Feminism= rights for ALL PEOPLE.

Cover Image Credit: Samuel Corum, Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images

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Mass Shootings And Masculinity Go Hand In Hand

What we're not talking about.
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Nineteen mass shootings. Nineteen mass shootings have happened since January 2018 and we’re only in the middle of February. This past shooting at Parkland high school really hit me hard. As I saw the victims of the shooting they reminded me of the kids that I went to high school with. One of the victims was apart of her high school’s color guard and I thought about how much I loved guard when I was in high school. I connected with her.

I saw the videos posted on Snapchat of what the students actually experienced and shed tears with my hand covering my mouth from shock. I saw how insanely graphic the scene was and how being there physically can traumatize one for the rest of their life. No one should have to go through this.

The debates on tv include those of gun control and mental health. On social media, different countries are being thrown around as examples for both stricter gun control, and the allowance for more guns. I also see how the shooter was seen as “mentally ill”, and the stigmatization of those who have mental health issues are dangerous is furthered. The one issue that no one is talking about that plays a huge role in these mass shootings in masculinity.

A large majority of these shooters are white men. While these shootings are also a racial issue I’m going to focus on the gender issue. From a young age, men are exposed to what society deems as masculine. Media hypermasculinized everything to the point where it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Look up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and see how ridiculously buff they are. They’re cartoon turtles, yet the societal standard of masculinity applies to them.

Even when it comes to toys the commercials for nerf and water guns show only males. Showing that guns are masculine. Young boys are raised to engage in masculine activities or they’re isolated socially and emotionally. Even when young men are engaging in “masculine” activities they still may not be good enough. Getting angry, being the bad boy, having a temper are seen as “cool” traits that males desire to have in order to give themselves an edge.

Now most young boys go through this, and masculinity is not the main factor in mass shootings but it is still a factor. It is a factor that we need to consider because eliminating any factor that helps to produce a mass shooter can help save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

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