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Question of the Week: What does “environmental protection” mean to you?

2009 November 30

EPA was established on December 2, 1970 and since then the nation has made enormous strides in protecting the environment. But every day, we all make individual choices that can affect the environment. One of Administrator Jackson’s priorities is broadening the definition of “environmentalism.”  Share your thoughts about what it means to you.

What does “environmental protection” mean to you?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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62 Responses leave one →
  1. Jackenson Durand permalink
    November 30, 2009

    Environmental protection represents environment pollution and waste treatment for me.
    Also, grand sustainability philosophic group:

    •Energy Efficiency
    •Green Building
    •Water Reuse
    •Waste to Energy
    •Waste Minimization

  2. armansyahardanis permalink
    November 30, 2009

    Environmental Protection means NEXT TIME BETTER …..!!!!!

  3. Don Gissubel permalink
    November 30, 2009

    What I think Environmental Protection means is the commitment to keeping our air and water and lands free of pollutants as well as protecting our natural resources including our rivers and streams and wildlife, open land for farming, open land for wilderness habitat protection and when new construction is built, the commitment to look at the environment and surroundings with a conservation and green mindset as in the LEED building programs. Also cleanup of any hazardous spills of any kind and commitment by industries not to pollute in any form.

    Thank you,
    Don Gissubel

  4. sadiq permalink
    November 30, 2009

    sustainable use of earth’s resources

  5. david permalink
    November 30, 2009

    enviromental protection means to me stoping damage to the world we live in through the use of conservation and recycling, repairing
    of damage done to this planet presently. We an a people inhabiting need to put down greed and power for a time in order to keep from killing ourselves. We are in a race to find another home on another planet or we need to preserve this one. In my life time I myself have seen the loss of different spicies of life. When will it be our my turn

  6. Nexyoo permalink
    November 30, 2009

    I think it means restricting activities that would harm nature’s ability to sustain itself over the long term.

  7. Berrin Tansel permalink
    November 30, 2009

    Environmental protection means global citizenship.
    Everybody can contribute to the quality of environment and each one of us has a responsibility to protect the environment (quality of water, air, soil; sustainability of natural resources).

  8. Angelee Hughes permalink
    November 30, 2009

    The definition of environmentalism to me is the protection of anything that gives, supports, and maintains life on this earth. Oxygen, Water, and Food is the necessities of any living creature and therefore it is our duty to protect the Air, Water, and Land that we share during our habitation on earth.

    Angelee M. Hughes

  9. Chris S permalink
    November 30, 2009

    The goal of “environmentalism” should be to adhere to sustainable policies – both individual and social/governmental. It is a shame that in a domacracy, corporations that have no “vote” are actually more influential than the citizens/voters. Short term financial gains are prefered over sound fiscal policies.

    How is this environmental you ask?

    Well, last time I checked, it majority of “stuff” that ends up in landfills came from factories… be it obsolescent goods or the packaging it came in. Most of the green house gases come from burning fuel to manufacture or transport goods. What is used for heating or lighting homes, pales in comparison.

    What does a corporate “bean counter” in Europe or Asia care about the environment half a world away, yet their policies have a direct impact on the environment here and elsewhere.

    I have yet to understand how bottled water became so popular… but the companies that sell it are doing major damage to the environment where the water is taken from. They make money and will go elsewhere to repeat the practice as long as they can.

    Take the money out of unsustainable practices… that is the only way to curb our self destructive behavior.

  10. Betsy Packard permalink
    November 30, 2009

    “Environmental protection” for me means preserving and even improving where we live, and that encompasses the entire earth. What happens in Siberia or Pennsylvania affects vast areas beyond the original site of contamination.
    Here in Kentucky, not a single waterway has clean water. There are multiple causes for the contamination, all of which could easily be remedied, from coal mining (strip mining and mountain top removal) to outhouses that are set too close to waterways.
    Also, as a pacifist, I see war as totally contrary to the concept of “environmental protection.” The number of birth defects and high rate of infant mortality in Iraq since the U.S. invasion have skyrocketed. What we are doing to that country and to Afghanistan will be reflected in their generations to come.

  11. Anonymous permalink
    November 30, 2009

    Environmental Protection to me – means to return the entire environment of the Earth back to its original pristine condition (before industrialization).

    We were given dominion over the Earth with the authority to watch after and maintain God’s creation. Yet it has now become contaminated and polluted at such an exponentially accelerated rate, from the greed of the dollar, that it will surely kill us all unless we take TOTAL charge and exercise the authority given to us for COMPLETE dominion.

