Statement Of William D. Thompkins
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 23, 2003
Executive Assistant, County Executive
I want to acknowledge Administrator Christie Whitman and her team for being visionaries in their initiative to shape a national agenda on the environment and the aging.
When preparing my remarks, I thought it appropriate to determine what is happening internationally consistent with the initiative at hand. My reach took me to McMaster University (recognized for work in the gerontology area) located in Canada. A professor whom I communicated with via e-mail responded when asked the question "whether Canada has a national agenda on the environment and the aging" was "No, I do not believe we do." My rationale for checking was not to "reinvent the wheel." More specifically, to take lessons learned and apply them accordingly.
An appropriate message to share is an excerpt from a McMaster University newsletter Aging, Health and Society: News and Views, Theme: Creating Supportive Environments for Older Adults.
Environment contributes to quality of life, but it is not the bottom line. It is what happens in the environment that really makes the difference as to whether or not the facility is
- A Place to live
- A Place to stay, or
- A Place to die.
Environmental connects include:
- Skin and sunlight
- Temperature extremes
- Water (Polychlorinated Biphenyls)
- Housing and lodging
- Secondary smoke
It's been said that the baby boomers will demand and expect more regarding the environment as they age and consistent with their needs and goals.
Good luck with the initiative. I and others look forward to the establishment of a national agenda on the environment and the aging. More importantly, we look forward to the practical application of the agenda with possible replication globally consistent with and respectful of cultural customs.