Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All
Forty years ago today, the Environmental Protection Agency was created. It's fitting that the anniversary falls just one week after Thanksgiving, because every American from every state should be grateful for the Agency's work.
Consider that by 1990, the EPA's actions had prevented 205,000 premature American deaths, 189,000 cardiovascular hospitalizations and 18 million child respiratory illnesses. The EPA has reduced 60% of dangerous air pollutants in the air we breathe. They have transformed 67% of contaminated Superfund Brownfield sites nationwide into livable neighborhoods and active business centers. In the four decades of its existence, millions of lives have been impacted by the EPA.
Including my own. I grew up in a community where "affordability" was a code word for low income and high pollution. The industries responsible for earning the region the dubious distinction as the worst place to live in the Bay area weren't likely to prioritize public health - nor was a local government desperate to keep any and all employers. That's where the EPA comes in.
So on this anniversary, I want to say: thanks. And we at Green For All have made it easy for you to say thanks as well at http://thankyouepa.com. There, we identified our favorite accomplishments from the last 40 years and made it easy for you to share those accomplishments with your friends and colleagues.
Some day, in the hopefully near future, we'll build industries that don't trade job opportunities for pollution. Today, though, the EPA continues to face strong opposition from those chained to a dirty energy economy. It is incumbent on all of us to help the EPA continue on a trajectory that will maintain our clean air protections and open the door to a new era - an era in which our nation is no longer addicted to dirty energy; no longer dependent on overseas supplies of oil; and finally able to put millions to work in new, green industries.
Whether EPA Administrator Jackson is joining us in Harlem to plant community gardens as she did last Earth Day, or working to ensure green job training for low income communities, it is clear that the EPA shares our vision to make our country not green for some, but truly Green For All.
Express your thanks to the EPA on this important anniversary. Visit http://thankyouepa.com and celebrate their success in cleaning our air and water, creating thousands of jobs, and saving tens of thousands of lives.
This post was originally published on The Energy Blog, a project with National Geographic's Great Energy Challenge and Planet Forward.