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Environment-watchers worry that in the past six years have witnessed many attempts to rollback key environmental legislation. The Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Roadless Rule protecting wilderness area from development all faced challenges in court, Congress and changing federal policy priorities. In addition, the nation has seemed out of step with the international community as the Kyoto Protocol went into effect without U.S. participation in 2005. In August 2006 California took it upon itself to buck the system and tackle global warming on its own. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger crossed party lines to sign into law the nation's first bill to cap man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
Many individuals might throw up their hands when confronted with a problem as massive as global warming that's not the case with the ecological challenges they face in their backyard. The environment is an intensely local issue. "Is God Green?" documents the battle underway in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, where mountaintop coal mining has local residents bringing their faith to bear in their effort to stop widespread pollution and environmental damage. In a state where three million pounds of explosives are used a day to strip the mountains of their coal they're battling a coal industry that employs many of their friends and family. In other parts of the nation communities are taking on environmental challenges whether it's to clean up a public park or to safeguard local waters from mercury emissions.
Several years ago Bill Moyers interviewed ecological scientist David Suzuki about the potential of humans in relation to the Earth - for positive and negative. Suzuki said, "Never in the four billion years that life has existed on this planet has a single species been able to transform the physical, chemical and biological makeup of the planet as we are doing now. We have become a new kind of force, what I call the super species."
Find out more about your local environment and share experiences in The Citizens Class.