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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I'm A Christian And I Have A Tattoo

Stop judging me for it.
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Like most people, I turned 18 years old during the course of my senior year of high school. I’ll never forget the months prior to my birthday, though, because I spent hours making a decision that would be with me forever, the decision of where I would go to get my first tattoo and where that tattoo would go, and of course I spent a lot of time deciding on the font, the colors, and all of the other aspects of the tattoo I wanted. Throughout this time, two things stood firm 1) the fact that I was going to get a tattoo, and 2) the six letter name that it would consist of.

Now, three years later, I’m 21 years old and I still get the occasional dirty look at church on Sunday or in line at Walmart, and more often than not this look is accompanied by the following words: “Why would you do that to your body when God says not to?” A few weeks ago at a new church, a woman came up to me and said, “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you have that blasphemous thing on your foot?”, I simply smiled at her and said: “God bless you, have a good week.” I let it roll off of my back, I’ve spent the past three years letting it “roll off of my back”… but I think it’s time that I speak up.

When I was 8 years old, I lost my sister. She passed away, after suffering from Childhood Cancer for a great deal of my childhood. Growing up, she had always been my best friend, and going through life after she passed was hard because I felt like even though I knew she was with me, I didn’t have something to visually tribute to her – a way to memorialize her. I, being a Christian and believing in Heaven, wanted to show my sister who was looking down on me that even though she was gone – she could still walk with me every day. I wanted it for me, for her. I wanted to have that connection, for her to always be a part of who I am on the outside – just as much as she is a part of who I am on the inside.

After getting my tattoo, I faced a lot of negativity. I would have Leviticus 19:28 thrown in my face more times than I cared to mention. I would be frowned on by various friends, and even some family. I was told a few times that markings on my body would send me to hell – that was my personal favorite.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

The more I heard these things, the more I wanted to scream. I didn’t though. I didn’t let the harsh things said about me and my choice change the love I have for the Lord, for my sister, or for the new precious memento on my left foot. I began to study my Bible more, and when I came to the verse that had been thrown in my face many times before – I came to a realization. Reading the verses surrounding verse 28, I realized that God was speaking to the covenant people of Israel. He was warning them to stay away from the religious ways of the people surrounding them. Verse 28 wasn’t directed to what we, in today’s society, see as tattoos – it was meant in the context of the cultic practice of marking one’s self in the realm of cultic worship.

26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 ‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. 29 ‘Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 ‘You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD. 31 ‘Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:26–31

The more I have studied my Bible over the past few years, the more I pity those who rely on one verse in the Old Testament to judge and degrade those, like myself, who made the decision to get a tattoo for whatever reason they may have for doing so. This is because, you see, in the New Testament it is said that believers are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament – if we were, there would be no shellfish or pork on the menus of various Christian homes. While some see tattoos as a modification of God’s creation, it could also be argued that pierced ears, haircuts, braces, or even fixing a cleft lip are no different.

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

In Galatians, we read that the Old Testament law was created to lead people to Jesus. However, we know that Jesus has come and died on the cross for our sins. He has saved us, therefore we are no longer held to this law in order to have a relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Him comes from believing that Jesus came to Earth to die on a cross for our sins, and repenting of our sins – accepting Jesus as our Savior.

I am a Christian, I have a relationship with the Lord that is stronger than it has ever been, and - I HAVE A TATTOO.

I have a beautiful memento on my left foot that reminds me that my sister walks with me through every day of my life. She walked with me down the red carpet at my senior prom, she walked with me across the stage the day I graduated from high school, and she continues to be with me throughout every important moment of my life.

My tattoo is beautiful. My tattoo reminds me that I am never alone. My tattoo is perfect.

Stop judging me for it.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Johnson

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The First Punic War

The First Punic War was fought to establish control over the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica).

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In 289 B.C., while Rome was overthrowing Italy, Carthage extended its empire over part of northern Africa, over Sardinia, the Balearic Islands, and two-thirds of Sicily, and covered the Mediterranean with its merchant vessels. Carthage had made conquests, no, like Rome, for the pride of command, but for the profits of victory.

