Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson pressed the need for American society to become more energy efficient during her address to hundreds of Florida A&M graduates and their parents and friends Saturday.
Just ahead of the afternoon session of FAMU’s Spring Commencement, Jackson fielded questions from student media about America’s plans towards a greener future. “We have serious work to do, one of which is focusing on cleaner water, 10 percent of Americans don’t have access to clean drinking water… that must change,” Jackson said.
Students representing The FAMUAN, FAMU’s TV-20 station and Planet Harmony quizzed the EPA head about the state of the nation’s environment. Jackson told the small crowd that she is no activist, but rather a person whose job it is to protect the planet and vulnerable persons within the community.
“Our environment isn’t safe until every American has a safe and healthy environment,” Jackson said.
As a staunch champion for children, the elderly and low-income communities, Jackson has made it her priority to focus on their wellbeing due their particular susceptibility to environmental and health threats – the environmental justice movement. According to National Pubic Radio (NPR), toxic dumping in poor neighborhoods is a looming problem that has been happening for years. The intentional polluting for many of the communities, they believe, is based on race and wealth, or lack of. Second-year sociology major Nicole Brooks agreed. “Of course poor people are prone to more toxins in the environment, these big businesses dump their trash and deadly chemicals where they live because they know they won’t receive any problems from them,” she said.
When asked what steps citizens could take to reduce pollutants in the air, Jackson replied, ” it’s important to start making wise transportation choices, because gasoline prices will certainly be volatile in the future, so why buy something where you know your subjecting your community to pollution.” The growing global-warming crisis can be reversed, according to Jackson, “it requires some transformative action that begins at home the green movement is something that should not be a momentary action but a total lifestyle change to help save earth.”
Speaking at the university’s commencement ceremony later, Jackson said protecting the environment needs to become priority. Students, alumni, faculty and others welcomed her message with thunderous applause. That message hit home with at least a few audience members.
“While listening to Lisa, I finally realized how important it is to protect our earth,” Nika Clark, a graduating workforce education major, said, ” there’s so much that we can do in our daily routines to help combat the growing global-warming issue.”
Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, Lisa Jackson spearheads the fight to protect the health and environment for all Americans. Jackson, a Louisiana native, is the first African-American to run the EPA.
She along with her staff of more than 17,000 work endlessly to create a more green economy and address health threats from toxins and pollution and has promised that the efforts of the EPA will follow the best science, adhere to the rule of law and be implemented with unparalleled transparency. Jackson believes she was called to help protect the environment and create a more clean atmosphere for the people.