April 22, 2014
Courtesy of Robert Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division
Once a year, on April 22nd, people all over the world stop to show reverence for the Earth and the life it contains. For the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), for the past 11 years running, we have honored that tradition with a day of service by continuing working alongside our partners, Washington Parks & People, at Marvin Gaye Park in Washington, DC. Over the years, the division’s employees have devoted thousands of hours planting trees in the area, and building trails, gardens, and a new tree nursery at the park’s Community Greening Center.
We also honor those whose commitment to the Earth is demonstrated in their work to protect the environment, not just on Earth Day, but every day: the aquatic biologists, park and forest rangers, fishery managers, and wildlife conservationists who protect life and its habitat across the world; the scientists, policy experts and lawyers who set environmental standards and write regulations to protect the public health; the sanitation engineers, technicians, recyclers and alternative energy developers who strive to keep mankind’s footprint on the planet sustainable; and the teachers who nurture our children’s love and wonder for nature.
And I want to honor all my colleagues in ENRD, who work quietly but passionately every day to protect the balance of life on this planet, to ensure compliance with our nation’s laws that protect clean air, water and land, to defend the authority and policy decisions of federal land managers who are the stewards of this nation’s natural treasures, to protect endangered species, marine mammals, and migratory birds, to vindicate the rights and heritage of Native Americans, to vigorously defend our client agencies while respecting the fundamental right of American citizens to obtain judicial review of government actions affecting their interests, and to protect the rights of all Americans, of every race, ethnicity, and economic status, to clean air, water and land and equal opportunity to be heard in decisions affecting their lives.
In all of this, you honor the Earth, so in a sense every day is Earth Day. But it is still a precious thing to step away from our work and our workplace on this special day, and come out here to feel the sun on our heads and the soil in our hands as we simply cherish the Earth we work so hard to protect all year long.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole assists Acting Assistant Attorney General Robert Dreher in planting a dogwood tree at the Marvin Gaye Park Community Greening Center in Washington.