To Fend Off Emerging Threats, Evironmental Protections Need a Revamp
"With Earth Day around the corner, it’s a good time to step back and see how we’ve been doing since the first Earth Day in 1970, when 20 million people took to the streets to protest rivers on fire, DDT-poisoned birds, sewage on beaches, and a devastating oil spill off the pristine Santa Barbara coast," writes Terry Tamminen.
"Since those early days, we have improved sewage treatment plants and banned DDT, but new threats to human and environmental health are mounting – pollution from hydraulic fracking, leaking oil pipelines, nuclear disasters, and other localized impacts on communities." Add in global climate change and you have a recipe for a “transition of the Earth’s ecosystems into a state unknown in human experience.”
"These new and very visible threats are igniting a fresh grassroots call for more action that is commensurate with such challenges in ways the existing laws seem unprepared to address," says Tamminen. "Enter the 'Rights of Nature' movement," an expansion of environmental protections that has been adopted in Bolivia, Ecuador, and over three-dozen U.S. municipalities.