New Climate for Action: Getting to School

Photo of Children's Health Office InternMy name is Ashley, and this semester I have the privilege to work at the EPA Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education. I am so excited to spend the next couple of months writing blog entries in order to give middle and high school students a voice to express their own thoughts and feelings on issues like global climate change. Let me start off by mentioning a few things about myself.

What brought me to Washington D.C…

Originally I am from Bolingbrook, Illinois which is about 30 minutes away from Chicago. I am finishing up my last year at Indiana University with a degree in Public Finance. During my junior year in college, I heard about this exciting program called WLP, the Washington Leadership Program. The second I heard about WLP, it instantly caught my attention. WLP offers students the opportunity to spend a semester in Washington DC, in my case, during an exciting time of the year; the presidential election. Students get the chance to experience DC during a fun time in their life, gain practical experience in an area of interest, meet influential people, and take classes up on the Hill. How amazing is that? Not bad for a student.

I wanted to work at OCHPEE after learning the office focuses on environmental health threats and contributes in so many ways to helping parents as well as middle and high school students become environmentally conscious. During my time here at OCHPEE, I want to hear your story including your activities to address global climate change. Your activities can inspire others.

Let’s get started on this week’s topic.

Today many kids are driven to school by their parents rather than taking the bus, walking, or riding a bike. This increases traffic and energy use. Choosing to walk, ride a bicycle or school bus, or even take public transportation, reduces air pollution. Air pollutants can harm kids and cause respiratory problems. Children have respiratory systems that are not fully developed and they are often involved in activities where they breathe deeply and take in toxic air pollutants. Because October 8th is International Walk to School Day we want to hear what you are doing to reduce energy use getting to and from school and other activities. Have you talked to your friends and classmates? What has your school done? Your activities can inspire others so tell us what you’re doing. Send us pictures.