Earth Day is an opportunity for all Americans to
educate themselves on the state of our
environment, and to pitch-in in their local
communities to make them better.
The House Committee on Resources invites you to
celebrate the achievements made in protecting
the environment over the past several decades.
Environmental trendlines continue in the right
direction, with cleaner air and fresh water for
all Americans. But too often, environmental
headlines seem to predict impending apocalypse.
Good news doesn't sell as well as bad news, and
the "sky is falling" sensationalism of
environmental activists lead people to falsely
believe that our environment is getting worse
when it's actually getting better.
For example, air quality has improved
dramatically, with smog and ozone levels
steadily declining in major U.S. cities. The
United States has 14 million more acres of
forestland today than it did in 1920. Hundreds
of millions of acres of parks and wildlife
reserves have been secured for future
generations of Americans to enjoy. And
technology is showing us ways to meet the needs
of Americans while having the lowest possible
impact on our environment. We are learning that
man and nature can live together and peacefully
In fact, our great environmental achievements
have all come to America while America has
continued to grow and prosper economically.
Consider this fact: since 1970, volatile organic
compound and carbon monoxide emissions from cars
and trucks have declined by nearly 74 percent
and 64 percent, respectively, all while cars and
trucks in the U.S. doubled and total miles
driven increased by 181 percent. Our prosperity
has fueled the research and investment necessary
to achieve these and other results. We are
finding out that the key to a healthy
environment is a growing and healthy economy.
That's an environmental and economic success
story about which all Americans can be proud.
Unfortunately, the positive trendlines don't
fill the pockets of America's environmental
activist industry. Scare tactics and sensational
rhetoric have enabled the top 30 organizations
to generate billions in annual revenue,
according to public documents. But how much of
this money is spent on real, hands-on, "muddy
boots" conservation work for the environment?
Almost none. Instead, it is spent on lobbyists
and lawyers, partisan politics, direct mail, and
more and more sensational fundraising campaigns.
What we are left with, in many cases, is
misinformation and rhetoric that perverts the
development of policies that will extend the
positive trend-lines of success. The president
of the National Environmental Education and
Training Foundation described the consequences
of this quite succinctly when he said, "This
dependence on mythology threatens to block
progress on important environmental initiatives
... it is vital that we debunk these myths so
that the public can most effectively address the
needs of today."
After all of our great achievements, and to
continue our record of success, our environment
will be better served if Americans volunteer for
real conservation projects in their local
communities, and use their own knowledge to
guide their choices about how best to be a
steward of the environment. It's not as easy as
writing a check is for some, but with sweat,
elbow grease and self-sacrifice comes a deeper
appreciation of the environment.
This website provides information on the great
environmental successes we have achieved over
the last several decades, information to
"debunk" the myths, and data on how the
environmental movement in the U.S. has truly
lost its way.
As President Ronald Reagan once said,
preservation of our environment is not a liberal
or conservative challenge, it's common sense.
Indeed, all Americans and Members of Congress
are committed to having clean air, clean water,
and healthy populations of wildlife. Reasonable
people can always disagree the on best ways to
achieve our goals, but common sense escapes the
debate too frequently, as the ubiquitous and
inane rhetoric of "anti-environment" and "gut,
rollback, and eviscerate" illustrates. Let Earth
Day 2006 be a call for common sense and real
results for the environment.