I am proud to recognize the 40th anniversary of World Environment Day, in which this year's theme is entitled, The Green Economy: Does it include you? It promotes awareness and emphasizes the importance of increasing the number of environmentally friendly businesses and enterprises around the world, as well as expanding the public's understanding of a green economy.
World Environment Day was first established in 1972 by the United Nations Environment Programme, and first observed the following year on June 5th. Since that time, it has raised awareness for environmental preservation and encouraged both political and public action for the past 40 years. Each year a new theme and host country are chosen. This year Brazil was given the honor because of its efforts to create an economy that heavily focuses on recycling, renewable energy and a generation's worth of green jobs. In recent years, Brazil has created programs like the National Plan on Solid Waste and "Saco é um saco," a campaign intended to reduce the need for plastic bags. These are just a few examples of big steps that the country has taken to reduce its carbon foot print.
I have always been an ardent supporter of preserving our environment and growing our economy by creating green jobs. My home state of Florida's economy is heavily focused on tourism due to our beautiful beaches, and natural treasures like the Everglades. Protecting this part of our economy and the environment is absolutely essential. That is why in the 112th Congress, I sponsored numerous bills that would preserve the environment as well as promote a green economy. Additionally, I introduced H.R. 2381, the Highways Bettering the Economy and Environment Act, which would authorize projects to improve the habitat for pollinators near federal highways. I have also been working hard to protect and restore the Everglades. Not only did I help to create the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan ("CERP") in 2000, but I have continued to lead efforts in Congress to secure federal funding for the implementation of the historic Everglades restoration efforts as co-chair of the bipartisan Everglades Caucus.
I believe that we can take great pride in the environmental protection laws enacted over the past several decades, legislation that has ensured clean water, clean air, the protection of wildlife, and the preservation of our nation's unique and precious environments. Our most effective regulations balance the need to protect the environment, but also fit the requirements of communities to utilize our natural resources and access our lands for tourism and recreation. Therefore, let us recommit ourselves on the 40th anniversary of World Environment Day to the global effort of protecting the environment, and to the creation of green jobs that will spur our economy.