green projects

What New Projects Are You Planning For The New Year?

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By Lina Younes

As 2012 comes to an end and 2013 is about to begin, I would like to share some thoughts with you for the new year. I don’t want to call them New Year Resolutions because those don’t seem to survive longer than the month of January.  So, how about talking about healthier choices,  or even green projects? Essentially, I’m thinking about actions that will lead to a healthier lifestyle on the personal level and for the Planet as a whole.

  • How about dedicating more time to the important things in life such as family and friends? We often get so tied up with work and rushing from place to place that we often forget to really value those who mean the most to us in our daily lives.
  • Let’s enjoy the great outdoors!  We don’t have to live in a wide open space to enjoy nature.  So, how about get away from those electronics that seem to dominate our lives for a moment? Take a walk, visit a local park or do some gardening.
  • Let’s take the clutter out of our life! Look around you. Do you really need to keep all those things at home or in the office that you never use?  We have a great website with useful tips as what you can do at home, on the go, in the office, or at school to practice the three R’s: Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling!
  • How about saving one of our most valuable resources—water? Simple steps like closing the faucet while you brush your teeth or taking shorter showers can go a long way to conserving water.
  • How about saving energy? It’s as easy as turning off the light when you leave the room. Simple steps will allow you to save money and protect the environment.
  • Want more suggestions on how you can protect our natural resources and engage others in environmental protection in your community? I recommend our Website www.epa.gov/pick5 that has numerous tips on how you can adopt a greener lifestyle today and everyday of the year.

As the saying goes, our actions speak louder than words. Let’s lead by example so that our children may also learn how to be healthier and better environmental stewards for years to come.  And finally I would like to wish you a happy New Year!

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Grow a Green School

By Megan Gavin

GreenRecently I attended the first Green Schools National Conference held in Minneapolis. One of the many cool things about the conference was the variety of people who came together with the common goal of how to make schools ‘greener’ and more sustainable. When you think about it, there are a lot of environmental issues surrounding schools – you have lighting, food, garbage, ventilation, schools with and without access to nearby nature and teachers who need to teach standards but want to integrate sustainability concepts into the curriculum – just to name a few. Sounds a bit overwhelming! Where do you even get started?

As part of the conference, the Will Steger Foundation sponsored a youth summit for 100 high school kids from across the country. While the adults were trying to choose between sessions about green jobs, using renewable energy, energy & water conservation, waste reduction, recycling, green purchasing and cleaning, creating a school-wide green culture, school garden programs, school lunch programs and more, students were learning about how to be leaders themselves.

The highlight came at the end of conference for me, when students who attended the youth summit reported out about what they learned. One of the student presenters was a Region 10 President’s Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA) winner form last year. Students spoke about learning tips and tools to get grants to fund their projects, how to be advocates and get media attention for their issues and more. I learned that active, interested high school students have a voice and they will not stop until they are heard. Adults and students alike had come together to support the concept of green schools!

In addition to learning from students, I learned from other organizations too. For example, I learned the U.S. Green Building Council has a center for green schools which helps to engage educators in creating sustainable learning environments for their students and apply solid research to inform leadership about the benefits of healthy, high-performing schools. I learned about other cool resources such as ‘Green my Parents’ which is a movement and a book that teaches kids that through fun, simple activities, keeping score and grading their parents, young people reduce energy consumption, water usage and waste at home to save over $100 for their family and take charge of creating a more sustainable future today.

All in all, I was reminded that green schools aren’t only about the building but the people inside the building. The opportunities to get involved in this movement are endless. My goal is to find kids doing ‘green’ projects in my area and help them get the recognition they deserve through EPA’s President’s Environmental Youth Award program.

About the author: Megan Gavin currently works as the environmental education coordinator in the Chicago office of EPA.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.