    We have the technology, and we still have the resources left, to reverse the current condition. But it simply cannot be at the slow rate in which we are approaching this now. Environmental Protection is no longer a long-term goal, but has become immediately paramount!

    Every aspect of of living needs addressed on a global basis. This requires a new paradigm of thinking, either voluntarily now, or by being forced into it later – brought about from the unlivable level of pollution no longer giving us a choice.

    That unsustainable level of pollution now dwells profusly in our air, water, food, all industry, politics – and every form of current day life. Any and all means to eliminate it have become immediately mandatory for our survival as humankind.

    Surely it seems a daunting task. But the real question is – do we continue at this miniscule rate to risk the consequences of God’s emphatic will, even though we are very aware that there is a tiny window of time left to please God and reverse the abomination we have caused with His creation?

    We already know exactly what it takes to counter every negative! So do we allow greed to prevail? Or do we make every single change necessary right now in order to preserve our planet and the existence of mankind?

    NOTHING else will be adequate, and we all know that to be true – deep down inside!!!!

  12. Mark W. permalink
    November 30, 2009

    I have a dissenting definition so I would be surprised if this gets published. Environmental protection used to mean cleaning up gross polluters, and protecting the environment from practices that lead to catastrophic and very short term consequences. However, envrionmental protection has evolved into a political tool for anticapitalism and individual freedom. This is in part why the ecomomy is doing so bad today. Companies are not willing to comply with draconian regulations and costs. To avoid this they relocate outside the US. Good bye jobs and tax revenue.
    Finally, a recent and very glaring example is the global warming fraud that has been exposed through the “hacked” emails from Britain. Despite the admissions of made up, omitted and tampered research data the IPCC used to declare man-made global warming exists President O’bama is still going to Copenhagen.
    This example illustrates why Environmental Protection is now a political tool thats really not about protecting the environment. Its about obtaining a political agenda using the environment as a tool.

  13. BK Dawg permalink
    November 30, 2009

    Using nose-plugs when driving through New Jersey

  14. Tariq permalink
    November 30, 2009

    It means using the precautionary principle over risk management – putting the onus on the actor to show evidence of absence of harm, instead of the risk-management style which only touts the absence of evidence as justification for moving forward.

  15. kristianna permalink
    November 30, 2009

    What does enviornmentalism mean to me? We, as humans, are part of the web of life that runs through the planet that we share with all living things, a place we call Mother Earth. My view of “protecting” the enviornment and all the species that inhabit, is that we have to set ourselves to be in balance with the world aroud us. We as humans believe that we can inhabit every corner of the planet and not pay the price for our folly. When the world is in balace and there is space for the natural habitat, we protect the natural enviornment by letting it be and wild. +`Wild animals are called wild because they are not domesticated and are allowed to roam without human intereference, that is why they are called wild. Once humans put our noses in to the affair, even for good and well intended reason, things always go wrong. If we clean up or own house and do not dump on the fabric of life. What does not go around will, not come around. The need to protect the environment is the need to have checks and balances for keeping human habitate in check, and not try to control the natural enviornment by controlling species as if the wold is a zoo and we are zoo keepers. The natural world was here longer than modern man has, and will be, in one form or another, negative or positive for the sustaining of life, and will be here long into the future. Technology for a sustainable and balanced enviornment.

  16. Mahmoud permalink
    November 30, 2009

    Means that States must protect the environment from the vandals

  17. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    December 1, 2009

    Environmental protection means doing all we can to protect air, water, and land from pollution and to preserve a livible planet. It includes preserving open space for organic farming and wilderness. I think it also includes maximizing the use of environmentally friendly, renewable, and sustainable alternative forms of energy. For example hydrogen can be used to supply the power to make our transportation system operate and the only exhaust from it is pure water vapor. Solarpower can be used to manufacture the hydrogen and create a clean fuel system for the 21st century. Water conservation is also a critical component. But we need alternatives other than dams to do it. Dams are the most expensive and least efficient means of conserving water; and there is now a movement underway and having some success at dismantling dams on our rivers and returning them back to a more natural state. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  18. jadene permalink
    December 1, 2009

    Environmental Protection, to me, means taking responsibility. How can the EPA condone CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations)?! These facilities are toxic, draining chemicals, hormones, and raw waste overland and into water supplies. They are inhumane in the extreme, no matter what Corporation or Beef and Chicken industry representatives tell the public. How can any of us allow there to be a law on the books barring us from even potentially disrupting the processing of meat, including filming or photographing the facilities where our food is produced? If you have not already seen the movie Food, Inc. or read the book “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows” do so and then open your heart and decide if how these creatures are being brutally driven insane and sick as well as killed without ever seeing sunlight or grass should be legal. If you agree it’s wrong and should not be allowed by the EPA and FDA let them know vociferously, stop supporting factory agriculture and meat production with your dollars, and imagine the poor animals set free into a sunny field of billowing green grasses.

