How will you spend July 4th?

An ecological group in Southern California sued to force local officials to conduct an environmental review of a local fireworks show. The initial ruling of the presiding judge was to require public events (fireworks displays, charity walkathons, Mardi Gras, beach festivals, birthday parties in city parks and weddings at historic sites) to submit an environmental impact report prior to receiving a permit. Environmental impact reports are costly and take months to complete which would prohibit some non-profits from holding fundraising events. The judge has since ordered a delay in the ruling until August 31 which will allow the Independence Day festivities to proceed as planned.

 Warning: This is my personal opinion…..

I think this is an outrageous lawsuit which turns people away from environmental stewardship and causes a mistrust of environmentalists. The last thing I would want is for a worthy charity to stop their good work because their fundraiser was denied a permit because an environmental investigation was not submitted.

As an Environmental Scientist I spend my days working with people to change their behaviors and actions towards the environment. However, on July 4th I will be attending a cookout where the food will be cooked on a charcoal grill, drinks will be served in aluminum cans, and food served on plastic plates. This will be followed by a drive (in a car) to see a fireworks display. Is this the situation ideal for the environment? NO. But…it’s a holiday that comes around once in a year and I plan to enjoy it. I’ll bring an extra trash bag for recyclables, encourage friends and family to use it and encourage carpooling to see the fireworks but I will not make a scene if they don’t.

When I return to work on Tuesday I’ll be back on my crusade to save the world but this weekend I’ll be enjoying my friends and family whether they carpool or not.



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