A Personal Responsibility

About the author: Brenda Reyes Tomassini joined EPA in 2002. She is a public affairs specialist in the San Juan, Puerto Rico office and also handles community relations for the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division.

“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life”

Rachel Carson (1907-1964 – Biologist, Writer and Ecologist)

It was on April 22, 1970 when Americans first celebrated Earth Day. That historic event actually had its origins eight years earlier, when then Senator Gaylord Nelson, concerned about the conservation of our natural resources convinced President John F. Kennedy to promote conservation and an environmental agenda. Consequently, Nelson organized a demonstration to honor Planet Earth, an event that is now 39 years ago.

More than a celebration, we should reflect on what are we doing to protect our habitat: Planet Earth. Environmental protection is an individual and personal responsibility for all human beings since we are all part of the biosphere.

There are individuals all across the United States mainland and territories doing their part to protect the environment. For them it is not a fad or political statement. Their main concern is to protect our ecosystems and, at the same time, educate others about the importance of our natural resources and the species that inhabit them and are affected by our daily activities. These environmental protectors are the ones that denounce any environmental wrongdoing and ultimately get results.

Even though mass media helps broadcast such an important message as environmental protection, it is the actions of these unsung environmental heroes that raise awareness among the general public. Let’s commend the work of these anonymous environmental heroes. Let’s foster an environmental dialogue in our homes, communities and learning centers. We need to make environment protection a personal responsibility. That is the only way future generations can make a contribution to Planet Earth’s yet to be written history.