The EPA and Act on Climate Change

I realize I still have not gone out to get proof of the eleventy-billion grackles that live in my neighbourhood. Peace offering? One solitary grackle below. You would be an angry bird too if there wasn’t a nice fluffy towel following your bath.

Grackle
Grackle

The EPA and Act on Climate Change

poison springFirst things first: please read Poison Spring by E.G. Vallianatos and McKay Jenkins. A good review can be found here. The review is a kind of Cliff’s Notes version if you don’t want to read the book. Vallianatos worked at the EPA for 25 years. The book is an éxpose about how it has come to pass that the EPA pretty much completely fails to protect the public. McKay Jenkins is a professional science writer who collaborated to make Poison Spring a quick and suspenseful read.

I realize sometimes I am the last person to know these things but I just heard today about the EPA’s program to reduce carbon pollution. When I saw the details, I didn’t know which response was better: disgust or anger.

I read about it in passing on someone’s blog — a writer who ironically enough was complaining about how the EPA controls everyone’s very existence. haha I guess NOBODY likes the EPA.  Link to the EPA plan can be found here. Basically, the agency charged with protecting the environment does have a plan to help stop climate change. Faced with unprecedented species extinctions, shrinking glaciers, less fresh water availability for everyone, possible increases in floods and droughts, crops that will fail because of reduced chill hours, changes in sea levels affecting marine life, ocean acidification and so much more the EPA rolled out its great idea. Wait for it …

They have published 30 tips to help us Act on Climate Change. Bonus! They included some handy graphics we can share with others using social media.

Ok. I just realized that neither disgust or anger really fit the situation. I am going with disbelief.

First: NOAA has already done a great job of educating people about climate change. The information is out there and a consensus has been reached. Maybe the EPA didn’t get the memo. However, even if that were true, not one of the tips the EPA offers is news or terribly helpful. I dare  you to find even one person on the planet who doesn’t already know that recycling is a good idea. everyone already knows to turn out the light and turn off the tap. Should a government agency offer green-washing suggestions about which products to buy?

Second: They didn’t include the one tip that COULD help. Reducing or eliminating meat and cheese from our diets would have a huge impact on the global warming trend. Producing one patty of meat releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000-pound car nearly 10 miles. Meat and cheese production accounts for more greenhouse gases than construction or transportation. So, to the EPA here’s a real tip: Meatless Monday for starters.  (Happy side note: An American public school now offers a fully vegetarian school diet with hot entrées. Bonus! They are not based on cheese)

Third: I would be much more interested in learning what the EPA (an agency with funding, a mandate to protect the environment and hopefully some better science than they are showing) is actually doing to address the problem. Why pass the problem on to us when fixing this problem is their day job?

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Fact I just learned today: our livestock system accounts for 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions and for 80% of total anthropogenic land use.

80% ! Do we really value cows more than people or wildlife? I can think of some better uses for all that land. I bet you can, too.

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5 thoughts on “The EPA and Act on Climate Change

  1. it is amazing how ‘they’ still manage to shock us isnt it? our present gov. doesnt really believe in climate change and have absolutely no intention of meeting it in any way at all.
    oh well back to the people .!!!
    the coal industry wants boycotts to be not allowed ( guess the divestment boycott is hurting a little) and there are calls to make protesting illegal.
    dark times indeed in this country.
    Sandra

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  2. I sit here indicted, because I (and my family) consume beef and cheese regularly. Often in combination. That said, we do our best to stick to locally sustainably produced beef and are working to lower our dairy habit and up our intake of vegetables. Including participating in a local organic CSA farm program. Lifelong habits are tricky to shake but we have to do our best to recognize the realities of our current situation. I agree educating and more importantly raising up children actively utilizing alternative approaches to shopping and eating are key.

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    1. Someone somewhere actually did the math to see just how much of a difference in carbon emissions there would be if everyone in America just gave up meat for that one day a week. I read about it years ago and of course didn’t note the source. I wish I had because I recall it being extraordinary. And it gave me such hope because really one day out of a week is a goal any family can reach. I have been a vegetarian for years but that fact really inspired me to cook only vegetarian dishes for supper. The boys are on their own for breakfast and lunch and sometimes they choose to eat meat but I felt like this was one small thing I could really contribute.

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