  19. MANJARI KUMARI permalink
    December 1, 2009


  20. MANJARI KUMARI permalink
    December 1, 2009

    ENVIRONMENT for me is like my mother .as our mother takes cares of the similar manner environment is for also takes care like a mother.but no one is responding to her in proper way.

  21. December 1, 2009

    Environmental protection means eco-friendly condoms! They’re safely controlling the population explosion while utilizing the Earth’s natural resources: rubber trees!!!

    Hooray for EPA!!!

  22. MARK BALLE permalink
    December 1, 2009

    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION is merely the preservation of our environment for generations to come and for the survival of the different species, through means of establishing any of these activities: proper garbage disposal, reduction of hazardous or greenhouse gases, or tree planting and others.

  23. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 1, 2009

    You have the best definition. God put man in charge of the earth after Satan fell from heaven. Satan was in charge of the Earth before man was created in God’s image. God’s plan was to show the “Angel of Light” that a lesser being could do a better job of overseeing His creation. Satan could not bear the thought so he tempted Eve and sin entered the system. It is man’s sin that has caused all the woes that we see today. God intends for us to be good stewards of what he allows us to have. If we are overseeing forests, rivers, lands, or even our homes we are to take care of them in a way that He would approve of. One day when Christ comes back to start his millennial kingdom all of the environment will be in balance once again.

  24. Biojoe permalink
    December 1, 2009

    Very Simple …… Protecting the Environment by instituting policies, guidance and good common-sense Environmental Management Programs.

  25. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 1, 2009

    Did you ever wonder why most of the humans in Biblical times drank wine? Mostly it was because the water was polluted. In Europe beer and ail were the preferred drink prior to the industrial revolution. Bottled water started shortly after when humans found out how to take the pollutants out of the water. The United States has the cleanest public water in the world because we have the technology to take the pollutants as well as bacteria out of our supplies. If people would pay attention in school to history and chemistry they would know this. It is amazing how uneducated our population is becoming. If you disagree with me, check the grammar and spelling in most of these replies.

  26. Gautam Kansara permalink
    December 1, 2009

    In simple words, not to leave the harmful elements and pollutants into the atmosphere, water resources, Air, and on land. The environment protection is a special thing. It can be provided by not performing the above tasks.

  27. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 1, 2009

    I can partially agree. War is terrible, especially when we send our youth to fight in a place where people have been fighting for thousands of years. When did we become the “police” force of the world. Our constitution allows us to raise an army only to defend our country against foreign and domestic enemies. When did we become the peacekeepers for all the world. We should send the poor food and try to help in that way but bring our boys home and protect our borders!

  28. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 1, 2009


  29. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 1, 2009

    Let’s shut them down and import all our food from Mexico! I love to eat beef that has parasites such as tapeworms, liver flukes, and etc in it. After all it is additional protein.

  30. pietV permalink
    December 1, 2009

    don’t be selfish, think about others (incl. those to come), think logically (green is not such a bad color!: contrary to black) and remain creating ‘green awareness’.

  31. sharon permalink
    December 1, 2009

    It means being a part of the living system of things and not the MASTERS over everything to do as we fancy.

  32. Chris S permalink
    December 1, 2009

    The technology that is used to treat public drinking water is found in water treatment plants that then is piped into water storage towers or directly into public water mains…. if it gets into a bottle after that, the company has to pay for the water. Most of the bottled water that goes onto the marketplace is pumped from aquifers by the companies themselves… which is then shipped out of the watershed and across the country or even overseas. How is that sustainable?

    Drinking bottled water is no better than drinking tap water from a public water supply. It’s all advertizing and glitz.

    As for my schooling, I did quite well & am an env. analyst.

  33. Al bannet permalink
    December 1, 2009

    The only effective way to actually protect the environment is to peacefully reduce the human population through family planning clinics in every neighborhood and give every woman the right to decide if and when to birth her children. Only a very few want many, more want none at all, but the great majority want no more than 1, 2, or 3 children. Then safely recycle 100% of all waste and garbage. The result would be plenty of resources for everyone and our technology could create a virtual paradise on Earth. Life is good, if sometimes sad, but too much of any good thing, turns it bad.

