About the author: Ashley Sims, a senior at Indiana University, is a fall intern with EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education through the Washington Leadership Program.
I remember back when I was in high school and how stressful it was to prepare for college. Filling out college applications, deciding what school I wanted to go to, and keeping up with school work was a lot to manage. My mentors and teachers always recommended that I get involved in extra-curricular activities as a way to prepare me for college. And they were right. Getting involved in school and local organizations allowed me to develop leadership skills that were crucial to my success in college. My friends and I got involved in school organizations that did community service to better ourselves and our community. It is so important to get involved in local groups such as environmental organizations because it shows others your passion and dedication to issues that are essential to your community. You can help create a healthier environment while doing your part for your community. If your community doesn’t already have an environmental organization, get your friends together and create your own.
Become a leader. Take action and motivate others to engage in activities to address climate change and reduce its effects on children’s health. If you are a middle and high school student interested in global climate change, then become a Climate Ambassador. Here is what you need to do:
- Motivate at least 5 other students to give climate change and children’s health presentations to other students,
- Get 10 people to Change the World and Take the ENERGY STAR Pledge
- Motivate your school or school district to take the ENERGY STAR Challenge to improve energy efficiency
- Recruit at least one leader from your community, school, or other organization to issue a climate change and children’s health proclamation
- Lead an effort to reduce energy consumption in your school or community and calculate your results
If you’re a leader in climate change, I hope you will share your story so that other students can learn from your example. Please tell us how you are getting your school and/or community to reduce their energy usage. I am excited to hear people’s stories and get new ideas.
For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/climateforaction/lead/become.htm