#ClimateCrisis The history of #EarthDay and how #Trump and #Trudeau have let us down

Climate crisis: The history of Earth Day and how the leaders of today have let us down

Every year communities across the planet celebrate Earth Day, but not everyone knows the history of this environmental day of awareness. Almost 48 years ago on April 22, 1970, millions of people hit the streets to protest the negative impacts on the environment of 150 years of industrial development. Smog had become so bad that in some areas it was deadly and there was evidence that smog pollution was detrimental to human health. Smog pollution was shown to cause developmental delays in children. Pesticides and pollutants were negatively impacting the environment and biodiversity were in decline. It was the beginning of the climate crisis that we are still dealing with to this day.

But the 70’s was a decade where awareness about pollution and greenhouse gases was growing. In July of 1970, President Richard Nixon and the US Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which led to the creation of many environmental laws including the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Since then, Earth Day has become a global event with millions of people worldwide who take part in environmental protests, sign petitions, plant trees, organize community clean-ups and commit other green acts to raise awareness about pollution and the climate crisis. According to Earth Day Network, more than one billion people in 192 countries now take part in Earth Day actions.

But in 2018, in this current political climate, Earth Day ideals are under attack. The US has a commander and chief who doesn’t believe in human caused climate change. The Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species act that Earth Day inspired has been threatened to be reviewed and rolled back. The EPA has started rolling back regulations on vehicle emissions regulations. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has removed the term ‘climate change’ from their verbiage and has removed climate change from their strategic plan. Clean energy programs and research is being cut, National Parks are being de-funded and the expansion of fracking, drilling and mining for coal is risking some of the most biodiverse and untouched regions of the US. Climate change websites are being altered and censored, and climate change has been dropped from the list of National Security Threats. National Geographic has created a running list of how President Donald Trump is changing the environment.

In Canada we are facing similar- albeit not as extreme- concerns from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The PM is under fire for claiming to be a strong advocate for the environment while he was campaigning, yet continues to expand and promote new pipelines in Canada despite widespread protests. While he has taken some steps in the right direction for climate change- he introduced a carbon tax, funded several green initiatives and signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015- it appears that his commitment to climate may be just another photo op. Trudeau has approved three pipelines in his short time as Canada’s leader. While Trudeau has big shoes to fill fixing all the environmental mistakes that his predecessor Stephen Harper made, Canadians aren’t buying into the hype anymore. What can Trudeau do to help meet our climate goals- which we are trending to miss by 42%- this video can help shed some light on possible solutions.

The climate crisis and environmental pollution is one of the biggest challenges our generation will face. It is also the most important challenge in terms of securing a prosperous future for the next generation and making sure we have adequate food supply, clean drinking water, breathable air and a climate that is survivable. It takes more than just our leaders; it takes communities, the media, families, retailers, corporations, and consumers. It takes all of us to make changes and sacrifices when it comes to cost and convenience.

Are you ready to take the next step? Join one of the Earth Day Network Campaigns or sign this Earth Day Petition to help End Plastic Pollution. Happy Earth Day to all my green Paw’s peeps!

#EarthDay #EndPlasticPollution

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