Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a draft of its National Water Reuse Action Plan at the WaterReuse Symposium in San Diego. It makes sense for national leadership to align their planning with the framework of US Water Alliance One Water, UN Sustainability goals and other initiatives. After all, 80% of states across the U.S. expect to encounter water scarcity issues in the next decade. The mainstream is getting drier, and promoting use of recycled water within a context of a changing climate is an undeniably good thing. So kudos to the water people at EPA…
Clean Water, Only Dirtier
However, these are increasingly interesting times. Roughly 24 hours later, the EPA, represented this time by ex-coal industry lobbyist turned Administrator Andrew Wheeler, announced repeal of the 2015 Water of the United States Rule at a special event at the National Association of Manufacturers, essentially rewinding clean water regulation of streams and wetlands back to 1986. This is the first of two steps; after repeal, the agency will move to replace a substantial part of the Clean Water Act, a bedrock component of environmental law, with new regulation.
Clean Air, Only Smoggier
That other environmental pillar, the Clean Air Act, suffered damage a few days later with the announcement of the EPA’s highly contested revocation of California’s Waiver for strict auto emission guidelines. All this backsliding amounts to virtual war fought in the trenches of various courtrooms and at best, a titanic waste of time when time is a particularly precious commodity.
To review: one small step forward and two very very large steps back.
Reasons to be Persistent
Meanwhile, we all continue with our daily lives, hopefully making some kind of positive impact, one step at a time. Even in the relatively enlightened and sheltered Bay Area, it can be quite hard to keep going through all the muck that constitutes the daily
outrage news. But here’s three points in favor of stubbornly continuing to carry that water uphill:
- The Case of the Bamiyan Buddhas The massive statues in Afghanistan’s Bamiyavn Valley carved into the stone of cliffs dated back to the sixth century but were tragically blown up by the Taliban in 2001. In 2015, Chinese video projectionists resurrected the UNESCO world treasures with exact scale video projections. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzlWAm55-j0 and https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/world/asia/afghanistan-bamiyan-buddhas.html
- The Global Climate Strike The future is theirs. One in four U.S. teenagers have participated in some kind of climate activity. That number should dramatically rise tomorrow as 450 events are planned across the country with 2,500 strikes globally across 117 countries. Greta Thunberg, conducting. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/19/climate-strike-take-part-how-to-join-global-protests-friday-latest-details
- California Coastal Cleanup Day Saturday morning you can join neighbors around the ocean, the bay, rivers, streams and creeks taking things into their own hands. Got Coast? Clean it up!
Register today for this Saturday morning: