EPA applauds America’s new green culture on the 37th Earth Day
Release Date: 04/20/2007
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By Robert E. Roberts, Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA Region 8
Thirty-seven years have passed since the first Earth Day, in 1970, when 20 million Americans joined in one of the largest demonstrations of public opinion in the history of our country. Today, one of Earth Day’s highlights is taking stock of the great progress we have made. That progress is real – on this Earth Day we celebrate the cleanest environment in a generation. But our job is not done. We still face environmental and public health challenges.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency strives to meet those challenges, but we do not do it alone. That’s because something very important and extremely positive is happening in this country. Environmental protection in America for years largely had been the exclusive responsibility of governmental agencies. That is no longer the case. Increasingly, the EPA, along with state and local departments, finds itself being joined in its mission by a growing citizen army – a new green culture. That culture includes people from towns and cities and suburbs and farms. It includes both small and large businesses. But what unites them all is a decision to assume increased responsibility to help ensure cleaner air, water and land.
Environmental business is everybody’s business. EPA looks forward to a future where material and energy is used efficiently in every business, in every community, and every home. By encouraging our partners to make smart use of our resources, we are continuing to accelerate environmental protection in America. The benefits of such collaboration have been amazing. By promoting the recycling of scrapped automobiles, 12,000 companies have been created in the United States to dismantle cars. In addition to generating an estimated $8.2 billion in sales annually, this new industry is protecting our environment. When manufacturers use scrap metal during the manufacturing process, they reduce air and water pollution by more than half – once again proving that doing what’s good for the environment is good for the bottom line.
Every month, more books are in the stores and news stories are hitting the stands about how companies are seeing more green in their bottom financial lines by adopting practices that are more environmentally green. We are seeing more people at home look for the Energy Star label to ensure maximum efficiency when they are buying new electrical products. We are seeing more people save energy though their heating or driving habits. We are seeing more people recycling and cutting back on the amount of garbage they produce. We are seeing more and more people searching for the safest pesticides and chemicals. The examples go on and on.
Region 8 is doing its part but knows that it can succeed only as part of a team that includes other government entities, including state and local governments, Tribes and countless civic-minded and environmentally concerned organizations and citizens. We believe our environmental future is bright. We applaud America shifting today to a green culture where all citizens embrace the awareness that environmental responsibility is everyone's responsibility. And we want to ensure that this vital movement continues -- instead of having 17,000 EPA employees working to help us protect the environment, we are welcoming 300 million Americans as our environmental partners.
Earth Day reminds us that much progress has occurred through our nation’s landmark environmental laws and their enforcement by local, state and federal agencies. Those laws remain in effect, are vigilantly enforced and will continue to produce important results. But the next generation of environmental gains will come in part through the good work of millions of citizens and thousands of businesses who have assumed an individual sense of environmental responsibility. This Earth Day, 2007, is an excellent time to pledge a commitment to America’s new green culture.