When Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth came out, it sparked a lot of controversy and discussion about the health of our planet. It opened eyes and reinvigorated the green movement in America, helping expand it across the world.
This is when we realized that mankind can’t keep operating the way it has been by harvesting and polluting Earth without care. Many people began doing their part to try and stop climate change through things like recycling, composting and taking shorter showers.
The government has stepped in by passing legislation to help encourage homes and businesses to go green. Loans were given out to businesses focused on helping the environment through things like clean energy. The wind industry may not be around today if not for the “green stimulus” built into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
It’s been awhile since any real big legislative change has been set regarding the environment. The last major environmental act passed by Congress was the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which created laws for MPG in future vehicles, increased production in biofuels and refined standards for appliances and lighting.
But recently, some push did come from the White House when President Barack Obama, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy came together to talk about how the environment affects our health. They said as emissions levels rise, people with asthma face increased risks and the rest of the population will suffer from spikes in insect-borne diseases. Though this discussion is definitely a much-needed shake up of the status quo we’ve been stuck in, much more still needs to be done.
Solar panels on residential properties are taking off, but citizens still need to be educated about the incentives and the process that helps most homeowners save money.
Another problem is fracking regulations. Fracking, the method used for extracting natural gas, can cause more seismic activity around the site and also has the potential to contribute to drinking water contamination. Plus, the liquid chemicals used in fracking is a major concern.
Not many long-term studies have been done on fracking, because it’s only been used widely in the last couple of decades. Other methods should be researched and funded as alternatives to fracking.
Deforestation is still a huge problem in places such as Africa and South America. This is a huge problem as it contributes to the greenhouse effect while also displacing much of the wildlife in the area. According to the 2010 Global Forest Resources Assessments, deforestation releases almost a billion tons of carbon each year.
Finally, more regulation is needed for the use of pesticides. When some pesticides are messing with bees and others are being linked to ADHD, something has to be done.
The path to a greener Earth is a long and hard one, but it’s a battle worth fighting. Be sure to write your representatives and let them know you want them to help preserve the planet for future generations. If you want to help more directly, find an environmentally-focused volunteer organization on a site like VolunteerMatch.