It exploits harshly the vanquished, so that these, remain his enemies, while Rome, knows how to make of his subjects faithful allies and instruments of new victories. "Carthage was both a political and trade rival" (Cronin 21). Carthage carefully dismantled their cities, lest they become points of support for a revolt; but these open cities are no longer a bulwark for themselves. Finally, the Carthaginians use mercenary soldiers, believing that one can with money buy courage, loyalty and dedication. "Rome entered the war without a single battleship while Carthage had no fewer than 120" (Cronin 22).

They do not see that their mercenaries fighting for a foreign cause will fight softly, will demand a lot and will compromise all wars by their indiscipline. On the death of Agathocles of Syracuse, a large part of his mercenaries are unemployed. These mercenaries or Mamertins come from Mammertum in Bruttium (Calabria). They seize then Messina, massacre a part of the inhabitants and take control of the city. The First Punic War was fought to establish control over the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica).

At the beginning of the third century, two independent Greek colonies oppose the Strait of Messina: Messina (present-day Messina) in Sicily and Rhegium at the tip of the Italian boot. Since the 5th century B.C., Syracuse fought against Carthage in a long conflict or neither of the two belligerents could take over the other. In 315 B.C., Tyran Agathocles of Syracuse starts a new war against Carthage.

In 309 B.C, he landed in Africa, seized Tynes the white and ravage the surrounding countryside. He won several important battles against the Punic troops, rallied cities subject to Carthage in his camp and took the opportunity to descend to the south. In 307 B.C., he is defeated and must go back to Sicily.

This defeat allows Carthage to assert its presence in the western part of Sicily. Shortly after, the Romans intervene on the Greek cities of the south coast of Italy, with Rhegium, with Thurii and face Tarente which requests in 280 B.C., the military aid of Pyrrhus. His intervention in Italy then in Sicily puts him in conflict with the Romans then the Carthaginians. The latter agree by treaty in 279 B.C. against their common opponent. This treaty excludes any separate peace with Pyrrhus, and provides for assistance from the Carthaginian fleet, however none of these clauses will be respected.

On leaving Sicily, Pyrrhus exclaimed: "What a beautiful battlefield we are leaving to the Romans and Carthaginians!" Neither Rome nor Carthage can in fact abandon to a rival power this great island situated in the center of the Mediterranean, which touches Italy and from which Africa can be seen. After his departure, the powers resume their positions: The Carthaginians recover west of Sicily, the Romans seize Taranto in 272 B.C. then Rhegium in 270 B.C. This capture of Rhegium deprives the Mamertini of Messina of their ally.

In 269 B.C., Hieron II, the new Syracusan tyrant (Syracuse) manages to defeat them and take part of their territory. The Mamertins appeal to Carthage and Rome. The Carthaginians who are in nearby Lipari intervene immediately and install a garrison in Messina, forcing Hieron to give up submitting this city.

Rome hesitates to intervene. This delay is put to good use by the Carthaginian general Hannon the Great, son of Annibal Barca: he lands with an army in Sicily, strengthens the Carthaginian positions and agrees with Hieron of Syracuse against Messina who managed to get rid of his Carthaginian garrison. Rome ends up sending in 264 B.C. Appius Claudius Caudex consul to Rhegium, from where he manages to land in Messina.

The military escalation reached its fatal point: Hannon and Hieron besieged Messina, Appius Claudius enjoined them to raise the siege. Hieron refuses, replying that he is exercising just reprisals against the aggression of the Mamertins. The war was declared. After some successes on the ground against the Carthaginians and the surrender of several cities, the Romans impose on Hieron of Syracuse a truce of 15 years, and return to him his prisoners for ransom. Syracuse retains its territory, and leaves the Carthaginians alone in front of the Romans.

Despite this setback, Carthage began to regroup troops in Agrigento, but the Romans led by Appius Claudius and Marcus Valerius Messalla take the cities of Segesta and Agrigento in 261 B.C. after a seat of 7 months. The city is ransacked and the population reduced to slavery.

In order to catch up with the Carthaginian navy, Rome is revitalizing its navy. In 260 B.C., in two months the wood is cut, shaped and the Romans launch on the seas 140 ships of wars, built on the model of a captured Carthaginian ship. The military genius of the Romans made them find a way to defeat the Carthaginians on their own element: they invented a war machine the raven, a sort of footbridge of fangs or a bridge which, falling on the galley enemy, seized with crampons of iron, holds it motionless and delivers passage to the soldiers. Henceforth it is no longer, so to speak; that a land battle where the legionnaire finds all its advantages.

