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Teach Kids the Triple R’s

By Toni Castro

Being young and feeling invincible can be hazardous to your health, or even deadly. There have been other asthma stories here on the Big Blue Thread, but I wanted to share my family’s crisis because it was a very close call that really made us think about our asthma plan. Hopefully, our story will help you or a loved one take heed and review your asthma plan, too. Remember the basics: review your asthma plan, refresh your medicines if needed, and remind yourself how serious asthma is.

Our daughter Shanice was diagnosed with asthma 18 years ago at the age of 3 and we’ve managed it pretty well without many incidents. Managing it consists of medication and close monitoring by an asthma/allergy specialist.

Asthma awareness!

Shanice lives with asthma everyday.

One evening last fall, we got a phone call from Shanice, who was away from home for the first time at college. She began by explaining that she had been hospitalized and was waiting for a ride back to her dorm room. My husband and I knew she’d been struggling with asthma symptoms brought on by a cold, so we were communicating with her regularly to check on her condition. Apparently, she had an asthma attack and still wasn’t feeling 100 percent but was ready to leave the emergency room. This was not her first attack but it was the first one away from home, so it was especially frightening to us because we felt helplessly far away.

Shanice’s breathing became increasingly harder as the day progressed and by evening, she was weak and lethargic. The medicine she typically uses when in the asthma danger zone was not effective. She was fortunate enough to have a good friend and dorm mate who insisted she go to the campus clinic. After seeing her blue lips, which indicated dangerously low oxygen levels, the clinic staff recommended that she be immediately transported to the hospital emergency room. At the hospital, Shanice was given oxygen, an IV (intravenous injection) for medicine, and a breathing treatment. After a few hours, she was finally stable enough to go back to her dorm.

Now that Shanice is on her own, we are hoping that she will remember to keep these critical things in mind, in addition to the Triple R’s:

  • Be aware of your triggers, environmental or otherwise.
  • Always take your medicines as directed, if prescribed.
  • Have emergency phone numbers readily available.

Statistics (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology) show that in 2008, 48 percent of adults who were taught how to avoid triggers did not follow most of that advice. For young adults and parents of young adults with asthma, managing asthma is nothing new, but managing it without the guidance and monitoring by a parent or guardian may be. As your children become young adults, make the Triple R’s – review, refresh and remind – a mantra as part of their asthma plan. The mantra may someday save their life.

Learn more by visiting EPA’s Asthma Triggers website.

Toni Castro works in the Office of Public Affairs as a Visual Information Specialist. She has worked in Region 7 for just under 27 years and the last 8 in the Office of Public Affairs. She is married and has 3 daughters, 1 grandson and a 2 year old Yorkie. While an active family keeps her busy, she does enjoy reading, traveling, cooking and music.

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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Semana del Clima—Es el momento de tomar acción

Por Gina McCarthy

 

El año pasado, el presidente Obama presentó un Plan de Acción Climática para recortar la contaminación de carbono que fomenta el cambio climático, desarrollar una nación más resiliente, y liderar la lucha global climática. A medida que el mundo se reúne en Nueva York obligada por la necesidad urgente de tomar acción sobre el clima, me siento orgullosa de poder unirme al presidente Obama para reforzar nuestro compromiso.

 

