Letters to the Editor

Earth Day rallies have never been more important

How important is your quality of life? You can “eat green” and exercise daily, but it’s a fact that 92 percent of people worldwide live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution (World Health Organization, April 2, 2016). There were more than 7 million deaths annually worldwide (World Health Organization, March 27, 2014). I don’t want to lug a canister of oxygen around, nor just as important, I don’t want you to do this because of irreversible lung damage.

There is an important step in lowering air pollution from carbon-based fossil fuel burning (coal is by far the biggest contributor). Stop the mining on federal lands; 90 percent are strip mines. Adding insult to injury, you and I as American taxpayers are not receiving our fair share of value from this land. The Department of the Interior has a statutory obligation to earn a fair return for the American public (Institute for Policy Integrity, New York University School of Law), and just as important in my estimation, to do an even better job of protecting the environment by eliminating mining on that land.

We can’t ignore what the coal mining industry did prior to 1977 when Congress passed a law establishing a national fund for old cleanups in 28 states. Over $4.5 billion is needed at some 3,300 sites abandoned by coal companies just in West Virginia (Associated Press, Jan. 30,2017). Remember this the next time a new coal mine is proposed.

Ready to show your support for the protection of the Earth? At the same time as the rally on the National Mall in D.C. on Saturday, April 22, we will assemble 10:30 a.m. at Five-Point Park, Sarasota, followed by activities at Oscar Scherer State Park. Please join us.

Carolyn Alley Denison