The Roman troops are led by the consul Gaius Duilius who commands the infantry and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio (the uncle of African Scipio), the Navy. Unfortunately, Scipion is captured with 17 ships near the island of Lipari. At the same time, off Mylae on the northern coast of Sicily, 125 Carthaginian boats confront the Roman fleet commanded by Duilius. The Carthaginians are defeated and lose 45 boats. It is the first naval victory of Rome.

This naval victory will have a great impact. Rome will be very proud of it and will reward as much as she can for her general by unusual honors. In addition to the ordinary triumph, he will be given the right to be sent home at night by candlelight and the sound of flutes; moreover, a column will be erected in his honor at the Forum, bearing his name and victory engraved.

This success was almost offset by a setback. A Roman army was enveloped in Sicily in a parade. It could only be made from this bad step if one occupied a hill that covered the road. A legionary tribune, Marcus Calpurnius Flamma, offered himself to settle there. It was walking to certain death, because all the effort of the enemy was going to concentrate against this post. He found, however, three hundred brave men to die with him.

The Carthaginians were only so sure of this handful of brave men, that the Roman army, saved by this sacrifice, had left the defile. They took revenge on them: all perished. However, the Romans, returning the next day to the hill, found there Calpurnius Flamma still living under a heap of corpses. He received a crown of grass from the consul, says Pliny, "the most noble reward;" for this simple crown meant that he to whom it was given had saved the lives of Roman citizens. In order to catch up with the Carthaginian navy, Rome is revitalizing its navy. In 260 B.C., in two months the wood is cut, shaped and the Romans launch on the seas 140 ships of wars, built on the model of a captured Carthaginian ship.

The military genius of the Romans made them find a way to defeat the Carthaginians on their own element: they invented a war machine the raven, a sort of footbridge of fangs or a bridge which, falling on the galley enemy, seized with crampons of iron, holds it motionless and delivers passage to the soldiers. Henceforth it is no longer, so to speak; that a land battle where the legionnaire finds all its advantages.

The Roman troops are led by the consul Gaius Duilius who commands the infantry and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio (the uncle of African Scipio), the Navy. Unfortunately, Scipion is captured with 17 ships near the island of Lipari. At the same time, off Mylae on the northern coast of Sicily, 125 Carthaginian boats confront the Roman fleet commanded by Duilius. The Carthaginians are defeated and lose 45 boats. It is the first naval victory of Rome. This naval victory will have a great impact. Rome will be very proud of it and will reward as much as she can for her general by unusual honors. In addition to the ordinary triumph, he will be given the right to be sent home at night by candlelight and the sound of flutes; moreover, a column will be erected in his honor at the Forum, bearing his name and victory engraved.

This success was almost offset by a setback. A Roman army was enveloped in Sicily in a parade. It could only be made from this bad step if one occupied a hill that covered the road. A legionary tribune, Marcus Calpurnius Flamma, offered himself to settle there. It was walking to certain death, because all the effort of the enemy was going to concentrate against this post. He found, however, three hundred brave men to die with him. The Carthaginians were only so sure of this handful of brave men, that the Roman army, saved by this sacrifice, had left the defile.

They took revenge on them: all perished. However, the Romans, returning the next day to the hill, found there Calpurnius Flamma still living under a heap of corpses. He received a crown of grass from the consul, says Pliny, "the most noble reward;" for this simple crown meant that he to whom it was given had saved the lives of Roman citizens.

With his success at Cape Ecnome, Marcus Atilius Regulus tries to repeat the strategy of Agathocles of Syracuse landing with 15,000 men near Carthage in Africa to divert the Punic troops of Sicily. Regulus meets a Punic army in Adys and easily wins. Carthage wants to negotiate with Regulus.

The terms of surrender issued by Regulus are so restrictive that the Punic finally decide to fight whatever the cost! A group of Greek mercenaries under the command of Spartan commander Xanthippe arrives in Carthage. Xanthippe took command of the Carthaginian army (12000 men, 4000 horsemen and 100 elephants). In a short time, he changed the face of affairs, tired Regulus by a crowd of small fights. At the battle of Utica, the Roman troops are cut in pieces, 500 Romans are captured including the consul himself.

