Greening the 4th of July sounds a little impossible doesn't it? And sort of un-fun. So in a departure from our usual "What's Greener?" format here on the Live Earth Blog, we'd like you to tell us about your independence - or your dependence! Keep reading and find out what we mean:
Greening the 4th of July sounds a little impossible doesn't it? And sort of un-fun. So in a departure from our usual "What's Greener?" format here on the Live Earth Blog, we'd like you to tell us what you wish to be independent from in order to live a healthier, greener life. Would you like to gain independence from foreign oil? Would you feel more independent if you lived off the energy grid? Grew your own food? Let us know how you plan to celebrate your independence - or your dependence! Keep reading and find out what we mean:
There are lots of cool ways to celebrate your independence. But here’s an interesting and informative look at it from the opposite side of the Susan B. Anthony: Let’s look at the laws that have been passed over the years to protect our environment and consider pledging our DEPENDENCE on these laws to protect our air, water, plants and animals and our environment as a whole for a healthier, greener future.
I _________________________, this July 4th, 2008, declare my DEPENDENCE to…
The Clean Water Act - 1972
Passed when only 36% of our public waterways were safe to swim in, nearly two-thirds of our rivers and lakes are now considered safe because of this legislation. While a huge improvement, the fight is far from over. The Bush administration imposed a directive in 2003 that instructed government agencies NOT to enforce the Clean Water Act, replacing a 25-year standard and giving developers full rein to ignore the Clean Water Act where they deemed “legal.”
On July 25, 2007, the Clean Water Restoration Act was introduced to reiterate Congress' original objective in 1972 to protect all waters of the United States. Co-sponsored by 19 Senators, the bill is considered by many environmental groups to be a necessary step towards reversing recent Supreme Court rulings that have repealed protection for as much as 60 percent of the nation's waters. The bill has yet to pass.
The Clean Air Act - 1970
In 1970, Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and passed the Clean Air Act, providing the legal platform for our government to implement programs devoted to cleaning up our air. The act was updated in 1990 to include provisions for acid rain, ozone depletion, toxic air pollution, and establishing a national permits program.
In May 2007, President Bush issued an executive order to cut greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, spurred by a Supreme Court ruling on the matter. The President proposed the 20-in-10 bill, a goal to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next ten years. In June of 2007, the EPA proposed a new, tougher standard for harmful ozone pollution, raising the bar on what is considered “clean air,” a good thing for all of us.
Endangered Species Act – 1973
Due to a declaration by President Richard Nixon that current species conservation efforts were inadequate, Congress responded by creating the Endangered Species Act, which was signed by Nixon on December 28, 1973. It provides for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they exist.
In March 2008, The Washington Post reported on documents that showed the Bush Administration has, beginning in 2001, established "pervasive bureaucratic obstacles" that limited the number of species protected under the act. The annual rate of listing (i.e., classifying species as "threatened" or "endangered") increased steadily from the Ford administration (47 listings, 15 per year) through Carter (126 listings, 32 per year), Reagan (255 listings, 32 per year), George H. W. Bush (231 listings, 58 per year), and Clinton (521 listings, 65 per year) before decline to its lowest rate under George W. Bush (60 listings, 8 per year as of 5/24/08).
The National Environmental Policy Act - 1970
One of the first US laws ever written for protecting the environment, it provides a basic policy to assure that all branches of government give proper consideration to the environment prior to undertaking any major
federal action. Areas that must meet NEPA requirements include airports, buildings, military complexes, highways, parkland purchases, and other federal activities.
NEPA came into existence following widespread protests against the federal government's destruction of neighborhoods and the natural environment while building Interstate highways during the 1950s and 1960s. The preamble reads:
"To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation..."
That was 38 years ago. And it was a great idea, even then.
Happy 4th of July!