This piece was cross-posted from Farmer’s Daughter.
Three years ago, I remember having a “light bulb moment.” I was sitting in my environmental law class, the first class in my environmental education program (my second MS). I was taking notes in black pen on my repurposed notebook, learning about how a bill becomes a law and listening to my professor talk about the comment period.
I remember thinking that I had never learned this before. I’m sure at some point in my education I was supposed to learn it, but to be honest I was much more interested in things like studying the cartilaginous skeleton of sharks, adding insect species to my entomology collection, tracing the evolution of placental viviparity, and the genetics of Przewalski’s horse. I kid you not, those were my passions and college. I didn’t see how US law was connected to the natural world. But then suddenly, years later, I got it.
I could do all I want on my own to protect everything I love about the natural world. I could stop dying my hair, make my own cleaners and read every environmental book since Silent Spring, but that wasn’t enough. If I wanted to affect real change on a large-scale, I had to get politically active and advocate for legally protecting the environment. I had to speak up and make sure others were listening.
Now, I am so proud to play a role in the environmental movement at the political level. I’m thrilled to be one of over 800,000 people who made their voices heard and contacted the EPA about the new Mercury and Air Toxics Rule. I hope that my writing for the Moms Clean Air Force encouraged even a small fraction of those 800,000 people to speak up for the health of our atmosphere and the air that our children breathe. Thank you to everyone who contacted the EPA, and congratulations on taking a stand on protecting our environment.
The EPA is going to consider all the comments and release the final Mercury and Air Toxics Rule by November 16. This doesn’t, however, mean that our work is done. It’s only the beginning of the road to clean air.
I was thinking about that class in environmental law today, and how I should email my professor to thank her for starting me down this path. As a teacher myself, I know how much she’ll appreciate hearing from me.