  34. Basia permalink
    December 1, 2009

    I believe that environmental protection means taking responsible actions to defend, protect, restore, and respect the delicate, natural habitats in which we live. The bottom line is that we are the recipients of our actions towards the environment namely in terms of diet and health. If we fail to protect our environment, we only harm ourselves and our children. We can take simple steps each day to ensure that we do less harm to the environment or have a smaller “carbon footprint”. However, broader policy-level decisions must be made to secure the future of this fragile planet. This requires the average citizen to speak up and write to his or her representatives about environmental policies at all levels of government.

  35. ahmed elmustafa permalink
    December 1, 2009

    Environmental protection it was a method to stop developing in the world by considering or imaging a big hazard when using natural resource either sustainable or unsuitainable more over if the resource renewable or unrenewable.

  36. arturo moraia permalink
    December 1, 2009

    to me it means take of care of everything, everyone because youve done for others and yourself

  37. JR Brasil permalink
    December 2, 2009

    We’re in begining of the 21th century and we could have seen along the years that capitalism life style needs to be change, is extremely necessary to think green, keep your eyes on sustainable things… so replace the concept about worth things.. this is enviromentalism.

  38. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 3, 2009

    I think you have missed the point of my reply. Water that people used before the industrial revolution was just as polluted as after this period of time. Therefore the environmentalists have no evidence that industrialization has caused problems that cannot be fixed with man’s technology. Our drinking water is safer today than 100 years ago! As for bottled water, most of the best water comes from natural springs that are protected from environmental hazards.

  39. eva permalink
    December 3, 2009

    Environmental protection means not using more than you need. It also means NOT destroying native species like the Yellowstone buffalo herd and NOT using Kaput-D of Rozol. Causing suffering to an animal is NOT environmental protection.

  40. Anonymous permalink
    December 4, 2009

    Oh give me a break, as if NO other state in the entire nation has any pollution! Visit Long Island sometime, those hills are not natural, they are trash heaps. Visit Maryland, the Chesapeake is a mess. Or how about all that smog in southern California. Etc, etc.

  41. Anonymous permalink
    December 4, 2009

    So are you prepared to give up your computer and electricity, and ability to blog, in order to achieve this?

  42. Camburn Shephard permalink
    December 5, 2009

    I agree that we need to protect of anything that gives, supports, and maintains life on this earth. Oxygen, Water, CO2, and food. The basic building blocks of life. Without any one of the 4, we will not exist.

  43. Camburn Shephard permalink
    December 5, 2009

    1. Recycle wherever possible
    2. Not using chemicals on lawns. The exposure to chemhaz from the use of herbicides on lawns is 1,000’s of times higher than any food source.
    3. Instilling capitalism in everything one does. By doing so, one will conserve wherever and whenever possible.
    4. Educating our children in proper science. An example of poor education is the current AGW idea. A hypthosis does not equate a proven fact. Instill that hunger for knowledge. By having knowledge, one acts in a responsable way.
    5. Taking your children fishing and hunting so they learn proper management, and the reasons for such, of our world.

    Just a few things.

  44. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 6, 2009

    Last year there was a e-coli outbreak that was traced back to organically grown spinach. It seems that an organic fertilizer was used on the spinach. It was cow manure. Not all organic foods are safe for you. The U.S. has the safest food supply in the world!!!!! Do your homework instead of listening to the Hollywood elitists that are on CNN.

  45. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 6, 2009


  46. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 6, 2009

    The Holy Bible talks about global citizenship right before the tribulation period of 7 years. This period starts when governments are run by liars and false profits and unity is established by the one world government and the biggest liar of them all, the Antichrist. Does this sort of sound familiar in modern day politics?

  47. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 6, 2009

    I like this guy’s thinking.

  48. Terry Handley permalink
    December 8, 2009

    The EPA has gone far beyond rational on the CO2 emmissions.

    In Michigan according to the map displaying high concentrations of CO2, the Northwest cornor of the Lower P has the highest concentration. Nothing up there but farms and vineyards.

    The EPA is a collection of anti-capitalist fools.

  49. Terry Handley permalink
    December 8, 2009

    Species come species go.

  50. Terry Handley permalink
    December 8, 2009

    Enviromentalism is a government promoted religion.

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