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Question of the Week: How have modern events inspired you to make personal changes?

2010 May 11

Forty years ago, events like the Santa Barbara oil spill and the Cuyahoga River catching on fire mobilized a massive public reaction, resulting in the first Earth Day and the creation of EPA.

How have modern events inspired you to make personal changes?


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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18 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    May 11, 2010

    The Fall of Berlin Wall in 1989…!!! The end of ” Cold War “. So, now The Govt., EPA, and the others could concentrate to clean Gulf oil spill !

  2. Ed in CT permalink
    May 11, 2010

    When gas shot up to $3.50/gal, and I needed a replacement car. I realized a new fuel efficient car would cost me the same as a junker with poor gas mileage. My eyes opened to the waste of our society and the need for change. No more swapping American lives for oil.

    - We no longer purchase bottled water.
    - Agressive recycling with composting coming this summer
    - New career in green industry
    - Question everything!

  3. carlos rodriguez permalink
    May 11, 2010

    the Earth day was create to remember us that is the UNIQUE home that the humandkind have to live, if all the persons in the world should think that the only planet that can keep and have all the factors to hold live is this planet we were walking in the right direcction, but the supernations really dont care the future of the planet, is it the real problem, GOD give the earth to man to keeping not to destroying, and this all we do.

  4. richard landers permalink
    May 11, 2010

    I have changed my habits dramaticaly. I turn off all unused lights. I also monitor friends use of power.

  5. Chris S permalink
    May 11, 2010

    never needed a major disaster to spur me into environmental awareness ( what I like to think of as “enlightened self interest”)

    but each new environmental insult does make me further resolve to achieve as much self sufficiency as I can, because when the house of cards comes tumbling down I’d like to avoid being caught in the rubble.

  6. Becky permalink
    May 11, 2010

    In just the past few weeks I have built raised garden beds to grow my own produce, started composting and reutilized a clean poly drum into my own rain barrel. I have become so much more environmentally aware and I agree with Ed, you have to question EVERYTHING! Encourage our children to have more respect for the environment. No more bottled water, I turn off lights, conserve water, walk more/drive less. Even small things like donating unused items to shelters, recycling paper/cardboard/plasic/cans helps reduce landfills. I know it all sounds like small things but if everyone of us makes small changes, I have to believe it will make a difference!

  7. Davester permalink
    May 11, 2010

    Recent events such as the oil price surge, banking industry collapse, and a shift to a “food to energy” policy (I.E.: Ethanol) have really made me aware of how tipsy our supply chain is and how quickly some events have impact on personal resources. This has gotten me thinking towards relearning some things our forefathers did as a matter of fact. Be prepared to plant, hunt or fish for your own food, use alternate energy sources to keep warm in winter or travel locally, and clean and store your own water supply. I also advocate getting some good texts on gardening and preserving food, and caching some precious metals in case we have to barter for supplies in the event of economic calamity.

  8. West Hawai'i Hays permalink
    May 11, 2010

    Yes, I’ve made some changes; I’ve cancelled a trip I had planned to Ft. Myers, FL for 10/23/’10 and I’ve made a personal pledge to avoid patronizing BP products wherever I can identify them. RT

  9. West Hawai'i Hays permalink
    May 11, 2010

    Yes, I’ve made some changes; I’ve cancelled a trip I had planned to Ft. Myers, FL fon 10/23/10 and I’ve made a personal pledge to avoid patronizing BP products wherever and whenever I can identify them. WHH

  10. Judy Itoh permalink
    May 12, 2010

    I bought a Prius to help in cutting down on buying gasoline. It had nothing to do with economics, but purely on the environment. I have kept my mouth shut during Exxon Valdez, the Spain oil spill, but this latest is the last straw, in my opinion. All oil drilling should be suspended until that emergency plug is on EVERY oil drilling rig EVERYWHERE!!!! The news discusses the spill, the horrible clumps of oil washing up on shore, but 11 people lost their lives too. These oil crisises are becoming too frequent. If ships continue to carry oil, they should be reinforced to withstand rocks, collisions, etc. The oil drilling in the oceans should be stopped until emergency actions are taken to absolutely guarantee that no future oil spillage can occur EVER!!!! This earth is the only one we have. If we don’t stop killing it, we will be killing ourselves or at least a near future generation. Is it worth it for a few bucks? Please, EPA, please tighten your rules. These spills have to stop once and for all. Thank you!

  11. ps3 console permalink
    May 12, 2010

    I seriously avoid BP Products.

