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 The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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The Revival Of The Coal Industry Is Unattainable

Clean beautiful coal will never be a reality. President Trump's backing of a declining industry is misguided and will have despairing environmental impacts.

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The coal industry and its workers were placed at the forefront of American politics during the 2016 election cycle. President Trump promised a revival of the coal industry and promised to secure the jobs of coal country. The President, halfway through his first term, has so far taken measures to do just that. Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, threw out Obama's Clean Power Plan, and did away with an Obama-era regulation that would prevent coal ash from entering streams and other bodies of water.

On one hand, it's quite extraordinary for a politician to do good on his campaign promises. On the other hand, is anyone considering whether or not the President is putting all his eggs into the wrong basket? Coal has been on the decline for about a decade now. Even without environmental regulations, the energy produced by coal is expected to reduce by 20% by 2030. Renewable energy such as wind and solar are replacing coal.


For an election campaign, it's easy to see why a candidate would align with coal. States like West Virginia and Pennsylvania are key when running a national campaign. The votes are there in those counties that support the coal industry. They will vote for any candidate who sides with their industry. But from an environmental standpoint, there's more on the line than just an election. It's about our clean air and water. Climate change is real and the effects of coal will only accelerate the process.

Coal ash that finds its way into water streams can damage that water supply for good. It could also impact the wildlife within the area. Coal also pollutes the air we breathe. Clean coal is a myth. Plain and simple. Coal is anything but clean. Clean coal sounds good in a stump speech, but we all know it's a fallacy.

Mountaintop mining also has a deep environmental impact. The Appalachian mountains have been destroyed from surface mining. West Virginia residents hold their beautiful mountains in high regard. Now, some of them look very different and the destruction is permanent. If the mining continues, the mountains of the Appalachia region will be gone. It would be a shame if you went to West Virginia to admire their mountains, and none were left.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt passed the American Antiquities Act of 1906. Roosevelt protected 230 million acres of land during his presidency. Roosevelt understood the importance of conservation and preserving our nation's natural beauty. The same natural beauty that God envisioned. We should not take that for granted. We should restore our mountains, forests, and lakes so that our children's children can reside in the richness of our natural environment.

President Roosevelt also ended the coal strike in 1902. The United States was much more dependent on coal in the 20th century than it is now. Roosevelt knew the coal strike had to be resolved because the cold winter would have been fatal. The change of the Republican party over a century later is quite intriguing to ponder. The party went from a strong conservationist in Roosevelt to Trump, who is willing to move mountains for a dying industry.

All of these facts surrounding the coal debate cannot be ignored. The rest of the western world will move on to new forms of renewable energy. While the United States will be stuck in neutral, reviving coal. Renewable energy should be strongly considered if we are to protect our water, air, and lands.

Disclaimer: I understand the risks coal miners make when they show up for work. I know that safety regulations are not always up to par and that coal mining is a very dangerous profession. I also understand the viewpoint of coal miners and their reasoning for disagreeing with me. I know they want to work and provide for their families. That's what we all want to do. As I write this, I wish not to offend coal miners, I only aim to critique the President and his policies about the coal industry.

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