Op/Ed By Kerene Tayloe –
Truth is, our awareness, appreciation and ACTION should be an ongoing effort both individually and by our government.
Communities of color, children, the elderly and the poor are hardest hit by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s failure in protecting our health and the environment. Failing to enforce existing clean air and clean water laws will impact the health of our children, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the foods we eat now—and in the future.
We should treat every day like Earth Day. We should be vigilant about protecting our health an environment every day. Through our everyday actions, we will make positive change.
Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day that, if done continuously, can have a positive impact on the environment.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Grocery Shopping: Bring a bag to the store and leave the plastic. Reuse it just like Grandma reused those butter tubs storing everything in them—except butter.
2. Junk Junk Mail. Email beats snail mail in many ways. Save natural resources by opting out from billions of unwanted mailing and simplify your life.
3. Unplug Devices. If you aren’t using it, unplug it. Most electronics draw electricity even when off.
4. Reduce Water Usage: Practice taking short and timed showers; wash dishes in a sink of water and then rinse them; and cut down on the amount of laundry you do.
5. Choose Non-toxic: For every commercial and chemical based product on the market, there is probably a greener alternative…or even a homemade substitution!
WHAT THE EPA CAN DO
- Protect Our Public Health- More than one million African Americans live within a half-mile of existing natural gas facilities and the number is growing every year. As a result many African-American communities face an elevated risk of cancer due to air toxics emissions from natural gas development. The EPA needs to stick to its mission of protecting the public health of all communities, including communities of color and marginalized communities.
- Stop Frivolous Spending- While EPA funds have been cut, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt still continues to travel lavishly. Pruitt has spent millions on security, travel and lavish accommodations. Spending EPA dollars efficiently, to make a difference, would be beneficial to the environment.
- Restore Car Emissions Standards-Administrator Pruitt’s announcement to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles hands a victory to car manufacturers and hands a loss to the health of Americans and the quality of our air. The EPA needs to create standards that benefit our health and our environment, not the car industry.
- Keep the Clean Power Plan- Defending the safeguards finalized during the Obama administration and pushing for additional protections against pollution from the oil and gas industry will help improve the health of many African American communities while addressing climate change.
- Boot Pruitt- EPA Administrator Pruitt is under multiple investigations and his policy rollbacks ignore the mission of the EPA to protect our health and the environment. He needs to go. Join the campaign to Boot Pruitt go to www.BootPruitt.com or follow on Twitter at @BootPruitt.
Kerene N. Tayloe Esq. is a social justice advocate for vulnerable communities and clean energy solutions who currently works with Green For All.