  12. summer permalink
    May 12, 2010

    Climate Change! I’ve always been aware of environmental problems, but none of them has persuaded me to be a real sodier fighting for the one as a career. I’m so passionate to be involved in the great revolution, even though my strenghth is limited!

  13. Stan Shoemaker permalink
    May 12, 2010

    The recent event: “American Recovery & Re-Investment Act” from congress has inspired me to look at the building envelope I lived in, my home. With modern technology at it’s greatest point in many years with new progress still looming ahead. I found that with the insiration of this government program, I was able to make my home more energy efficient, and cut my home utility costs by 20-30%; as well as recieve a 30% tax credit. This saves me money every month and paid for $1500.00 of my home improvements, I have since been inspired by my saving’s, I know hold free public classes to teach others in our community through our local chambers of commerce and other entities how they too may save tax dollars.
    Feel free to contact me: sshoemaker@tapinsulation.com

  14. Bonnie Aylor permalink
    May 12, 2010

    Well, this isn’t entirely the same as everyone else’s response, but I’m always outside the norm :) One modern event in the onset of ecotourism. I mean this because ecotourism is the industry that foster’s things like bird watching, migration counts, wildlife photography, etc. I have always found refuge in spending time in nature and listening to it’s message to me, however that faith kind of faltered a little do with relationship influences for awhile. However, watching bird band together utilizing their special coat shades to illustrate the path of a discharge along a water body, and a golden orb spider reach out to me when I was watching it in a video camera on a migration count escapade, after being “pretrified” by spiders my whole life and unable to pass through them, actually make a movement to me as I was in complete focus that looked like a wave and later finding out this was a harmless Golden Orb and not a Banana Spider, and viewing the den of a gopher tortoise where it looked as though the tortoise had strategically placed a spiraled palm leaf over top to immitate the view of a rigged outfall, has renewed that faith, and I have been more and more connected with nature because of it; noticing secrets I’d begun to close my mind to previous to those events.

    Also, ecotourism has allowed me to see how an industry can tilt from one faculty to another in an easy second also benefiting one entire group of people over another, much as ecotourism has changed environmental science from a more natural science based industry to a booming technology and computer engineering based economy.

  15. sharon permalink
    May 12, 2010

    Modern events have caused me to look fearfully upon the future concerning my grand-daughter. Where can one live? What will we be able to eat? How much will disease increase due to pollution? Most of all: HOW CAN WE, AS AMERICANS, STOP POLLUTION BY THE BIG CORPORATIONS?

  16. gulf coast resident permalink
    May 16, 2010

    I feel a profound sadness and cynicism since the oil spill and my change is that I don’t trust a single thing coming from any source about anything anymore. I am so disgusted that the EPA approved the use of chemicals to combat the oil in the gulf. I feel there is a level of collusion between government and BP going on that I would not have anticipated prior to the spill. The government made a deal with the devil and sold out the American people. For the first time in my life I feel truly disheartened to be an American. What does America stand for? The gulf will be a toxic toilet bowl for decades and quite possibly centuries. I do not forgive the short sighted politicians, bureaucrats and corporate slime that have allowed this to happen.

  17. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    May 17, 2010

    I think recent events like the oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico has helped shine a light to everyone that it is time for a change in how we handle transportation. Its time to create more walkable communities, emphasize transit, and leave oil back in the 20th Century and move to 21st Century fuel technologies like all-hydrogen fueled vehicles, all-electric powered vehicles, vehicles that are electrically powered and use a hydrogen fuel cell to recharge the batteries in the field when needed without having to take the vehicle out of service, using solar power to manufacture hydrogen, and using solar power to recharge electric vehicles batteries. I am more interested in what happens to the transit system. I am a member of Transit Advocates of Orange County and we work to lessen bus cuts and to lessen the impact on transit users of the ones that get made, we have testified before the Assembly Transportation Committee and helped to put on the Southern California Transit Forum at Chapman College in February, we also write letters in support of transit. We need good transit systems if we are going to make the Clean Air Act work. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  18. Katya permalink
    May 17, 2010

    Despite all the advanced clean technologies available to society and despite people’s protests for more stringent regulation on pollution, man-made disasters unfortunately continue to occur, and this is very disheartening to see. It seems as though we have great potential to move forward in the realm of environmental stewardship, and I do believe this, but that fact that certain parties get away with preventable disasters such as the BP Oil Spill and the Tennessee Coal Ash Spill is unbearable. I do what I can on a day-to-day basis such as recycling, composting, purchasing local food, and raising awareness about ecological issues on my website http://www.coragedesigns.com/

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