“The earth is what we all have in common.” – Wendell Berry

I’m going to be perfectly honest: when we started this journey, I knew there was an agency who’s sole purpose was to protect the environment. However, three months ago if someone approached me and started talking about the EPA, I would not have known what that was. Call me stupid, but as a teacher, acronyms are my life (ACTFL, IEP, LFS…oye!) and it is difficult enough to remember all of those let alone the names of all of the government agencies. YEA RIGHT. Anyway, you cannot turn on the news today without hearing some mention of the Environmental Protection Agency. So, why is everyone so heated about cuts to EPA funding? And why the HELL should I care? Here’s why…the environment. Let me explain this in layman’s terms. 

Why it matters…

Under proper leadership and with the appropriate funding, the EPA can literally save us. I know – sounds dramatic right? But think about this…where would we be without access to clean water? What would we do if the air we breathe became so heavily polluted that breathing easy became a thing of the past? What would happen to the world around us if ocean life ceased to exist? Well…

…unfortunately many of these terrible things have been occurring for years, often right under our noses. The EPA is the agency responsible for lighting a fire under the behinds of those responsible for committing criminal acts against the environment. The EPA enforces air pollution control. It helped pass the Clean Water Act and The Safe Drinking Water Act. It even protects our communities against risky hazardous waste operations.

What’s really awesome is the EPA’s efforts to educate us, the “average joes”. It features podcasts, green living guides, current research, case studies, lawsuits…the amount of information is both AWESOME and overwhelming. See for yourself!

From ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’

Unlike most businesses, schools and often times, people – the EPA takes a proactive approach to policy change. Why wait until someone or something is already hurt before we do something about it? Why not try to prevent bad things from happening. It sounds obvious doesn’t it? Unfortunately, most people are blinded by $$$ and let the green stuff guide their thinking (*side note: ironic that money is green?).

Photo credit: Daniele Zanni via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

The EPA tries to be proactive by regulating the oil and natural gas industry, promoting the production of ‘clean’ vehicles, cutting carbon pollution from power plants…the list goes on and on. We need the EPA to: clean up the messes we made in the past, protect us from the problems we face in the present, and support innovations that will allow us to live “normal” lives in the future. It may be 2017 – but that does not mean we have our sh*$ together.

Envirofacts (this is SWEET)

Check THIS out! Using the EPA’s Envirofacts search engine, I could find information on facilities in my town, city and state that are responsible for complying with the policies laid out by the agency. Now granted, some of the data is difficult for the average person to understand (science man, so complicated). BUT, its interesting to see how many businesses, plants and companies must report to the government, and how many actually comply with its regulations.

Our bottom line is this: we need the support from powerful agencies like the EPA to lead the fight – the fight for our livelihood and for the well-being of the environment. We cannot and will not do it alone. So, educate yourselves. Take a minute to read about how you can promote the work they do, and how we can make sure that agencies like the EPA are always prioritized. Without it, we are lost.

Here’s a summary by Brilliant Botony:

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