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Simple Steps to Support Environmental Policy

It seems we hear about toxins in our air, soil, and water on almost a daily basis. This news can often leave individuals, especially parents trying to protect their children’s health, feeling helpless and frustrated. But there is something we can do. Here’s a sampling of simple things you can do to help make sure policy makers take the environment and your family’s health seriously.

Know Who You’re Voting For
Certain candidates and political parties are more likely to put corporate interests and politics above health and environmental issues. Recently, many of our federal agencies have suffered from political influence, and this has resulted in decreased environmental regulations (see, The Bush Administration’s War on Science). Before you vote, research how candidates—whether it is local, state, or national—have voted on prior environmental legislation to get an idea of how they’re going to vote in office. Check who they have or will appoint to important regulatory positions, and whether these people have had current or prior ties to the industry they’re regulating (never a good sign).

Support Senators and Bills
Recently, members of the House Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials held hearings grilling the Defense Department and EPA about the fact that we have the rocket-fuel chemical perchlorate in our drinking water and food. Democrats Hilda Solis and Barbara Boxer both introduced legislation to force the federal government to set a drinking water limit for the chemical. You can email the members of Congress in your district to urge them to support and vote for these bills. Similarly, campaigning for a Senator like Barbara Boxer, who takes a strong stance on environmental issues, is another way to lend support to a cause.

Join the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Action Network
The NRDC has a host of environmental campaigns that help protect our water and food, and by joining their action network, you can be kept abreast of important environmental legislation that is moving through Congress. They also offer tips and tools for letter writing, campaigning, and on-line action.

Join Mom’s Rising Campaign
How can you demand that your children have lead-free toys? Momsrising.org has put together a campaign demanding that Congress pass legislation making regulations on children’s toys stricter. They have frequent campaigns and offer ways to protest and organize around important topics. The best thing about Momsrising for busy moms is that it takes minimal effort. They do all the work and you only have to click an email request.

Start Small
Getting environmental pollutants out of your area doesn’t necessarily require the help of senior-level politicians. Though legislation regulating secondhand smoke (perhaps the most ubiquitous environmental pollutant) is now in place in many states, it started with a few concerned citizens in California who didn’t like having to breathe the toxin in public places. They began passing local ordinances; these ordinances became popular and soon there was a movement resulting in state and national legislation. In other words, one person can make a difference.

Get Political
Find out how to lead a more political life from the White House Project.

Related Story: Top Chemicals Polluting Our Children

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