When Average Is Just Not Good Enough

By Lina Younes

This past weekend, I went to the Earth Day festivities at the National Mall with my youngest daughter and one of her friends. We visited the National Sustainable Design Expo-P3 , the NASA exhibits and activities and other booths in the area. While we eagerly participated in the events, one of the activities left me somewhat perplexed. Which activity you may ask? The Carbon Footprint Estimator.

In honor of Earth Day at the National Mall and online, there were several variations of the same question “What is your carbon footprint?” While I pride myself in doing my best to go green by saving energy, saving water, reducing waste, and recycling, time and time again all the quizzes I took this weekend gave me the same grade. What is my Green-O-Rometer? How green am I? Response? Just an average Jane. Not something to be proud of in my book.

So, what were my areas of weakness? Basically, the different quizzes/activities revealed that my weakest area was food consumption. That is an area that I think we frequently overlook when we are thinking of going green. How often do we eat processed or packaged foods? How many times do we eat non-locally grown foods? Do we eat enough locally grown fruits and vegetables? In my case, those were the least green-friendly activities that I engaged in on a daily basis.

So now that I’m aware of my area of weakness, I’ll definitely make a conscious effort to improve. Not only will it be greener for the environment, but it will also be healthier for me and my family.

Are you planning any changes in your daily habits? Want to share any green plans with us? We would love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as acting associate director for environmental education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.