By Robert Redford
October 24, 2017
IDEAS
Redford founded the Sundance Institute and co-founded The Redford Center with his son, Jamie Redford

Forty-seven years ago, none other than President Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency, recognizing “clean air, clean water, and open spaces should once again be the birthright of every American.”

Since that hopeful launch of the E.P.A., both Republican and Democratic presidents have affirmed that environmental issues transcend politics. That’s simple to understand as the impacts of clean air, water and climate change impact all Americans, and everyone around the world.

What we need to pay more attention to, right now, before it’s too late, is the reality that we’ve put someone in charge of protecting the environment who seems hell-bent on the opposite.

Current E.P.A. head Scott Pruitt is moving mountains of policy in the directions he favors. And those directions don’t benefit you, or me, or our families. They only benefit the companies and industries that pollute and profit. And they will do whatever it takes to advance their agenda.

Now you can add censorship to the list of new E.P.A. techniques. Just this week, E.P.A. scientists who were scheduled to present their research at a leading and respected conference in Rhode Island, were told they were no longer allowed to even share their findings with colleagues. There is no democracy in darkness.

My heart goes out to all who have suffered and are suffering each and every time I turn on the news. These changes to our environment and future are very real, with very real consequences we are experiencing every day.

We simply cannot let Scott Pruitt’s slash-and-burn attitude toward environmental protections continue. It’s time to put renewed pressure where it’s most needed, in challenging and shining light on what is taking place every day at the E.P.A.

Here’s how: call your elected officials today and let them know you want a tough and science-led E.P.A. with the strongest mandates for protecting our environment and our future. Let them know what you think of Scott Pruitt’s leadership, and ask them to support stronger oversight of the agency, stronger scrutiny of their decisions and ethics investigations into any wrongdoing.

We only have one planet, one home, one shot. This is it.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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