Defend Our Environment

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Trump administration is moving to slash the protections and programs that keep industries from polluting our air and water, threatening our health, degrading our public lands, and accelerating global warming. We can defend our environment, but only if we can unite all Americans, from across the country, from all walks of life, to stand together.

Most Americans want more, not fewer, protections for the people and places we love.

Yet if those in Washington, D.C., continue to dismantle our best environmental protections, Americans will be left with dirtier air to breathe, dirtier water to drink and swim in, a more rapidly changing climate, and more degraded public lands.

President Trump has ordered the rollback of the Clean Power Plan, the strongest action we’ve ever taken to limit climate changing power plant pollution in the United States. He announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, breaking our commitment to the world to lead the fight against climate change.

He also signed an executive order to put the Keystone XL pipeline on a fast track to construction, and another to rollback Clean Car Standards. Left unchecked, these action will lead to more pollution in our skies, triggering asthma attack in our children and further destabilizing our climate.

After promising during his campaign to “abolish” the EPA himself or “leave just a little bit,” President Trump proposed a federal budget that would slash EPA funding by 31 percent. These cuts would virtually eliminate funding for proven programs needed to clean up the nation’s great waterways, from Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound; decimate environmental research and science programs; and effectively take the nation’s environmental cops off the polluter beat.

The administration has also moved to roll back the Clean Water Rule, eliminating Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of our nation’s streams, which help provide drinking water for one in three Americans. And the president signed executive orders to open up parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans to offshore drilling, to roll back protections for America’s public lands, and to review 27 of our national monuments to determine if they should opened up to mining, drilling or logging.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A “little bit” of environmental protection is not nearly enough

Not when it comes to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the people and places we love. Not when millions of Americans share the core values that the Trump administration is violating.

The vast majority of us believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a company dumps pollution into our air or water. The future of our children and life on our planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies. The idea that we’ve found some places so special, some would even say sacred, that we’ve declared them off-limits to development is one of our proudest achievements.

But our environmental values are meaningless if we don’t act on them, and stand up and defend them when they’re under attack — especially given the power of old but entrenched industries that are wed to a status quo that no longer serves our needs, and a worldview that puts their short-term economic interests above the health of the American people and the environment we share.

Credit: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr

Uniting Americans to defend our environment

The leaders and activists of the past saw the result of decades of unchecked pollution in our smog-covered skylines and our toxic rivers. They worked against all odds and, ultimately, their values won the day. Our environmental forebears organized the first Earth Day, supported and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Now the torch passes to us.

If we bring together people from all walks of life, from both sides of the political divide, and unite in action to defend the places we love, we can show the Trump administration that reckless proposals to roll back clean air, clean water and other environmental protections will not be tolerated.

The children we know and love today can live cleaner, healthier lives in a greener world, but only if we can keep our environmental protections in place and make them stronger. It’s up to us.

Issue updates

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Paddling against the wind | Russell Bassett

For Margo Pellegrino — who recently completed a 1,700 mile journey from New York to Chicago in an outrigger canoe — advocating for clean water can be like “paddling against the wind on a windy day.” Now that she’s back home in Medford Lakes, N.J., she’s not slowed down any in her quest to protect our waterways and ensure clean water for all Americans. 

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Last year at this time, the toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie caused nearly half a million people in and around Toledo, Ohio, to be without safe drinking water. Clean water from our taps is something that many of us take for granted, but if we don’t protect our water sources — like the residents of Toledo discovered — we won’t be able to take it for granted anymore.

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A father’s guide for conservation through outdoor fun

This Father’s Day we’re celebrating the many fathers who instilled an appreciation for the great outdoors — specifically a respect for clean water — in their children by taking them hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, or just swimming in the local watering hole. The more children connect with the outdoors and local waterways, the more likely they are to respect and value wild places — creating the next generation of environmental stewards. 

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Inspiring for clean water one paddle at a time | Russell Bassett

Margo Pellegrino, a solo-paddler currently in the midst of an epic journey in her outrigger canoe, is inspiration personified. Pellegrino is a paddler with a purpose. She’s raising awareness of watershed issues that impact our drinking water health, and way of life. Instead of doom and gloom, Margo’s message is one of hope — that the problems our waterways face can be fixed. 

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