Today, April 22nd, marks the day when events are held globally to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Known as “Earth Day,” it was first celebrated on April 22, 1970 and has become a day to reflect on our planet, our environment and what we can do to help keep them healthy. Several changes were enacted after the first Earth Day in 1970—the Environmental Protection Agency was established; the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act was passed by a coalition of labor and environmental groups; and, within the next three years, such landmark achievements as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act were passed.
This year is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. The theme for 2015 is “It’s our turn to lead,” with the hope being to address the tough issues of climate change, economic growth and sustainability. Sustainable development is one of the biggest issues of concern. As the Earth Day site explains, “Eradicating global poverty is possible but only in a world where all countries commit to a low carbon future; the technology is available. Let’s make 2015 the year when our leaders pass a historic binding, global climate treaty.”
Clients have come to view sustainability as an essential element of project success. We must be mindful of a project’s potential environmental impact and help clients select designs that complement and enhance the surrounding community. HAKS is committed to the principles of sustainability and the critical requirements involved in exercising effective environmental control measures such as context-sensitive design, energy conservation, green infrastructure, and carbon footprint reduction. Measures include monitoring lead emissions and protecting air quality in densely populated urban areas; protecting water quality in connection with construction adjacent to or on rivers, waterways and wetlands; and reducing congestion and harmful emissions by encouraging use of mass transit. At HAKS, this sensitivity to potential environmental impacts is backed up with an extensive knowledge of federal, state and local environmental laws; permitting requirements; testing and reporting procedures; and other statute requirements for protecting the public and the environment.
When it comes to the future of our planet, children have the most important stake in keeping it healthy as they will be the caretakers long after the current generation is gone. While many positive steps have been taken, there is still more to do. Let’s try to make every day Earth Day.