Federal environmental programs called crucial to help Columbus and other cities maintain and improve public health initiatives
Big blue arrow head pointing right with black words on top Defend our future

Columbus residents alongside leaders of local public health departments urged the continuation of federal, state and local programs to protect and defend the health of everyday Ohioans.


The current administration has proposed cutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency budget by 31 percent – more than any other federal agency. Those cuts would hit Ohio and Columbus area programs hard, too – for air, land and water quality initiatives that keep people healthy and safe.

"The issue is simple: less regulation equals more sick kids" said Beth Liston, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at The Ohio State University Medical School.

Liston spoke at TRISM--a new restaurant, bar, and event space in the Gateway District--at a gathering organized by Defend Our Future, a non-partisan, non-profit organization for young adults interested in protecting their environment.

Defend Our Future is centered around millennials like event moderator Amiah Matthews, an intern with Defend Our Future studying public health at The Ohio State University, who said even the best local programs can “only do so much without continued federal support.”

Speakers at today’s “Defend Our Health” roundtable discussion said federal programs are critical to supplement and maintain work done locally by the city and by groups. Rick Hicks, Director of the Office of Environmental Protection & Sustainability at Columbus Public Health, contributed “if we stop funding federal climate change initiatives, it will have an effect on local programs department is relatively new and our funding could shift to other, older programs.”

The overall take away from the event was a feeling of hopefulness. Speakers urged everyday citizens to continue the conversations pushing for legislation and regulation on these issues. Hicks added "We need to start by just saying the words.  Say 'climate change' out loud and we can start to see a difference in our communities."

Defend Our Future representative Kim Tavenor called on anyone concerned about the public health concerns raised to call, write, email or message members of Congress and remind them that millennials are counting on them to defend our health and future by continuing to fund federal environmental programs.

Other ideas for action are available at


CONTACT:  Marguerite Dooley

PHONE: (802) 558-7918


DATE: 7/15/2017