What Next?

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.

About the Author: Aaron Ferster is the science writer-editor in EPA’s Office of Research and Development, and the Science Wednesday Editor.

A few weeks ago I noticed the crosswalk I traverse to get from the office to the local coffee joint had a fresh coat of deep red paint. Then its dingy, frayed stripes were replaced with new ones, screaming white and perhaps twice as wide as the originals. It was shortly after that that grandstands and a big viewing platform along Pennsylvania Avenue outside my downtown office building began to appear. And yesterday, a million porta-potties were installed along the cross streets.

Image of the Capitol from the corner of 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC is bracing for a big party.

Preparations for the Presidential Inaugural parade and other festivities are in full swing. It’s an exciting time to be working here. Clearly, that excitement is also being felt in other places, because I’ve been getting lots e-mails from out-of-town friends asking me what’s going on around town.

They also ask how much different I expect my job to be once the up-coming “changing of the guard” is complete. Good question. But as this is my first Presidential transition while here at EPA, I can’t really predict.

It’s easier to be certain about what I know won’t change. As a science writer, I fully expect to continue to work with lots of busy scientists and engineers to communicate what they do, and why it’s important. Science and research play a critical role in helping EPA meet its primary mission: protecting the natural environment and safeguarding human health.

Lisa P. Jackson, President Obama’s choice for EPA Administrator, said “science must be the backbone of what EPA does” during her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate. Exciting stuff, and I’m eager to help tell the EPA science story. But first I’ll be meeting a few million of my closest friends at a parade.