Science Wednesday: Into the Future: Celebrating the Year of Science and Children’s Health Month

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.
I’ve never been much of a multitasker. Perhaps it stems from my preferred mode of transportation. As a bike commuter, texting on the way to work is really out of the question. So, I was really stressing when I realized today’s Science Wednesday blog post had to pull double-duty: follow the year-long pattern of aligning topics for the first post of the month with the 12 themes for Year of Science, and helping EPA celebrate October as Children’s Health month.

Then I checked out this month’s Year of Science theme: “GeoSciences and Planet Earth.” Piece of cake. What do EPA research efforts in geoscience and planet earth have to do with children’s health? A lot, actually. (Thanks for asking!)

To start, EPA is helping lead a national and international effort to build the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), a vast, coordinated network of earth observations, environmental monitoring technologies, datasets, and tools. GEOSS will bring together existing and new hardware and software, making it all compatible in order to supply data and information to environmental managers and health officials.

GEOSS promises to pay big dividends, including reducing disasters, helping people better manage the risk of Lyme disease, and improved water and air quality forecasting.

What makes these benefits particularly important for children’s health is that children, for a variety of reasons including their small size, behavior, and the fact that they are still growing, are often at greater risk to environmental threats than us big people.

Harnessing the collective power of a wealth of geoscience efforts is a great investment in the future of our children. But come to think of it, I’m not sure there are any EPA research efforts that don’t, at least in some way, benefit children. Keep an eye on Science Wednesday throughout the month to read about more examples, from EPA’s Children’s Environmental Health Centers, to a recent report highlighting a decade of children’s environmental health research from EPA’s Science to Achieve Results Program.

About the Author: Aaron Ferster is the chief science writer in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. He is the Science Wednesday editor, and a regular contributor.