EPA Chief Draws Standing Ovations At Mass Audubon’s Annual Meeting
Members Fill Auditorium at MIT to Hear Gina McCarthy Urge Renewed Support for Environment
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN—In her keynote address before Mass Audubon’s Annual Meeting Friday evening, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy exhorted the audience to stand up for a healthy environment as a quality-of-life issue.
The more than 200 Mass Audubon members, other conservation advocates, and environmental leaders assembled in Kirsch Auditorium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology took McCarthy literally, rising to their feet on multiple occasions to applaud her message.
McCarthy, who grew up in the Boston suburb of Canton and explored the nearby Blue Hills as a youth, argued that access to clean air and water is a moral imperative; that biodiversity enhances all our lives; and that climate change is a matter of national security.
She also stressed that a strong environment is not a drag on the economy but rather a driver of growth.
Mass Audubon President Henry Tepper, who provided an overview of the prominent conservation organization’s accomplishments during the past year—including advances in nature-based education, land and species protection, and addressing climate change—noted those strategies echoed McCarthy’s themes.
“The EPA Administrator has issued a clarion call that the pressing environmental issues of our times, especially the changing climate, must be engaged and engaged now,” said Tepper, who noted that all of Mass Audubon’s work is now viewed through the lens of a warming planet.
“The work that Gina McCarthy and her staff do every day is courageous and important,” Tepper added, “and I know her words at the Annual Meeting resonated with everyone in attendance.”
Among those at the Annual Meeting were state Energy and Environmental Affairs Sec. Maeve Vallely Bartlett; State Sen. Jamie Eldridge,vice chair of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change; Wayne Klockner, state director of The Nature Conservancy; and Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Mass Audubon protects 36,500 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts’ largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state’s natural treasures for wildlife and for all people—a vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women. Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 125,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today’s and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at massaudubon.org.