About the author: Sandy Raimondo is a research ecologist in the Office of Research and Development in Gulf Breeze, FL, where she models potential effects of toxicants on organisms and populations. Sandy has been with the agency since 2003.
I sat this weekend to finish the latest edition of Green News, the Gulf Ecology Division’s environmental newsletter that keeps us in touch with conservation activities within our division and throughout our community. I was inspired to start Green News two years ago when I read the “Green Gauge Report”, an independent poll of environmental attitudes intended to be a representative cross-section of Americans. I was stunned to see that the Environmental Protection Agency was ranked fifth by the general public as the government agency they believed was the most protective of the environment. I came to work for the EPA because I couldn’t imagine spending my life working toward anything other than environmental protection, and a part of me couldn’t help but take that rating personally. I know that was an irrational emotion, but it motivated me to initiate a forum intended to keep our environmental perspectives moving forward, both inside and outside of the EPA.
For the past two years, three of my coworkers and I (electronically) published Green News, which reports on the conservation activities and accomplishments that make our division a better place, as well as keeping us involved in community-level conservation. For example, we highlight events such as our local earth day celebration and regional hazardous waste round-ups in which we can participate. When Green News started, I expected the contributors would spend a lot of time scooping out and tracking down stories to fill the pages. I actually spend more time trying to fit in all the topics I receive from everyone at the division, excited to share their discoveries and inquiries with the rest of us.
As far as reporting our accomplishments as a division, there has yet to be an issue that does not highlight a new step forward. Over the past two years I’ve seen my division come together to help the environment not only in their research, but also in their participation in local environmental protection, and it was easy to put the findings of Green Gauge Report behind me. The conservation efforts and environmental stewardship of the people who make up the EPA may not be tallied in public polls, but perhaps they should be.