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Happy Earth Day 2016

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It’s the 46th Anniversary of Earth Day. I remember when it was created. We were so young and had so much hope for environmental quality and our lives.

As the years roll on, protecting the environment continues to be challenging. Corporations and business focus on profits. Cutting down trees to build houses on, using prime agricultural land for housing, and polluting streams are everyday occurrences.

And, there’s always the fight with conservatives who want to cut the size of government, with the elimination of valuable government programs. It goes on and on.

I, for one, appreciate the work of the nation’s environmental agencies. I just spent most of the day writing about the preliminary agreement between government regulators and Volkswagen on the company’s installation of faulty software in 2-liter diesel cars. The default device reduces emissions when official tests are being conducted. Then, it switches back to emitting 40 times the allowable level of pollution.

My contribution to helping the environment is to write about these issues along with consumer topics. I think having a clean, healthy environment is an important part of everyone’s world.

What can consumers do to help the environment? My advice is to join a consumer group and take action to protect the environment.

Here are some of the groups I think are worthwhile:

The Environmental Working Group – The EWG researches issues and tells consumers things they wouldn’t know otherwise. I appreciated their research on cell phone radiation.

The Sierra Club – Since 1892, the Sierra Club has been working to protect communities, wild places, and the planet. It’s the largest environmental organization in the United States with 1.4 million members. Local chapters throughout the U.S. offer opportunities for hikes and other outings and action on local and state issues.

Earthjustice – The group’s slogan is, “Because the earth needs a good lawyer.” The public interest law firm works to protect natural resources and wildlife and to defend the right of all people to a healthy environment.

National Resources Defense Council – The NRDC’s priorities are establishing a clean energy future that curbs climate change, reviving the world's oceans, defending endangered wildlife and wild places, protecting health by preventing pollution, fostering sustainable communities, and ensuring safe and sufficient water.

Friends of the Earth – The group’s current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food consumers eat and products they use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

Environmental Defense Fund – The EDF works on stabilizing climate, improving the health of the ocean, supporting people and wildlife by preserving land and freshwater ecosystems, and protecting health by studying air pollution and chemicals that effect health.

National Audubon Society – The society works to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humans and the earth's biological diversity.

Earth Island Institute – Earth Island acts as an umbrella organization, providing individual projects with the freedom to develop new initiatives by offering professional services, from fiscal administration and program management to office space and equipment.

Greenpeace International – Greenpeace takes action to protect the oceans and forests, eliminate the use of harmful chemicals, and transition to a world powered by clean and unlimited energy sources such as the wind and sun.

Washington Toxics Coalition – This is the group I contact when I want to find out about harmful chemicals. The coalition’s website offers tips on healthy living, including suggestions for less toxic products to clean your home, safer products for children, and pesticide free food.

For other Earth Day tips, see my article, “Top 10 Earth Day Tips.”

Copyright 2016, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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