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Kids Get It!

2010 May 13

Just last week, I visited Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Hyattsville, Maryland for their Career Day. This time, I was assigned to speak at three separate classes—3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. During my presentations, I discussed the Agency’s mission, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and different types of jobs at EPA. In order to keep them engaged, I quizzed them on a variety of environmental issues. I was very interested in finding out what they thought about how best to protect the environment.  I was very pleased to see that the kids have definitely mastered the concept of the three R’s “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” Whenever I asked them about what they could do to help, “picking up trash and recycling” were the first issues highlighted in each of the classes. They also mentioned other useful green tips such as saving water, saving energy, and riding a bike instead of driving a car, to name a few.

At the school, they were incorporating many green habits into practice. One of the classes had even planted their own garden. The teacher mentioned that there were a group of students that lived nearby and regularly took care of it. I was able to see how the children talked about the garden with pride.

It was very inspiring to see that these children have internalized many of the values necessary to protect the planet. Children can be great teachers. In fact, we can learn a lot from them only if we truly listen. That reminds me of a song I heard recently on one of my daughter’s CD. It’s entitled “Wake up, America.” would like to share the chorus:

“Wake up, America. We’re all
In this together
It’s our home
So let’s take care of it
You know that you want to
You know that you got
To wake up America

Tomorrow
Becomes a new day
And everything you do
Matters
Yeah
Everything you do
Matters
In some way”

So, let’s listen to these teachers, TODAY!

If you want to see some key examples of young students who have taken environmental stewardship to the next level, I would recommend you see the projects presented by the winners of the President’s Environmental Youth Awards.  For more information on sponsoring a young person or group, visit our website.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations 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.

8 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    May 13, 2010

    Great Post ! In my country, when I watched TV, the students also acted like that. They planted some of vegetables at around their schools. But, actually, they have handicap when they back home. The parents are not supporting them. The parents have many reasons. The main reason is the culture, that the kids must to heed of them. Now, depend of their parents…. I hope, wherever, they are will appreciate their son abilities…!!!

  2. edgardo berraz permalink
    May 13, 2010

    Well done by the Cesar Chaves elementary school.It’s very important nowadays than schools,principally elementaries’,can be able by preparing children about so much important theme how enviromental protection.I have to confess than by these days,I have seen how children have almost all of them somethig incorporated of greenversations.God have to want than earth will be defend by new geerations.

  3. Billy permalink
    May 13, 2010

    Ah, the widsom of Miley Cryus.

  4. Larry Teller permalink
    May 14, 2010

    Lina, Sounds like you had a very gratifying time with the students. By coincidence, I was part of an enjoyable middle school career day this week too. My remarks about recycling always include a fourth R: Refuse. It’s not an easy sell with kids–but worthy of their consideration, no? Regards from Phila.

  5. Lina-EPA permalink
    May 14, 2010

    Hi, Larry
    Yes, it was a great experience. I like the 4th R. It can be sold with the right info. Regards from DC.

  6. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    May 17, 2010

    There are many things we can all do. Recycling including recycling of water is a critical one. Another is to ask corporations to reduce the amount of packaging they use in their products and make what they do use recyclable, then see how many of them will pay attention. One thing that our People First Chapter did last Wednesday was to do a Community Conversation for the CDC on the issue of chemical exposures, another critical problem. We supported using natural indrediants for pesticides and laundry degergent and other things instead of manufactured chemicals. WE also supported the idea that Orange County Health Department, California Department of Health Services, CalEPA, USEPA, and CDC set up task forces to work up-down-and across organizational lines and between and among organizations in efforts leading to significantly reduced chemical exposures. We also are planning to ask Regional Center and Area Board 11 to develop a client outreach program for everyone in independent and supported living programs and their staffs and staff at group homes on how to make choices in the kinds of products you buy to get those using fewer chemicals and to tell otherways to reduce the risks of chemical exsposure. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  7. Lina-EPA permalink*
    May 17, 2010

    Michael,
    Thanks for your recommendations and thanks for visiting Greenversations regularly.
    Lina

  8. Sammy Samuelson permalink
    May 27, 2010

    Hi: I began reusing,recycling,and reducing back in 1979 Feb. when I was introduced to the Amsoil Synthetic Oils,the Frantz By-Pass Oil Filters on my engines,fuel systems,and transmissions. This combination extended the longivity of my equipment by many,many hours and miles as well.In addition we began using foam on all of our air filters to extend the life of the filters,most importantly the life of our equipment.The greenbacks saved offset our fuel costs considerably,never mind how many air and oil filters didn’t end up in the landfill where they do not decompose at all!
    Thanks a bunch Sammy Samuelson

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