Este pasado año trajo toneladas de progreso, incluyendo el propuesto Plan de Energía Limpia de EPA para limitar la contaminación de carbono de nuestra fuente principal—las centrales eléctricas.
Esta semana, estaremos comunicando un mensaje claro: una de las principales economías del mundo depende en un medio ambiente saludable y un clima seguro. La labor de la EPA consiste en proteger la salud pública. Mayores riesgos a la salud significan más costos para todos nosotros. Nosotros no tomamos acción pese a la economía, sino tomamos acción debido a ella.
Hoy, estaré hablando con líderes gubernamentales y organizaciones de salud de alrededor del mundo sobre cómo la acción climática ayuda a reducir los riesgos a la salud global. El martes, me reuniré con los principales ejecutivos de algunas de las empresas más grandes del mundo para agradecerles por la acción climática que ya están tomando y para discutir maneras en las cuales puedan hacer más. Y luego esta semana, hablaré con Recursos para el Futuro en la Capital Federal (Resources for the Future) para exponer cómo una economía fuerte depende de la acción climática.
Sabemos que el cambio climático sobrecarga los riesgos a nuestra salud y a nuestra economía. El director de la Oficina de Gerencia y Prespuesto Shaun Donavan habló la semana pasada sobre los costos de las condiciones extremas del tiempo, especialmente en las ciudades costeras de Estados Unidos, que se espera que asciendan a miles de millones de dólares. Y vamos a escuchar al Secretario del Tesoro Jack Lew luego hoy sobre los “Costos económicos del cambio climático” —y el precio elevado de la inacción para las empresas y contribuyentes estadounidenses.
Las buenas nuevas son que podemos trasformar nuestro reto climático en una oportunidad para desarrollar una economía baja en carbono que propulsará el crecimiento para décadas futuras.
Un ejemplo perfecto sobre la acción climática inteligente son los estándares de eficiencia de combustible de EPA para autos y cambiones. Estamos reduciendo la contaminación de carbono, ahorrando dinero en las gasolineras para las familias, y fomentando una industria automotriz resurgente que ha añadido 250,000 empleos desde el 2009. El número de autos que están siendo fabricados por trabajadores en Estados Unidos ha alcanzado su nivel más elevado en 12 años. Y no nos olvidemos que desde que el presidente Obama fue juramentado, EE.UU. usa tres veces más energía eólica y diez veces más energía solar, lo cual significa miles de empleos.
El Plan de Energía Limpia de EPA continúa esa tendencia. Ya hemos recibido una gran cantidad de insumo a nuestra propuesta, con más de 750,000 comentarios de grupos de salud, grupos industriales, grupos de fe, padres y muchos más.
Damos la bienvenida a todas las buenas ideas que podamos recibir y por eso hemos extendido el periodo de comentarios públicos hasta el 1ero de diciembre.
Es cierto que el cambio climático necesita una solución global. No podemos tomar acción por otras naciones, pero cuando los Estados Unidos de América toma la batuta, otras naciones seguirán su ejemplo. La acción para reducir la contaminación no disminuye nuestra ventaja competitiva, sino la fortalece. Si queremos hablar sobre el rendimiento de la inversión: a lo largo de las pasadas cuatro décadas, la EPA ha recortado la contaminación atmosférica por más del 70% mientras la economía se ha triplicado en tamaño.
En la actualidad, tenemos más autos, más gente, más empleos, más negocios y menos contaminación. Podemos—y tenemos—que tomar la delantera sobre el clima. Y al estar en Nueva York esta semana, rodeado de cientos de miles de ciudadanos que están haciendo un llamado a favor de la acción climática, es obvio de que el pueblo estadounidense está abrumadoramente de acuerdo. Cuando tomamos acción para afrontar el clima, estamos aprovechando una oportunidad para reorganizarnos y resurgir con nuevas tecnologías, nuevas industrias y nuevos empleos. Se lo debemos a nuestros hijos para dejarles un mundo más saludable, más seguro y rico de oportunidades para generaciones futuras.

 

 

Gina McCarthy es la administradora de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de Estados Unidos. (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés)

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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Seeing the Whole Picture

By Malavika Sahai

huntersview

I was in my freshman year of college in the spring of 2013 when I took my introductory Environmental Policy and Planning class. Although my professor covered a wide range of topics that fit under the umbrella of U.S. environmental policy, one lesson really stood out for me: her overview of environmental justice considerations in policy enforcement. She told the powerful story of Bayview Hunters Point, a low-income community of color in southeast San Francisco that had been home to a former naval shipyard and other industries that had polluted the area, severely impacting the residents. Despite decades of cleanup and redevelopment efforts, their struggle continues. I became inspired and emotionally involved in wanting to help other communities like Bayview.

Untitled-1Growing up in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, I had witnessed instances of low-income and minority communities being plagued by pollution problems. I saw that for residents living in urban areas with aging infrastructure and minimal green space, the impacts seemed worse. I had considered myself a budding social justice advocate, but it was not until that day, that lesson, that I realized there was a vibrant, working movement to achieve justice in such communities.

