Sunday, October 3, 2010

Environmental Progress

Darren McGavin in his classic role as the furnace fighter in "A Christmas Story"

This marks 40 years since the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. By any measure, the environment is much cleaner in the U.S. when measured against my childhood.The agency has done a lot of good things: Most rivers and the Great Lakes are much cleaner than they used to be. When I was a child, my grandmother still had a coal furnace like the one featured in "A Christmas Story." I remember the winter morning haze those furnaces created. There is so much less air pollution in most of the U.S. that we are now defining polluted air down. These stricter air standards go against such valid environmental practices as the annual burning in the Flint Hills.

What bothers me is that environmentalists, on the whole, do not acknowledge this progress. Instead of acknowledging our successes and carefully measuring the cost/benefit of additional measures, the large environmental groups seem to go from one faddish concern to another, too often in extreme terms.

Anyone who reads this blog, views my photography, and reads about various environmental practices knows I love the outdoors and I believe we should be good stewards of the environment. I was a Boy Scout and our motto was "leave the campground in better condition than you found it." That is excellent advice today and in the future.

So, I wish to congratulate the EPA on its many successes.  I also urge the environmental movement to back off the extreme language and messaging (much of which I have refused to post here -- I wish to generate light rather than heat) and truly engage both sides on environmental issues. That is likely to result in more progress and less rancor.

1 comment:

  1. Mike, you make a good point. In general terms throughout the older industrialised nations efforts to clean up have improved the world we live in. It certainly is better these days than in my childhood when I lived in Warrington (Lancashire, England) where the local canals were a grey lifeless channel and the River Mersey had floes of chemical suds making their way downstream. So yes there are reasons to feel positive, as you say however, the green fringe never admit to anything good. Regards Barry Sheridan

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