Breast Cancer Awareness – Mr. Pruitt Do Your Job

I will not be silent! What about you?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month prompted me to write to EPA chief Scott Pruitt requesting that he do his job, which is protecting human health and the environment.

As an American, a mother, and a breast cancer survivor I am outraged that Administrator Pruitt is purposefully enabling industries to pollute our air, water, and land. It is shocking and frightening that the top ranking environmental official in the United States is actively trying to dismantle the organization that he is supposed to be leading while endangering the health and well-being of Americans all across the country.

I doubt I am the only person who sees a connection between carcinogens and other harmful substances in our environment and people getting cancer and a myriad of other horrible diseases. Pruitt should be eliminating pollution and toxins from our environment not adding to them.

On Monday, October 9, 2017, I saw the news stories reporting that Pruitt announced he is repealing the Clean Power Plan instead of implementing it. Watching Pruitt on video proclaiming, “The war on coal is over” was disturbing. As the head of the EPA, he should be declaring, “The war on air pollution is on.”

This same man says that he is first and foremost, a family man. If he really is a family man then why is he not doing everything in his power to protect human health and the environment? After all, his daughter and son need a habitable planet to live on along with billions of other people and living creatures.

I will not be silent!

Even if someone shreds my letter as soon as it arrives at EPA headquarters and it never makes it to Pruitt’s desk, I felt compelled and obligated to write it and put it in the mail. I am including a copy of the letter in this post.

Write Your Own Letter

You can join me by writing your own letter to Administrator Pruitt. In my dreams, a million letters written by concerned Americans decorated with pink ribbons magically make it past Pruitt’s censors and fill his office to the ceiling.

Make a Public Comment Online

If you do not feel like writing a letter, or even if you do, you can share your thoughts with Administrator Pruitt by making a public comment related to the EPA’s fiscal year 2018-2022 strategic plan.

The 38-page draft strategic plan outlines the EPA’s priorities for the next four years. If you are at all concerned about the state of the environment and/or climate change, it is worth your time to read it and then make a public comment.

Making a public comment is easy. The following link will take you directly to EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0533 on the regulations.gov website. From there you can read the draft plan and enter a public comment (you may make an anonymous comment if you do not want to provide your name).

For my public comment, I excerpted a paragraph from my letter to Administrator Pruitt and then uploaded a copy of the letter as an attachment.

The deadline for public comments is October 31, 2017. Make your comment today!

My Letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt

2017-10-09 EPA Administrator Pruitt Letter - Breast Cancer Awareness and EPA Strategic Plan

 

Reader Note: if you are interested in learning more about breast cancer, the EPA, Scott Pruitt, or environmental legislation, you will find information in the posts and resources sections below.

Featured Image at Top: Portraits of Women Forming a Map of the United States Representing Breast Cancer Awareness – Image Credit iStock/bubaone

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4th of July – What Does it Mean to be an American?

Heritage unites us. Diversity is our strength.

Sometime during the 4th of July long weekend, take a break from your festivities to reflect on what it means to you to be an American.

I am all for whipping up a batch of your famous potato salad, or competing in a sack race with your kid, or dipping your toes in the ocean to celebrate the 4th of July. I am also for spending a few minutes contemplating what it means to be an American, which entails both rights and responsibilities.

In previous years, for 4th of July posts, I have railed against the American consumer label, suggested we declare our independence from harmful corporations, and proposed the right to a habitable planet as a new addition to the Bill of Rights. This year, I found myself drawn to the Statue of Liberty and thinking about what it means to be an American, today, as a member of a global society.

First, let’s remind ourselves of some of the salient facts about the Statue of Liberty and then contemplate being an American.

Statue of Liberty Brief History

Liberty Enlightening the World Poster 1884
Liberty Enlightening the World Poster, 1884

“The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was a gift from the French people to the people of the United States to strengthen ties between the two countries and promote democracy.

Imagine the difficulties the French people had to overcome to finance, build, and then ship the 151’1” tall bronze statue in parts across the ocean in the nineteenth century. The United States encountered its own problems raising money and then constructing the enormous base that supports the 156-ton statue.

Originally, the intent was to unveil the Statue of Liberty in 1876 to commemorate the centennial of the Declaration of Independence but only her torch-bearing arm made it to the U.S. in time. The completed Statue of Liberty was dedicated ten years later on October 28, 1886.

The Statue of Liberty gained federal protections in 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge exercised his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 by designating the statue and its site, called Fort Wood at the time, as a national monument.

During the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the War Department to turn over control of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the rest of the island, known as Bedloe’s Island, to the National Park Service.

Bedloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island by an Act of Congress in 1956 and nearby Ellis Island was added to the Statue of Liberty National Monument by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.

The Statue of Liberty underwent a massive restoration project in the 1980s and she was rededicated on her centennial in 1986.

To this day, people around the world recognize the Statue of Liberty as a symbol, perhaps the symbol, of freedom and democracy.

Statue of Liberty Sonnet

As part of a fundraising effort for the statue’s pedestal in 1883, Emma Lazarus penned the now famous sonnet below. In 1903, her words were inscribed on a plaque and placed on the wall of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This beautiful and powerful poem speaks to the essence of what it means to be an American.

What it Means to be an American

We are all immigrants. Either you are from another land or your ancestors were. If you are a Native American, even your ancestors started out somewhere else, although it was a long, long time ago.

Today, the United States of America is home to a wondrous mix of people all seeking freedom, opportunity, equality, liberty, independence, democracy, and a chance for happiness. This is our heritage. Our diversity is our strength.

The healthiest ecosystems are the ones with a myriad of different species of plants and animals living together. Sometimes they compete with one another and sometimes they cooperate, but somehow they manage to find a balance for the good of the overall community.

It is going to take the kaleidoscope of American people all working together with other people around the world to grapple with global warming and to learn how to live sustainably on Earth. There is no Planet B.

We have our American heritage to guide us, but at the moment, we seem to be out of balance with an excess of competing against one another and not enough cooperating.

I wish I could wave a magic wand that would help Americans remember who we are and what we can accomplish when we work together, but alas, I do not have one. Yet, I am an American and I can do something.

This may sound silly or even ridiculous but I believe our country could use an influx of kindness, especially towards people who have dissimilar opinions, hold different beliefs, or disagree with us. I know that I could be more kind and I want to be. The good news is that neither you nor I need o wait even a moment to be kind to another person.

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” —Amelia Earhart

This 4th of July, let’s celebrate being Americans and make a pledge to never miss an opportunity to be kind. We are the United States of America (the key word being united) so let’s act like it.

Featured Image at Top: Statue of Liberty Holding Torch and Tablet of Law – Photo Credit iStock/EG-Keith

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