After that lesson, I had an epiphany about what I wanted to do with my career. Suddenly, all my papers for my other environmental classes incorporated discussions about environmental justice. I spent my free time searching the internet to learn more about environmental justice and how and where people were impacted. I wanted to talk about these issues with anybody who would engage in the conversation. I didn’t want to stop learning more.

In my sophomore year, my interest in environmental justice led me to declare a Geography minor, so I could better understand the connection between social issues, place, and the environment. I want to learn more about the way that social geography impacts environmental decision-making in different places, to preserve local culture and adapt to be more equitable and sustainable. As I continue to learn, I keep challenging myself to learn more about the intersection of environmental justice and other related social issues, such as using ecofeminism as a framework toward global justice and planetary health.

malavika

Learning about environmental justice issues as a critical component in policymaking decisions has inspired me to pursue it professionally. I want to ensure that a clean environment and good public health are not mutually exclusive. Being an intern in EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and collaborating with other environmental organizations as a part of my internship has broadened my understanding of the amount of work that’s already being done to address environmental justice issues across the nation, as well as what remains to be done. Learning about environmental justice has helped me realize that people have the power to make a change in the world and help one another. Learning about environmental justice in a classroom setting has helped me realize that environmental justice and environmental policy should be intertwined.

I am eternally grateful to my freshman environmental policy and planning professor for introducing environmental justice in the classroom, and my hope is that as time progresses, all environmental policy and planning programs in universities, and even high schools, teach their students about environmental policy and justice side by side.

About the Author: Malavika Sahai recently was a Summer intern at EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice. She is studying Environmental Policy and Planning and Geography at Virginia Tech, and plans to graduate in Spring 2016.

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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EPA In Your Community (Pedal Away!)

By Brendan Corazzin
Region 7’s EJ Grants Coordinator

While biking may be an excellent way to exercise, it can also serve as a viable and inexpensive form of transportation that has many environmental and health benefits. Joe Edgell tells us it is easier than you think. Let me tell you about one of EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grant awardees and the work they are doing in St. Louis to address the inequitable distribution of biking infrastructure in the city.

Example of a shared traffic lane. This picture was taken in Arlington, Virginia. Image by Brendan Corazzin.

Example of a shared traffic lane. This picture was taken in Arlington, Virginia. Image by Brendan Corazzin.

Often times, transportation is an overlooked environmental justice issue. It is not uncommon for low-income households to lack access to a personal vehicle and many low-income urban neighborhoods have poor access to public transportation. Entire communities are cut off from valuable public services and amenities. Lack of transportation means a lack of access to fresh foods, a lack of access to medical facilities, and poor access to jobs. In St. Louis, Missouri, a small non-profit organization, Trailnet, is working to reverse this trend by promoting bicycling as a viable mode of transit.

St. Louis Rain Garden Stop

During a bike ride with Trailnet staff and project partners, we stopped at a rain garden at 14th and Clinton Street in the Old North Neighborhood of St. Louis. Image by Brendan Corazzin.

In 2013, Trailnet, Inc. was awarded an EJ Small Grant to work with low-income neighborhoods across St. Louis on bicycle planning and advocacy. Historically, planning activities related to bicycle infrastructure have left out low-income and minority communities. As a result, the existing infrastructure does not serve the needs of these communities. Through a series of educational activities, planning workshops, and community events, Trailnet will encourage bicycling as a mode of transportation and bring community members to the table so they can be involved in the planning process. This past May, I was in St. Louis to visit with Trailnet regarding their project. Rather than driving a car from Kansas City to St. Louis, I decided to use alternative modes of transportation starting with a bike ride from my home in midtown Kansas City to the train station downtown. After a 5 hour train ride, I arrived in St. Louis at the downtown train station and over the next two days I experienced St. Louis’ biking infrastructure first hand.

