Save The Environmental Protection Agency; It's Important.

Save The Environmental Protection Agency; It's Important.

Protect human health and the environment.
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Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency has been put in danger of major neglect. A freshman Republican in Congress has revealed a bill to abolish the EPA altogether because the EPA has apparently "exceeded their original mission" and "violated the sovereignty of the states." This past week, the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt as the new head of the EPA under the Trump Administration. Not only are these actions dangerous for the environment, but they are dangerous for human health and the ultimate future of the planet we live on. It shows a lack of understanding for what the EPA does.

The EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency is a Federal government agency that was created to protect human health and the environment. They ensure that Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work. They enforce laws that protect human health and the environment, and work to make sure the public has accurate scientific information regarding the environment and specific problems like climate change. They are instrumental in making sure U.S. Policy-making does not put humankind and our environment in danger, and work with other nations to protect the global environment.

The EPA actively develops and enforces regulations, gives grants to environmental programs, studies environmental issues, teaches people about the environment, and publishes information related to human health and the environment.

The presence and work of the EPA is especially important when global Carbon Dioxide levels are still increasing rapidly, sea levels are rising, and global climate changes are harming farming practices across the globe. Climate change "skeptics" are putting the EPA at risk because they don't "believe" that humans are contributing to the warming global temperatures. Scott Pruitt is among the disbelievers, stating that climate change is a "religious belief." Despite the substantial scientific evidence that humankind is causing the rapid rates of climate change, it is more convenient for many industries to release toxic gases into the air, let industrial discharge out into rivers, and cause more harm to the environment. The EPA regulates many of these actions, and deregulation not only poses a threat to the immediate environment, but could cause harm to human health across the country.

The EPA has a long history of victories for the environment and human health. Here's a list of just some of their accomplishments and programs since their inception:

o Monitored radiation levels around Three Mile Island after the reactor meltdown in 1979

o Sponsored the first Earth Day, now one of the largest days of grassroots community service

o Banned the use of DDT in agriculture because of its hazard to human health

o Aided in the completion of a comprehensive plan to combat climate change

o Assessed the conditions of drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities after Hurricane Sandy in 2012

o Set a Carbon Pollution standard for power plants, to reduce air pollution

o Helped decrease mercury poisoning by setting mercury standards on power plants

o Aided in the emergency response to the BP Oil Spill in 2010

o Contributed money to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, addressing the toxic smoke that comes from inadequate indoor stoves and helped people in third world countries own cleaner stoves

o Major research on climate change, resulting in a Nobel Peace Prize for 30 EPA workers

o Contributed money to environmental education in public schools

In Massachusetts alone, further damages to the environment can be prevented if the EPA remains an active part of the government. Filling wetlands have destroyed about 1/3 of New England’s coastal wetlands since the early 1800’s. Many of these areas are now protected by the EPA, and deregulation would give industries a chance to fill in more wetlands, destroying a vital ecosystem that absorbs water, organic material, and acts as a buffer.

Warming waters have led to a decline in cod and lobster populations South of Cape Cod. The loss of wetlands has decreased the bass and clam populations; all of which are key to the Massachusetts economy. Storm damage in the 21st century could cost Boston $5-100 billion dollars, depending on the response to rising sea levels. The EPA contributes significantly to research in climate and has the power to regulate carbon emissions and foster relationships with other nations to reduce the rate at which the global average temperatures are rising.

The Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act regulate the discharge of pollutants and ensure our water is safe to drink, and our output of greenhouse gases is reduced to slow the effects of climate change. Without the EPA, the protection of the environment would fall to the hands of local and state governments, causing massive deregulation, in some cases allowing different industries to pollute the environment in hazardous ways.

The EPA's mission is to protect our world, and losing it would be detrimental in numerous ways. For the future of our country and generations to come, we need to protect the EPA, prevent the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines from being built, and head towards a future of renewable, sustainable energy. We cannot allow climate change deniers to run our Environmental Protection Agency, and we cannot stop standing up for our land.

Cover Image Credit: PBS

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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