The New York Times opinion article discusses why you should fight for the earth, not celebrate Earth Day. The 1970 gathering ushered in significant achievements in protecting our environment. Now Trump is destroying them.
Fifty years ago, millions of people took to the streets to protest the air and water pollution that were making us sick. Today, millions are sheltering inside to try to stem the spread of a very different kind of sickness, Covid-19.
Out of that first Earth Day eventually came — under a Republican administration — the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Environmental Protection Agency. That agency was given one mission: to protect human health and the environment. From time to time, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to strengthen the authority of the Clean Air Act. Further, the Supreme Court in 2007 affirmed that the E.P.A. has the authority to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases that warm our planet.
After dismissing the E.P.A.’s scientific advisory panel on particulate matter in 2018, Mr. Wheeler is now refusing to strengthen standards protecting us from the tiny airborne industrial particles known as PM2.5 that so badly damage our lungs. New research from Harvard, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, shows that a “small increase in long-term exposure” to fine particulate matter “leads to a large increase” in the Covid-19 death rate.