I will admit, my experience lead me to the conclusion that St. Louis and Kansas City (where I live) have pretty similar biking infrastructure…which is less than impressive. Don’t get me wrong, both cities have invested quite a bit in bicycle planning and both cities support bicycling, but they’re still early in the process. Getting around the downtown area, where most of my activities were, was fairly easy. There are a few dedicated bike lanes in downtown and few more “shared traffic lanes”. A shared lane is really just a regular traffic lane with a bicycle emblem painted on it, alerting drives to the possibility that there may be a cyclist in the lane. I also rode in west St. Louis and on the south side of town, where again there were a few dedicated bike lanes and some shared traffic lanes. In North St. Louis, however, travel was a bit more difficult because there are only shared traffic lanes.

Scheomehl Pots

“Schoemehl Pots” are frequently found at the intersections of neighborhood streets in St. Louis. The pots were originally installed to divert traffic from residential streets and could be reused to improve biking routes. Image by Brendan Corazzin.

North St. Louis is predominately African American and low-income. This is where one could witness the historical presence of environmental injustice in transportation planning. While other parts of town are accessible by bike lanes and downtown has its fantastic bicycle station, a public bicycle storage and maintenance facility, North St. Louis is left with only shared traffic lanes. This problem is compounded by the fact that beginner riders typically lack the skill and confidence to ride in traffic. As a result, you have a community where bicycling could serve as a viable form of personal transportation – taking people to work, the grocery store, school, or church – yet ridership remains low. Admittedly, there are many reasons for low ridership, but better infrastructure is an important part of increasing bike usage and our grant to Trailnet will help!

By working with residents, city staff, and elected officials, Trailnet hopes to break down the barriers that are preventing the community from utilizing bicycles as a cheap, efficient, effective and safe means of getting around St. Louis. By bringing community members to the table, Trailnet has been able to gather important information about community needs and wants. This input will inform transportation planning in St. Louis and help shape a future that supports bicycling by establishing safe, low stress routes that connect points of interest important to the community. Environmental Justice is all about supporting communities so that they can use their voice and knowledge to create positive changes and improve their environment. The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program has a long history of supporting communities in their fight to improve their environment. To learn more about environmental justice and EPA’s EJ grant programs, check out EPA’s website.

This map was used during a public meeting in North St. Louis. Residents were asked to identify points of interest, streets they bike or walk on, and streets that they would bike on if conditions were more inviting. Image by Brendan Corazzin.

This map was used during a public meeting in North St. Louis. Residents were asked to identify points of interest, streets they bike or walk on, and streets that they would bike on if conditions were more inviting. Image by Brendan Corazzin.

Brendan Corazzin works in the Environmental Justice Program at EPA’s Region 7 office. He serves as the regional EJ grants coordinator. He lives in Kansas City’s Volker neighborhood and prefers to leave his car at home. He is an avid supporter of alternative transportation including walking, biking, and riding to work in a vanpool.

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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¡Mujeres embarazadas, padres y todos deberían leer esto!

Por Jessica Orquina

 

Nunca había pensado mucho acerca del mercurio en el pescado. Me gustan los mariscos y quizás había escuchado algo acerca de algunas preocupaciones de salud, pero nunca le había prestado mucha atención. Sin embargo, cuando estaba embarazada empecé a leer toda la información que podía encontrar acerca de la salud y nutrición para mujeres embarazadas, incluyendo sobre el mercurio en el pescado.

Aprendí que el comer pescado alto en niveles de mercurio puede hacerle daño al bebé por nacer o al sistema nervioso de los niños pequeños. También aprendí acerca de qué peces tienen niveles más elevados o más bajos de mercurio para así poder enfocar mi régimen alimenticio en aquellos pescados que son más seguros para comer.

El otoño pasado, mi hijo nació y ahora estoy de regreso al trabajo. Me interesó aprender que la EPA ha estado trabajando con la FDA para recomendar nuevos consejos sobre el Pescado: Lo que las mujeres embarazadas y padres deben saber. Comparta sus ideas con nosotros y ajuste el regimen alimenticio de su familia conforme a la nueva información. Mientras el consumo de mercurio es de especial preocupación para las mujeres embarazadas y los niños pequeños, puede afectar la salud de todos.

Entonces, tome un breve momento de su tiempo y lea este documento. Yo lo hice.

