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Environment Matters Audio Podcast

Environment Matters
EPA Region 3
Topic: Earth Day 2012
Size: : 3,270k
Time: 03:34

Date: April 19, 2012

Host: Hello, this is Bonnie Smith and welcome to Environment Matters, our series of environmental podcasts. We are pleased today to talk with EPA’s mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.   Shawn, what’s the significance of Earth Day?

Garvin: Forty-two years ago, on April 22nd, the first Earth Day brought together Americans in places all across the country to advocate for greater environmental protections, and the urgent need to take better care of our planet.

That nation-wide activism and the momentum it built led to some significant actions including the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.  In fact, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act.

Worth noting is that one of the great drivers behind the first Earth Day was clean water.  Specifically, clean water in our cities.  The image of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio catching fire in June 1969 drew national attention to our nation's environmental problems. This was one of many reasons the American people stepped up on that first Earth Day.

In the past 42 years we’ve seen significant progress: our air is cleaner, the water we drink is healthier, our rivers, lakes and streams are cleaner so much that we can swim and fish in many of them, and lands that were badly polluted in different towns and cities are now cleaned up.

Even though we’ve benefitted from over 40 years of environmental progress, we face a range of new challenges.  And those new challenges require new solutions.

So, first and foremost, Earth Day should serve as a reminder that as a nation, there is more to be done.  We need to secure the progress we’ve made and remain committed to improving the health of Americans and the future of our communities.

After four decades of gaining strong, effective environmental protections, the American people do not want to see their public health and environment take a step back.  They want to do more.

To tackle 21st century challenges, we need everyone to do their part.

Host: How?

Garvin: Making a commitment to sustainability is the kind of leadership needed.  People are re-thinking the ways we develop our communities – in both urban and rural places. 

Businesses, colleges and universities, landowners and homeowners, are looking for smarter approaches to creating healthier and economically sustainable communities.

We’re partnering on these initiatives with local governments, the States, companies, schools, redevelopers, and other organizations who see the value of investing in these efforts that result in healthier people, jobs, and more livable and sustainable communities.

So on this 42nd Earth Day, it is a time to both celebrate the great progress we've made on the environment and to renew our commitment to clean air, water and land.  I encourage everyone to get involved in their communities, wherever they may be, to help take care of our planet.

Host:  Thanks for joining us on Environment Matters and here’s wishing you and your family a great Earth Day.  If you want more information go to epa.gov/earthday.


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