Green Insider: What Motivates You?
When our country celebrated the first Earth Day 42 years ago, we were at an environmental tipping point: our factories spewed black clouds of toxic emissions without apology and it was commonplace to dump toxic waste into our waterways. Both our country and our environment were in desperate need of environmental leadership and governmental regulation.
Through the inspiration and motivation of Senator Gaylord Nelson, the first Earth Day thrust environmental issues into the limelight and created a sense of responsibility and urgency to repair and protect our environment. It worked. Half a year later, the Environmental Protection Agency was created.
During the energy crisis and oil embargo of the early ‘70s, people learned first hand how precious our natural resources truly are. It motivated us (me and my family included) to reduce, reuse, and recycle and raised awareness of environmental issues across the country, setting a tone for continued activism.
As I reflect upon the work of environmentalists over the past 42 years, I realize that we all have different motivations for wanting to protect our environment and its precious natural systems. For some it is a love of animals and for others it is a desire to protect a favorite park or forest. For me, it is to protect the health of our children.
Inspired by people like Dr. Phil Landrigan (author of Healthy Child Healthy World) and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, I have learned that toxic pollution could be responsible for the ever-increasing rates of chronic childhood diseases that are all too common these days. Today, 1 in 3 kids are obese (which can lead to type 2 diabetes), 1 in 10 are asthmatic, 1 in 70 boys is autistic, and 1 in 6 has some kind of disorder like ADHD. That equates to about 50-70 million sick kids in our country, which is not good for our economy, our morale, and most importantly, the kids who will one day be this country’s leaders.
I believe that toxic pollution found in our air and waterways, not to mention the chemicals found in our food, personal care products, and home cleaning products, are playing a huge roll in the health of our children. I have found that the state of our environment is directly related to our personal health, so I am motivated to clean up our air and water, protect our natural systems, and fight for government regulation on the use of chemicals, all to protect our children who often times don’t have a voice.
This year, discover what motivates you to go green. Be inspired by movies, people, or places and figure out what it is you can do – no matter how big or small the act – to make a difference. While our causes and platforms all might seem very different at first glance, we are all working together for one common goal: to create a world that is healthy and thriving for all life.
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