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.
During a recent visit to K.W. Barrett Elementary School in Arlington, VA, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson met with a diverse group of young students from the school’s 4-H Club and the LNESC Young Readers Program. It was very exciting to see these young students actively engaged in environmental protection activities like school recycling projects, garden clean ups, tree plantings, to name a few.
When Administrator Jackson asked them about our environmental challenges, many hands eagerly shot up! The children highlighted numerous concerns like global warming, climate change, dependence on fossil fuels, water quality, recycling, etc. I was impressed by their grasp of the issues given the fact that they ranged from first graders to fifth graders. What most struck me was that they were not parroting what they had heard from their teachers in school or from parents at the dinner table. They were truly engaged in the discussion.
During the Administrator’s visit, the students proudly spoke of their activities. We even saw a video they produced at the school entitled “Hug a Tree”. It was adorable. It warmed my heart to see these young children speaking and acting as concerned citizens of today and tomorrow. I definitely saw future scientists, researchers, engineers, teachers—working together to better protect our home, Planet Earth. Who knows, maybe some of these young students will be future awardees of EPA’s P3: People, Prosperity and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability. Anything is possible.