Acerca de la autora: Jessica Orquina trabaja en la Oficina de Asuntos Externos y Educación Ambiental como la principal encargada de los medios sociales para la agencia. Antes de unirse a la EPA, sirvió como piloto militar y de aerolíneas comerciales. Ella vive, trabaja y escribe en Washington, DC.

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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Expectant Moms, Parents, and Everyone Else Should Read This!

By Jessica Orquina

I never thought much about mercury in fish. I like seafood, and have heard there may be some health concerns, but I didn’t really give it much thought. Then, I became pregnant and started reading all the information I could find about health and nutrition for expectant mothers, including about mercury in fish.

I learned that eating fish with high levels of mercury may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system. I also learned what types of fish have higher and lower levels of mercury so I could focus my diet on those fish that were safer to eat.

Last fall, my son was born, and now I’m back at work. I was interested to learn EPA has been working with FDA to recommend new draft advice for fish consumption. In the past, our advice was based solely on the health concerns caused by eating fish with high levels of mercury. The new recommendations still consider that issue, but they also look at the health benefits of eating seafood.

I strongly urge you to read the new draft advice (Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know), share your thoughts with us, and adjust your family’s diet accordingly. While mercury consumption is a big concern for expectant mothers and young children, it can affect everyone’s health.

So, take a minute and read this document. I did.

About the author: Jessica Orquina works in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education as the social media lead for the agency. Prior to joining EPA, she served as a military and commercial airline pilot. She lives, works, and writes in Washington, DC.

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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Social Media Magic

As an environmental policy major at the University of Maryland, I knew I’d found the perfect internship at the Office of Web Communications.

Working here is showing me a whole new side to the sites and applications I spend so much of my time on. My normal day on social media includes some frankly pathetic attempts at humor on Twitter, some carefully selected photos on Instagram, and an overwhelming amount of posts with sub-par grammar on Tumblr. How EPA uses social media, however, is a whole different story.  Where my “hilarious” tweets fall flat amongst my small following of friends, EPA’s tweets convey important health and environmental information that reaches thousands and get shared constantly.

Take my first day at EPA for example, Monday, June 2, 2014, the day Administrator McCarthy announced the new Clean Power Plan. I’m not exaggerating when I say the internet EXPLODED.  There were tweets, Facebook shares, and comments upon comments of the public’s reactions all flooding in at top speed. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed, but also very intrigued by social media on this scale.  The following week proved to be even more interesting as I got to work on some of EPA’s posts myself. Nothing was more gratifying than seeing a post I helped write on the official EPA Facebook page!

A selfie Maddie took at her desk at EPA.

After just one week here, I’m beginning to see a new picture form about the social media sites I thought I knew so well. I’ve come to realize that social media is not just for teenagers and their endless (beautiful) selfies, but it is a way for the whole world to keep connected to today’s important issues. As I got a chance to explore all the social media outlets the EPA has to offer (check them all out here), I realized that social media is not just about shares and retweets, but is more about participation. Having today’s most important news stories readily available invites a conversation that gets everyone involved. Whether it’s a comment on a Facebook post, a retweet on Twitter, or a video on YouTube, EPA has some great ways to encourage an important conversation with the world.  I am so excited to see and learn more about social media and EPA during my summer here!

About the author:  Maddie Dwyer studies environmental science and policy at the University of Maryland. She works as an intern for EPA’s Office of Web Communications.

 

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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Earth Day Festivities…Waterfowl, Stream Impairment & Smokey The Bear…Oh My!

By Amber Tucker

Earth Day was last month but since we like to tout that every day is Earth Day here at EPA, I am safe in posting this now.  We also love it when the “official” Earth Day rolls around.  Each year on April 22nd, people across the globe participate in various events and activities to raise awareness and promote the environmental movement.  2014 marks the 44th Earth Day Observance.

