The Clean Water Act Through The Generations: Generation Y Series, Pt.2

How has the Clean Water Act impacted your life? For those of us who weren’t alive when the Clean Water Act was passed into law in 1972, we interpret this law through the eyes of Generation Y.

Anacostia River, DC, MD, VA Cleanup

Anacostia River, DC, MD, VA Cleanup | Fay Augustyn

Growing up in the 1990s I took for granted that Captain Planet was looking out for the environment. The muscular blue guy with green hair reminded me to recycle and pick up litter. The bad guys, the real polluters, Captain Planet would handle. I later learned that the only way Captain Planet could actually “bring pollution down to zero” was through major legislative acts like 1972’s Clean Water Act.

The ideal Captain Planet instilled in my generation was to do our small part to help the environment: cut up those plastic 6-pack holders, have your second grade class “adopt” a manatee, plant a tree, and don’t dump anything down the storm drain. Telling elementary age children that these small acts were all they needed to do inferred that the adults had taken care of the big things to protect our environment.

Now that I am an adult I want to continue to take care of the big things—making sure the Clean Water Act is around another 40 years is the least we can do. 

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