Urban Wildlife Inspires Greater Need for Healthy Communities
This past weekend, I was inspired by one of the most awesome spectacles I’ve witnessed since moving to the nation’s capital:
On my ride home from some Christmas shopping, I took a look across a reservoir in northern Washington, DC where I spotted what looked like a very large seagull on the ice. As I got closer to the bird though, I realized that it was no gull but was, in fact, a magnificent bald eagle. I watched the bird for several minutes before a smaller second eagle arrived and I realized that I’d never seen a bald eagle before out in the wild (let alone in a big city like Washington, DC.).
Why was this moment so inspiring to me? Well, living in a big city, I don’t typically get to see too much ‘wildlife’ outside of a few squirrels and the occasional deer. To me, the presence of wildlife in my community makes me feel a little bit healthier about my living environment because, hey, if a bald eagle wants to live here then it must be a pretty good spot, right? I think we all need this ‘wildlife connection’ every now and again to help us realize just how important our natural surroundings are to our well being.
The National Wildlife Federation has a 75 year history of caring for wildlife, but we also care deeply about our communities because we understand that the health of both are dependent upon one other. Clean air, clean water, and healthy habitat are just as important for people as they are for wildlife but, unfortunately, we are not always guaranteed these necessities in our communities.
As Americans, we have the wonderful ability to come together in great times of need and, right now, we are all in need: Special interest groups continue to fight for their right to pollute in our communities and make us, the planet, and all of our critter friends sicker. They are targeting bill’s meant to protect the public health, like the Clean Air Act, and cutting out giant loopholes for themselves. Instead of talking about the health of our children and the environment in which we raise them, these public-health-haters are attempting to politicize the issue.
So go take a look out on your street: see any wildlife? Wouldn’t it make you feel a little bit better about your health, or the health of your children, if a few more geese, deer, or eagles were wandering around in your smog-free neighborhood? Let’s protect the health of our communities, and the health of local wildlife, by rallying behind one of the greatest public health laws ever enacted, the Clean Air Act, and ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to hold polluters accountable.