Prior to the first Earth Day in 1970, there was no EPA, no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act. There were no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment.  It was legal and even common for black plumes of toxins to fill the sky, and tons of hazardous waste to be dumped directly into waterways.  These practices had gone on for so long, that finally the detrimental effects on environmental resources could no longer go unnoticed, and concerned citizens felt compelled to take action to protect their environment. In spring 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a way to force this issue onto the national agenda. Twenty million Americans demonstrated in different U.S. cities, and their efforts paid off tremendously!  In December 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

earthday

In response to the expanding public demand for cleaner air, water, and land, President Richard Nixon and Congress established the U.S. EPA.  EPA was tasked with the challenging goal of repairing the damage already done to the environment and to establish guidelines to help Americans in making a cleaner and safer environment a reality.

Fast forward 44 years to today…from its 20 million strong 1970 roots, more than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world, according to the Earth Day Network (http://www.earthday.org).  On a local scale, EPA is fortunate to be able to participate in local community events each year.

julia

Julia helping out with the Impaired Waterways activity

The Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska held their 2014 annual Earth Day event on Tuesday, April 22nd at their community building in Reserve, KS.  The Sac & Fox Environmental Department has hosted this event for several years in an effort to actively engage children of various ages in learning about the environment.  They have worked closely with and invited outside agencies to participate in this important event.

On Tuesday April 22nd, approximately 90 children ranging from 1st through 3rd grades came to the Sac & Fox community building to celebrate Earth Day.  Three staff members from EPA Region 7, Julia Cacho, Heather Duncan, and Amber Tucker, were privileged to be able to attend and take part in these festivities.  The Sac & Fox Environmental Department secured presenters on a variety of environmental topics such as surface water quality, air quality, Brownfields, recycling, Squaw Creek Waterfowl, and the water cycle.  Environmental Department staff also developed program specific presentations to showcase the Sac and Fox Nation Environmental Department and its functions. All of the attendees were able to soak up some Vitamin D out on the lawn during lunch, where lunch was served (in recyclable brown boxes). The day was topped off by crafts activities and a very welcomed appearance from Smokey the Bear.  Smokey was a big hit, and took pictures with the children, which were printed and incorporated into one of the crafts for the children to take home.  At the end of the day, 90 happy kiddos and several tired presenters were evidence of a successful Earth Day event!

Smokey

Julia, Heather, Smokey & Amber

For additional information about Earth Day, please visit http://www.epa.gov/earthday/index.html.

Amber Tucker is an Environmental Scientist who serves as a NEPA reviewer for EPA Region 7.  She is a graduate of Haskell University and serves as Region 7′s Special Emphasis Program Manager for Native American Employment Programs.

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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Una página principal para la era de los medios sociales

Aquí en la EPA, sabemos que no podemos cumplir nuestra misión sin el insumo y la participación de millones de estadounidenses, desde las comunidades rurales y vecindarios de los suburbios a los centros urbanos. También sabemos cuán importante es nuestro sitio Web para la participación pública y la investigación. En nuestra página principal, queremos ayudarles a llevar a cabo sus tareas y mantenerse informado, mientras facilitamos la manera en la cual se conecta con nosotros mediante los medios sociales.

Hemos decidido hacer unos cambios en el diseño para permitir a los visitantes como usted poder comunicarse con nosotros. El nuevo diseño será publicado en un par de semanas, pero le ofrecemos un adelanto.

Hemos revisado varios mapas del sitio que evalúan la frecuencia de los términos populares y los más buscados que nos han dado ideas acerca de áreas específicas que deberíamos actualizar en la página principal.. La imagen que presentamos es el resultado de nuestros esfuerzos. ¿Qué viene por ahí? Hemos añadido algunos elementos nuevos que le ayudarán a conectarse mejor con nosotros:

·         El banner en el encabezamiento continuará incluyendo algunos de los temas más populares, y le ayudará permanecer informado acerca de lo que está sucediendo. El nuevo diseño clarifica cuáles son los temas incluidos.

·         Nuestras oficinas regionales ahora tendrán un rincón dedicado para proveer sus anuncios relevantes específicos para esas áreas del país. Usted podrá ir directamente a una página para su estado.

·         Estamos contando nuestra historia usando multimedios: fotos y videos que comparten cómo trabajamos para lograr nuestra misión de proteger la salud y el medio ambiente. Esperamos usar estos elementos con el banner y los medios sociales para ofrecer información polifacética sobre nuestros esfuerzos.

