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50th Earth Day April 22

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Ranger Steve

Earth Day is a time to celebrate nature niche natural wonders. Observe and ponder the importance of species sharing the world with us. Hazelnut catkins began releasing pollen in late March. It is in the birch family and is a shrub currently releasing pollen. Several trees like silver maple have been shedding pollen and expired flowers are falling. Gray fuzzy pussy willow buds were evident before the end of March. Mourning Cloak and Eastern Comma butterflies were flying from their secret winter hibernation seclusions. 

With April’s arrival of comfortable warm days, sharp-lobed hepaticas were harbingers of spring with white and purple blossoms. At the same time Golden-crowned Kinglets were feeding on insects in shrub thickets. On April 5 I saw the first Spring Azure butterfly that emerged from its overwintering pupa. The first Field Sparrow with plain gray breast, pink bill and legs arrived in the forest edge aspens and ventured among field shrubs. 

While life forms work to meet the challenges of daily life, environmental protection law enforcement was suspended by President Trump in response to Covid-19. No negative aspects from environmental protection warrant suspension of law enforcement to protect people from respiratory ailments. The Clean Air Act helps protect people from air pollution that worsens health conditions. From the beginning of his presidency, he has looked for ways to abolish environmental protections that have been put in place during the last half century. By directing the Environmental Protection Agency not to enforce laws he is trying to stop protections Congresses created to protect Americans. He has not suspended enforcement of laws for agencies like the Departments of Treasury, Military, and Transportation. Polluting industries can now stop monitoring and reporting dangerous air and water pollution. They could even be exempt from penalties for violating pollution limits.

We should consider why challenging President Trump’s policies is important. Many of his policies do not support long term economic and socially sustainable health to “Keep America Great”. 

Environmental organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, and many others are suing the Trump Administration for taking illegal and unwarranted actions that endanger human health and the natural world that sustains the economy. Nature niche articles focus on protecting ecology and sustainable conditions essential for the health and wellbeing of present and future generations of people, wildlife, and plant communities. The president feels environmental laws are not necessary and found Covid-19 as an excuse to cease enforcing laws that protect our health, economy, and environment that keep our nation productive. Data and scientific findings demonstrate environmental protections improve the industrial, social, economic complex. The laws create a healthier society but he is ignoring both science and economic advisors. Pollution abatement protects family health and household economic prosperity. 

Trump policies are devastating to the efforts begun with leadership in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, republicans, democrats, and the president for the first Earth Day 50 years ago. Massive efforts to undermine environmental protections by the Trump Administration are a way to overwhelming the courts with lawsuits that will take years or decades to resolve. Many conservation organizations are challenging Trump policies in court.

There are two primary points for addressing the 50th Earth Day in a nature niche article. One is to encourage people to contemplate the importance of enforcing environmental laws put in place by past Congresses and past presidents. Hopefully readers will investigate the impacts of current policies and discuss them with others. Protection from things like PFAS is important but President Trump does not think drinking water protection merits law enforcement. The second is to promote enjoyment of the natural wonders and take responsibility for Creation Care. Recognize your personal role for the health of family, society, and economy that depend on a healthy environment. Pollution prevention is less expensive in health and money than to clean up damage.

Watch trout dart from hiding under logs in streams when you approach banks. Cherish the golden yellow of marsh marigold blooms. Enjoy the splendid taste of wild strawberries. Protect future environmental health.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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