Meanwhile, the Roman fleet under the command of Marcus Aemilius Paullus runs aground near the Sicilian coast of Camarina.The loss of this army, the destruction by storms of several Roman fleets forced Rome to renounce Africa and postpone the war in Sicily, where hostilities languished for several years.

Carthage sends Regulus to Rome to ask for peace in his name (250 B.C.) subject to his word of honor to return to Carthage if his mission fails. This general had nobly supported his captivity. When he arrived near Rome, he did not want to enter the city. "I am no longer a citizen," he said; and, as he was also charged with proposing the exchange of prisoners, instead of pleading a cause which was his, he dissuaded the senators from accepting it.

They wanted to pity him on himself: "My days are numbered," he answered, "they gave me a slow poison;"and he left, notwithstanding the entreaties of his friends and the prayers of the whole senate, in spite of the tears of his wife Marcia and his children. He had given his word. True to his oath, he returns to Carthage where he is tortured before being put to death.At the end of the year 252 B.C., Carthage, after having mulled a revolt in Africa sends a new army in Sicily under the command of Hasdrubal.

The Carthaginians decide to attack the Roman army commanded by Consul Lucius Caecilius Metellus near the city of Panormus. The Romans rout Hasdrubal's army, capture his fighting elephants and send them to the circuses in Rome. Hasdrubal is recalled to Carthage to be executed. This defeat ends the land campaigns of Carthage in Sicily. There are no longer in Sicily, in the Carthaginians, but Drepane and Lilybee.

The war is concentrated around these two cities. In 249 B.C., the Appius consul Claudius Pulcher wants to surprise a Carthaginian fleet in the port of Drépane. But omens are sinister: the sacred chickens refuse to eat! "They do not want to eat,"said the consul, "well, let them drink!" and he has them thrown into the sea. The Romans are defeated in advance by this impiety, which makes the soldiers fear the anger of the gods, and that Claudius cannot repair by clever maneuvers. The attack is a disaster, 93 Roman ships are captured, only 30 ships manage to escape. A few days after this defeat, another large Roman fleet commanded by Consul Iunius Pullus carrying new reinforcements for the siege of Lilybaeum was wiped out in a storm.

In 247 B.C., Carthage sends to Sicily a great general, Hamilcar Barca, the father of Annibal (Hannibal). Cantoned in Eryx, in an impregnable post, he held for six years the Romans in check. The war could have lasted so long, for Rome had renounced the sea, the storms having destroyed more than seven hundred galleys. Roman patriotism will give the senate a new fleet. All the citizens took their treasure money to waste.

One gave arms, the other slaves to serve as rowers; still others gave ships. Rome will have another fleet of 200 ships with its 60,000 sailors. The consul Lutatius Catulus orders them. He surprised, near the Egate Islands, a Carthaginian fleet (March 10, 241 B.C.). The battle is short and at the first shock, Carthage loses 50 ships, 70 ships and 10,000 prisoners are captured. This victory makes the Romans masters of the sea.

Carthage resigns itself to put an end to this ruinous war. Rome, master of the sea, Sicily is no longer tenable for Carthage with its empty treasure. Peace is signed under the following conditions: Carthage will not attack Hieron of Syracuse, ally of Rome; it will abandon Sicily and the neighboring islands, render all the prisoners without ransom, and pay in ten years three thousand and two hundred euochic talents. In 241 B.C., Carthaginian Sicily is reduced to Roman province and the first Punic war was over. "The battle for Sicily resumed in 254 but was largely stalemated until 241, when a fleet of 200 warships gave the Romans undisputed control of the sea-lanes and assured the collapse of the Punic stronghold in Sicily" ((The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica). Both cities after 20 years of conflict are bloodless and impoverished. Hamilcar Barca agrees to leave Sicily and the Lipari Islands.

On the other hand, he obtained the recognition of the entire Carthaginian territory. Both cities undertake not to make war and not to raise soldiers. "The surprise of the war was that the Romans, who knew nothing of seamanship before it, won six of the seven naval battles" (Cronin 24). Romans captives will have to be returned without ransom and a contribution of 3200 talents over 10 years is imposed on the vanquished. Carthage undertakes not to make war in Syracuse. Apart from the territory of Syracuse, allied with Rome, all Sicily will become the first Roman province.

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