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Going Green Around the World

2008 October 16

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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This summer I went to Lebanon for our family vacation, a country that we’ve visited several times over the years. While the country faces many environmental challenges, I was impressed by their efforts to go green. There were several things that I hadn’t seen in previous trips to that country so I was motivated to write this entry to Greenversations.

First of all, I noticed that many houses had solar photovoltaic panels! I was shocked. I’ve driven through many neighborhoods in the US and I have never seen any. Second, I noticed that light bulbs being sold at the local grocery and convenience stores were all the equivalent of Energy Star-qualified CFL light bulbs sold in the US. Consumers didn’t have a choice. Only energy efficient light bulbs were being sold. The homes that I visited all had these CFLs. Thirdly, in a trip to the grocery store, I saw reusable cloth bags for sale with a green “Save the Earth” logo in English on the bags! Just like the ones we now see in U.S. grocery stores. Fourth, there were billboards along the roads and ads in the local press advertising for eco-tourism events and sites throughout Lebanon.

When I returned to the U.S., I visited the web site of the Lebanese Ministry of the Environment and saw some green tips similar to the advice given by EPA to encourage environmental awareness.

Although much remains to be done in the US and worldwide to further protect the environment and human health, I am heartened by the fact that more and more individuals and countries seem to be marching towards a green goal. Hope more people will become inspired by the words of the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Together, we can make it happen. What have you done for the environment lately?

Esfuerzos ecológicos alrededor del mundo

Sobre la autor: Lina M. F. Younes ha trabajado en la EPA desde el 2002 y está a cargo del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Comunicaciones Multilingües. Como periodista, dirigió la oficina en Washington de dos periódicos puertorriqueños y ha laborado en varias agencias gubernamentales.

Este verano pasamos las vacaciones familiares en El Líbano, un país que hemos visitado en varias ocasiones durante los años. Mientras el país enfrenta numerosos retos medioambientales, enseguida noté sus esfuerzos ambientalistas. Varias cosas que no había visto en viajes anteriores me impresionaron y me motivaron a escribir mis vivencias en nuestro blog, Greenversations (Conversaciones verdes).

Primero que nada, en El Líbano este verano me sorprendió ver que muchas casas tenían paneles fotovoltaicos solares! He conducido por varios vecindarios en Estados Unidos y jamás los he visto. En segundo lugar, noté que las bombillas (focos) a la venta en las tiendas locales eran el equivalente de las bombillas fluorescentes compactas CFL con la etiqueta de Energy Star que se venden en Estados Unidos. Los consumidores no tenían otra opción. Sólo las bombillas energéticamente eficientes estaban a la venta. Todos los hogares que visité tenían estas bombillas. En tercer lugar, cuando fuimos de compras al supermercado, vi las bolsas de tela que se pueden volver a utilizar con el logotipo en inglés de “Cuida el Planeta Tierra” —tales como se venden ahora en muchos supermercados estadounidenses. En cuarto lugar, había anuncios a lo largo de las carreteras y en los medios locales promoviendo eventos y lugares de eco-turismo en El Líbano.

Cuando regresé a EE.UU. visité el sitio Web del Ministerio del Medio Ambiente de El Líbano y ví que tenían muchos consejos verdes similares a los que brinda la EPA para fomentar la concienciación ambiental.

A pesar de que queda mucho por hacer en Estados Unidos y a nivel mundial para mejor proteger el medio ambiente y la salud humana, me alienta el hecho de que más y más países parecen estar marchando hacia una meta verde. Espero que más personas se inspiren por las palabras del filósofo chino Lao-tzu, “Un camino de mil millas comienza con un solo paso”. Juntos podemos lograrlo. ¿Qué ha hecho para el medio ambiente últimamente?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Linda permalink
    October 16, 2008

    Most recently, I happily (gleefully) accepted 3 trash bags full of leaves from a friend; she raked her parents yard this past weekend, but instead of sending them to the landfill, she remembered me and my compost heap! :)

    I’m pleased to see such ubiquitous awareness of “green” issues in Lebanon; I hope someday to see similar coordinated actions here in the US. We are a land of plenty, but that’s no excuse not to save our resources and use them wisely.

  2. WiserIan permalink
    October 16, 2008

    WiserEarth has a directory of NGO and civil society organizations working on green issues from from rural agriculture to urban green building.

    http://www.wiserearth.org/

  3. lisa permalink
    October 16, 2008

    I would love to here more about what other countries are doing as well as what communities in the US are doing. We can all learn from each other.

  4. Lina-EPA permalink*
    October 17, 2008

    Thanks for the comments. As Linda mentioned, yes, we are a land of plenty! Wish we would value more what we have and take the steps to protect it. We definitely can all learn from each other.

  5. Palko - NaturCert permalink
    January 20, 2009

    It is great to know that there are people who care about Going Green!

    By the way, we are working on NaturCert+, which is our very own blog where we share our news and articles, and where visitors have the opportunity to share their activities and ideas with the rest of the world.

    Our aim for NaturCert+, is to develop a public platform that will address a variety of issues related to responsible and/or sustainable travel & tourism and become a daily reading resource for a broad spectrum of visitors.

    We aim to give the opportunity to bloggers to contribute and share their content relevant to responsible and/or sustainable travel & tourism on our blog and gain new readers and followers, more visibility and publicity, as well as better promotion while generating added value for the submitted content.

    Please contact us on plus@naturcert.com if you are interested.

  6. Lina-EPA permalink
    August 14, 2009

    To English language Lebanese newspapers:
    Marhaba! Glad you liked to post. Please visit our blog regularly or visit us on Twitter regularly for updated information on environmental awareness issues.
    Lina Younes

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