Humans have lived on this plant for thousands of years, and for much of it, very harmoniously with the surrounding ecosystems. Wildlife is an important part of our ecosystem and the key to our ability to live on this planet. Still, most people don’t understand our dependence on nature and how we affect the balance of these systems.
There is a campaign going on right now, and actually has been an ongoing battle for years now, regarding the Safe Chemicals Act before congress. The League of Conservation Voters is running a campaign to try to get congress to pass the Safe Chemicals Act which will force chemical companies to provide safety and health information prior to a chemical being released on the market in our everyday products. As it stands right now, the Toxic Substances Control Act doesn’t do enough to keep us safe and the EPA doesn’t have information it needs to determine if chemicals pose a health risk or not. Thousands of chemicals enter our beauty, hygiene, and everyday cleaning products that are not tested for their health and safety risks.
Even with all of the press related to rising levels of many diseases, cancers, and other illnesses, nothing is getting done, and it doesn’t stop with human life. Consider these recent articles. One from a couple of weeks ago regarding an EPA approved pesticide to kill birds. Then, another article appeared a week later about the EPA allowing overheated water from power plants to be released into our waterways. Read these articles and glean what you will, but I look at them and see an agency who is dysfunctional. On one hand they tell companies not to release air pollutants because of bird and tree effects, and on the other they are permitting chemicals specifically to kill birds, and allowing the killings of marine life due to extreme temperatures of water ecosystems.
Again, these are big problems with far-reaching influences and both positive and negative consequences. The EPA is a large agency with many departments and I am sure there is a lot of “one hand not knowing what the other is doing” going on there. But, we need to act on these issues and fix the seemingly broken agency and the obviously broken regulations.
A few baby steps for the beginner:
1. Sign the online petition on the LCV website. You don’t have to call and talk to anyone and you don’t have to attend a big protest rally. Easy.
2. Make the switch to organic products with no chemicals or compounds you can’t pronounce. The simpler the ingredients list- the better, is my rule of thumb. Easy. Try Method products, Tom’s of Maine products and Seventh Generation. All great in my book!
Again, I don’t claim to be completely switched over from chemicals but, I try. And that always counts for something right? What do you find is the hardest item(s) to change?