For the longest time environmentalism was considered to be an after-thought in American politics. The words recycling, carpooling, and clean energy were non-existent in our vocabulary. Today however, the condition of the environment is of up most importance. Even though the new millennium has brought increased environmental awareness, our planet is still in dire condition and is on the verge of being uninhabitable. Although new government and international policies strive to limit pollution and degradation, they lack enforcement and achievement of these environmental goals is minimal. A creative, multi-national solution integrating children in middle schools and the world’s most powerful leaders is more crucial now than ever before if we wish to preserve Earth for future generations and avoid the need for a “new” Earth day in the next 40 years.
Numerous acts and bills proposed by the federal government strive to preserve our environment and the species that inhabit them. However, the success of these policies is limited. For example, the Endangered Species Act passed by Congress in 1973 is arguably a complete failure. Since its initiation, the “law has recovered 12 of 1300 listed species, for a cumulative success rate of .01% (or a 99.99% rate of failure)” (Bean, 1). In addition, the Endangered Species Act fails to establish an incentive system for the preservation of these rare species. Only a handful of people are compelled to conserve ecosystems for the sake of an intrinsic value. This, combined with the fact that enforcement of environmental degradation is scarce due to the limited number of resources provided by Congress causes an irreversible reduction in biodiversity
(Bean, 8). The Clean Air Act is also deemed a failure as polluters continue to emit toxic chemicals into the atmosphere without reparation. The Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to “substantially reduce haze pollution in all protected national parks, wilderness areas and wildlife refugees” by 2011 but the “EPA has failed to finalize a single state’s haze reduction plan” (Grand Canyon Trust, 1). As a result, national parks are buried under thick amounts of haze pollution obstructing some of the most magnificent views in the world. Both policies, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act, had good intentions, but fell well short of achieving their goals.
The unproductive nature of these bills and countless others developed by the federal government can be traced to flaws in our legislative system. The process of creating a bill and signing it into law could take upwards of a year without any guarantee that it will pass. In addition, because many bills are over hundreds of pages long, it takes time for committees to read each bill and agree to add or remove certain parts so that it can be widely agreed upon. After passing through committees the bill is debated upon on the floor of the House and Senate. These discussions take up a...