Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D- Miramar) issued the following statement in recognition of Earth Day.
"Over 20 million Americans came together to celebrate the first Earth Day 43 years ago today. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who worked to organize the first Earth Day in 1970, the environment is put back on the forefront of our national agenda every year on April 22nd.
"After the first Earth Day, Congress passed historical new measures providing for environmental protection, such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. On Earth Day, we not only celebrate what we have done to protect our world, but also reflect on what must still be done to protect it for future generations. Our resources are precious and irreplaceable, and as inhabitants of this planet, we must ensure the health of our environment for our children and all generations to come.
"This week, we also celebrate National Parks week. Our nation's national parks preserve the grandeur of the American landscape, with more than 400 national parks, monuments, and protected lands spanning almost 85 million acres of land. I am proud to represent Florida's 20th Congressional district, home to the Everglades, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and a World Heritage Site, and the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
"Today, there are many threats to our nation's parks and across our planet. Climate change poses a threat to our world, but has gone largely unaddressed. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the last decade was the warmest on record, with longer and hotter heat waves, and stronger and more frequent storms. There is undisputed evidence that our climate is changing, and it is changing because of human activity. Now, before it's too late, we must recommit ourselves to the fight for a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future."
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.