Happy Thanksgiving to all our greens lovers out there! We hope you’re stuffing your turkey (or your tofurkey) with lots and lots of delicious spinach, because let’s be honest, nobody cares about the turkey. The whole point of this day is to eat a lot of pumpkin pie, while thinking about things that you are grateful for – say, perhaps, the availability of pre-made whipped cream, or the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Wait, you were thinking about football? My bad.
To celebrate thanksgiving, we here at Spinach in Our Teeth thought we would make a list of things we are giving thanks for this year – well, all the green things anyway- based on the results from a highly informal poll conducted via googlechat of all our friends from Johns Hopkins University. So, here it is, an environmental Thanksgiving toast of the things we are most thankful for, in no particular order. Best enjoyed with plenty of leafy greens and a cold beer.
# 15. Our National Parks System. As I said, there’s no order to this list, otherwise this might have gone further up. But seriously – from Yosemite to Acadia to the Smoky Mountains (below), our National Parks System has been protecting some of the most scenic views in America, making sure our purple mountain’s majesty doesn’t become completely cloaked in purple factory smog.
#14. Public transportation & Bike Trails. Ah, the joys of getting around without a car. It’s great sometimes to live in a city like Washington, D.C. where you can (mostly) count on metro, a bus, or a bike trail to get you where you need to go. Stuck in traffic? Read a book. Or better yet, if the weather is nice, zip around the cars on your bike and think about what a great workout you’re getting in the mean time. Just don’t get run over in the process, please, and always wear a helmet.
#13. The Montreal Protocol. No, seriously. It’s been called the most successful international treaty of all time, and we’re proud that it was one aimed at tackling the problem of CFC emissions and repairing the hole in the ozone layer. As I’ve previously blogged about, we still have a ways to go, but things are much better than they were during the 1980’s.
#12. The Clean Air Act. Why? Because we like being able to breathe. And we like to know that the air we’re breathing isn’t going to make us sick.
#11. The Clean Air Act Retrospective Cost-Benefit Analysis. There’s nothing not to be grateful for here – a twenty year analysis showed just how much clean air benefits our society financially – in terms of saved public health costs – as well as improving our daily lives.
#10. Lisa Jackson. Among EPA administrators, Ms. Jackson has weathered the perfect storm of economic pressures, political disasters, and public distaste for environmental measures – yet she continues to defend her agency and her positions with aplomb. While every agency has its faults, LJax is a thoughtful and articulate leader for her agency, continuing to fight the good fight to push through measures necessary to protect our health and the long term interests of the country.
#9. The Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. We can’t be thankful for air without being thankful for water. Seriously, there’s something so great about being able to turn on your tap and trust that the water you’re drinking isn’t going to lay you up in bed for two weeks. Anyone who has forgotten and brushed their teeth with the tap water in Thailand or Mexico should appreciate that.
#8. Robert Redford. Because not only is he sexy, he’s one of the most beloved and longstanding environmental activists of all time. What’s not to love?
#7. The Nissan Leaf commercial with the polar bear. I know we’re not going to win the energy battle with videos of fuzzy animals alone, but sometimes you just need a warm-and-fuzzy reminder why you’re doing things the way you are.
#6. The continued moratorium on hydrofraking in New York State. Hydrofracking may still occur in New York State in the future, but this is at least a step in the right direction – proof that there is some consideration being given to the myriad negative side effects of fracking in the great energy debate.
#5. The continued momentum behind Cape Wind. At least someone in America is seeing that dirty, non-renewable energy sources benefit only a small percentage of corporate executives in America.
#4. CERCLA. Okay, I know, I need to stop it with the statutes that have been in place for decades, but come on. There is something super satisfying about the Superfund program, and knowing that when someone makes a big mess, you can (legally) ruin their day and go after them for all they’re worth.
#3. New York City Mayor Bloomberg, and his $50 million donation to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. I’m especially thankful for this, because it’s about time we got some heavy-hitters behind the energy movement – and it’s about time that environmental organizations started going after some of the big time offenders, too.
#2. California’s Climate Change Program. Despite the very public financial woes of the state, and the very public marital woes of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s nice to know that they’re still trying to lead the way where climate is concerned.
#1. Senate Climate Hawks Barbara Boxer, Ben Cardin, John Kerry, and Sheldon Whitehouse. It’s nice to be reminded, sometimes, that there are still members of our Congress who believe in Science. (Also, they have their own Twitter.)
And now, we leave you with this reminder: Be thankful, because even Fabio and the Old Spice Man care about the environment.