La manera en la cual destacamos ciertos elementos claves le ayudará a encontrarnos en los medios sociales, verificar la entrada más reciente a nuestro blog, y a seguirnos por Twitter.

A la misma vez, crearemos una nueva área para ayudarle a informarse acerca de lo que puede hacer para abordar algunos de los asuntos más críticos. Más abajo en la página proveemos enlaces directos a algunos de los temas que ustedes buscan con mayor frecuencia.

En fin, esta nueva página principal refleja nuestra meta más importante: trabajar juntos con ustedes para mejorar la salud pública y proteger el medio ambiente.

Acerca del autor: Jeffrey Levy es el director de Comunicaciones del Web de la EPA. Ha estado con la EPA desde el 1993 cuando se unió a la agencia para proteger la capa de ozono.

 

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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Pequeñas reparaciones, grandes ahorros

Por Lina Younes

Recientemente, me quedé patidifusa cuando vi que la factura del agua había aumentado casi el doble.  ¿Qué había ocasionado ese aumento inesperado en consumo del agua en nuestro hogar? Tenía que haber una explicación lógica.

Revisé nuestras actividades del pasado mes y no encontré ninguna razón para esta subida alarmante. Dado a que todavía estábamos en el invierno, definitivamente no estaba ocupándome del jardín. Tampoco estábamos tomando más duchas o baños que de costumbre.

Entonces, inició una expedición por toda la casa en busca de una posible causa. ¿Podría ser el grifo de la cocina? Yo pensaba que le había dado instrucciones a todo el mundo para que lo cerraran de cierta manera para prevenir las goteras. Todos los inodoros parecían estar funcionando bien menos el del sótano. ¡Encontré el culpable! Mi hija confesó que a veces a veces la cadena se quedaba atascada y el inodoro seguía botando agua. Ella mencionó que usualmente sucedía de noche, pero no me lo había comentado. Entonces, literalmente centenares de galones de agua y nuestro dinero estaban perdiéndose por el alcantarillado.

Mi esposo y yo fuimos a una ferretería local para comprar una aleta del sistema de desagüe del inodoro.  Vi que había una variedad de aletas y kits de reparaciones de inodoro que costaban entre $4 y $20. Por suerte, mi esposo pudo reparar el inodoro sin tener que contratar un plomero. Esta pequeña reparación nos ahorró cientos de dólares y valió la pena.

¿Sabía que en los Estados Unidos se desperdician más de un millón de millones de agua cada año por filtraciones en el hogar? Por eso, la EPA y sus socios quieren recordar al público que verifiquen la plomería en su hogar durante la Semana de Repare el Goteo. ¿Cree que tiene una filtración de agua en el inodoro? Coloque un par de gotas de colorante vegetal en el tanque de su inodoro. Deje que pasen 15 minutos sin alar la cadena. Si el colorante aparece en la taza del inodoro, entonces tiene un goteo. El repararlo le ayudará a ahorrar dinero y a proteger el medio ambiente.

Si piensa hacer reparaciones grandes en los efectos de plomería en su hogar, quizás debería invertir en grifos, cabezas de duchas e inodoros con la etiqueta de WaterSense. Estos son productos de plomería eficientes en el consumo de agua que han ayudado a los consumidores a ahorrar más de 487 mil millones de galones de agua y cerca de $9 mil millones en factoras de agua y electricidad desde que la EPA creó el programa WaterSense en el 2006. Usted también puede ahorrar agua. Cada gota cuenta.

Acerca de la autora: Lina M. F. Younes ha trabajado en la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE.UU. desde el 2002 y se desempeña, en la actualidad, como portavoz hispana de la Agencia, así como enlace de asuntos multilingües de EPA. Además, ha laborado como la escritora y editora de los blogs en español de EPA durante los pasados cuatro años. Antes de unirse a la Agencia, dirigió la oficina en Washington, DC de dos periódicos puertorriqueños y ha laborado en varias agencias gubernamentales a lo largo de su carrera profesional en la Capital Federal.

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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