Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to support environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, this year marks its 50th anniversary, and it is now celebrated globally in more than 193 countries.
Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts. I still have my original 1990 Earth Day T-shirt, very soft now from hundreds of launderings, and sporting a few holes. It is still my favorite!
On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by the United States and 120 other countries for a climate protection treaty. In 2017, President Trump pulled the United States out of the deal, and in November 2019 he formally notified the United Nations that we would leave the Paris climate agreement. This takes 12 months to take effect. There is still time to get this changed!
By Earth Day 2000, the internet had linked activists around the world and internet events were held all over the world.
Earth Day 2020 will include activities such as The Great Global Clean Up, to remove billions of pieces of trash from our neighborhoods, parks, beaches and Citizen Science, involving a million participants collecting data to measure air, water, pollution and human health.
You can participate in these events at Earthrise2020.org and Earthday.org.
Across the country, Democrats are taking unprecedented actions to protect our planet and challenge the EPA’s dismantling of environmental protection rules under the Trump administration. Trump has been sued more times than any other President in history.
A group of Democratic Attorneys General have filed more than 2 dozen lawsuits since January 2017. Their victories are piling up, including thwarting attempts to delay regulations on emissions by the oil and gas industry and challenging the Trump EPA rollback of the Clean Air Act regulations. These Democratic AGs have filed suit against the EPA for stricter asbestos rules and filed 14 Amicus Briefs in litigation over pipeline crossing the Appalachian Trail
In addition to lawsuits, these front-line advocates have filed official comments and opinions in public testimony on a score of different issues, including:
- The Energy Efficiency Process Rule, finalized in 1996, which guided the development of numerous efficiency standards under the Energy Policy Conservation Act, and yielded $2 trillion in consumer savings. These include efficiency standards for things like household appliances. (This is threatened by the Trump administration)
- Testimony in Congress in support of legislation to phase out hydrofluorocarbons
- Public Comment urging EPA to redo flawed risk assessment of pesticide Telone which downgraded its cancer risk, breaking with decades of research. Same with Flonicamid.
- 20 Democratic AGs criticized proposed changes to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations
- Democratic AGs challenged the EPA to reconsider its rollback of the Chemical Accident Safety Rules, which was just finalized in 2017. These rules apply to more than 12,000 facilities across the country that use and store hazardous materials. These standards established protections for workers, first responders and communities involving chemicals used or stored at industrial facilities
- Filed comments objecting to EPA proposal to update (downgrade) Lead and Copper Rules under the Safe Drinking Water Act
- Comments to request that PFAS and a string of other chemicals be added to the Toxics Release Inventory.
- The AG in Michigan brought and won a pollution case of groundwater contamination from PFAS.
- Comments urge EPA to withdraw proposed rules relating to coal ash, the toxic remains of coal burned in power plants that is stored in hundreds of unlined ponds across the country, several of which are in Indiana.
As we celebrate this Earth Day, we should remember why it is so important. Fifty years of environmental protection could disappear in a heartbeat if we give up the fight now. So stay safe, pick up some trash and don’t forget to love your mother.
Happy Earth Day