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Celebrating Earth Day in the Rose Garden
Jeff Patterson, DO
April 23, 2010
At the White House yesterday for the President’s Earth Day celebration, I had the opportunity to speak with Congressman Ed Markey. He first lauded PSR and our work in preventing nuclear war, and then went on to say that our current work on climate change is very similar in the sense that for both issues, there is no cure, there is only prevention. He shared a great quote, “The planet is running a fever and there are no emergency rooms for planets. Thus we have to engage politically in preventing climate change.”
I also met Congressman Brian Baird, from Washington’s 3rd district, who praised our work and mentioned his strong support for our issues. Then there were two young men with the student anti-climate movement called PowerShift, who organize on college campuses and who told me how thrilled they were with our Code Black program.
Virtually everyone I met knew about, worked on projects with, or benefitted in some way from PSR’s efforts. It was gratifying to be standing in the Rose Garden and to meet so many people who value our work.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that the President said we were doing great work? And he accepted one of our lapel pins.
I’m going to channel the excitement of celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day and hearing President Obama’s comments into communicating to the public and lawmakers the health imperative of addressing our country’s energy and climate future. I hope to inspire my colleagues to join me, first, for PSR’s Day of Action on April 29, and then throughout the year.
PSR lays claim to long-history of environment and health action that has made a difference on public health issues: whether pressing for cleaner drinking water, raising the alarm over mercury and lead exposure, or our high-impact work in the states preventing the permitting of new coal plants. There is much more we must accomplish to protect the public’s health.