A Healthier You In 2012

By Lina Younes

At the beginning of the year, I decided that 2012 was going to be the year for me to get healthier. I thought that if I used that as my guiding light for the months ahead, this resolution would likely survive beyond the month of January.

Granted that in order to get healthier, I needed to make some changes to my daily habits. Lifestyle changes and making better choices are definitely required to be successful in reaching my goal. There is no doubt that losing weight seems to be in everyone’s top five New Year resolutions. However when the pounds don’t come off as fast as we like, we are likely to be disillusioned and return to our unhealthy practices. So, what are some of the lifestyle changes that I’ve made to achieve my healthier goal? Well, I’ve started by making healthier eating choices. How about eating more fruits and vegetables? How about looking at our  old cookbooks for creative recipes that not only include healthier foods, but add some variety to the menu? How about exercising more? I’m not talking necessarily about going on the treadmill that has been collecting dust in the basement. I mean we can take longer walks even when we walk our dog. That’s a nice way of getting some fresh air and getting some exercise without really trying. Also, don’t forget the sun block even if it’s wintertime.

What other choices can we make to have a healthier lifestyle?

  • Well, reducing the amount of clutter around the home is a great start to get in the right state of mind.
  • Increasing our recycling rate is another good habit at home and at work.
  • Testing your home for radon will also help you to have a healthier home.
  • Reading the label first before using household chemical products and pesticides

These are just a few of  the healthy habits that should lead to a healthier 2012. Why don’t you commit to taking action for a healthier you and a healthier environment? Visit EPA’s Pick 5 for some suggestions.

As always, we would like to hear from you. What have you done to make 2012 a healthier year for you and your family?

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as EPA’s Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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 views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

What Do Kids Know About Going Green?

By Wendy Dew

Way more than you think! EPA Region 8 recently invited students to participate in the 2011 Earth Day “What Makes a School Green Art Challenge.”

The contest asked students to draw or design “what makes their school green or what could make their school green”. Students could design a green school, draw green school activities or draw what makes their school green already. Example green activities included: recycling, planting trees, changing light bulbs, etc.

The purpose of the contest was to see what school children think will make their school green or greener! The drawings were very educational for EPA, teachers and parents as they showed us what our children think about environmental protection and environmental health and safety in the school environment.

The winning entry was from Linford Elementary School in Wyoming.

See some of the entries

About the author: Wendy Dew is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8 in Denver, Colorado.

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 views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Until We Meet Again

By Lina Younes

I’m glad to have been contributing to Greenversations since it was launched back in April, 2008. For the past three years, I’ve been part of the effort to produce bilingual blog posts every Thursday. I’ve covered a wide variety of environmental health issues during that time. My goal has been to increase environmental awareness to English and Spanish-speaking audiences in the U.S. and worldwide. Essentially, I have wanted to convey one central message: the steps we take in our daily lives, whether at home, at school, in the office, or our community, have a direct impact on our health and the environment as a whole.

I’ve truly enjoyed writing about the debate over the Puerto Rican tree frog in Hawaii. In fact, I have learned a lot during the process from over 120 comments received from residents from both sets of Islands.

Environmental issues such as the proper use of pesticides, waste reduction,  recycling, saving energy, environmental education activities have been very popular. I’ve also used my blog posts to give further insight to EPA’s regulatory process.

However, what I have enjoyed the most during this time has been the opportunity to share my experiences with my youngest daughter. She has truly been an inspiration for many of my blog entries. While I’ve tried to educate her about the importance of the environment, I have learned a lot from her as well. Many times she seems to have wisdom beyond her years.  Either I’m doing something right or she gets it. I couldn’t be happier.

So, while I am glad to have been given the opportunity to participate in this environmental exchange, I will have to go on hiatus for a while. My current responsibilities in the Office of Environmental Education help me to continue working in favor of environmental literacy, but limit the time I have available to write weekly blogposts. At this point, I will not be able to fulfill a weekly commitment to Greenversations. Nonetheless, I hope to resume the conversation or at least contribute from time to time. As always, I would like to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as Acting Associate Director for Environmental Education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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 views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

ACE Is The Place For Children’s Environmental Health Indicators

By Greg Miller

This is the report that drew me to EPA 10 years ago. I was a recent graduate from University of Michigan’s School of Public Health when I saw a job posting for work on environmental health policy. I had no idea what a unique opportunity I was being given.

On my first day at EPA I got to work on America’s Children and the Environment – fondly known as “ACE”. It is a report of children’s environmental health indicators. Like many people at the time, I had very little understanding of what indicators were. Since that day ten years ago, indicators of health and welfare have spread across the government as a means of providing summary information on status and trends. Our children’s environmental health indicators help us answer important questions, such as: how many children live in areas where air pollution levels are of concern? Are we continuing to make progress in reducing childhood blood lead levels? How has the prevalence of childhood asthma changed in recent years?

This year at EPA, we are preparing a new edition of America’s Children and the Environment. ACE, Third Edition will provide quantitative information from a variety of sources to show trends in environmental contaminants in air, drinking water, food, and soil; concentrations of contaminants measured in the bodies of mothers and children; and childhood health outcomes that may be influenced by environmental factors, such as asthma. New indicators will show the percentage of children in homes with lead dust hazards; biomonitoring data for phthalates and bisphenol A; and percentage of babies born preterm. We hope that people will use the report to better understand the environmental health challenges faced by children in the U.S. Furthermore, we hope the report will be a useful tool for policy makers to identify and address children’s health issues in their communities.

I doubt this blog post adequately conveys my excitement about this report. Working on children’s environmental health indicators is an absolute privilege, and I am endlessly thankful to the American public for allowing me this opportunity. If you share even one nanogram of my excitement, please visit the America’s Children and the Environment website to see our current indicators. You can also sign up to receive updates by email about any new information posted to the website and updates on the development of ACE3.

About the author: Greg Miller works on the ACE report in EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection.

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 views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Beyond Translation: Promoting Environmental Health through Education

By Lina Younes

On October 6th, 2010, Hispanic community leaders will be participating in EPA’s 4th Beyond Translation Forum in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The theme for this year’s forum is “promoting environmental health through environmental education.”  Participants from community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, academia, small businesses, and government officials will be coming together with EPA officials to discuss issues of concern to the Hispanic community.

This forum is part of the Beyond Translation Initiative spearheaded by EPA-Region 6 back in 2006 and replicated by different EPA regional offices. Originally conceived as a Hispanic outreach activity, the initiative has been expanded to reach out to other multilingual communities as well. The initiative supports Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priority of expanding the conversation on environmentalism particularly with those communities that traditionally have not been engaged in our work and activities. Our goal is to continue the dialogue beyond the one day forum so that together we can collaborate to resolve environmental challenges.

While EPA is a regulatory agency, our work goes beyond rules and regulations. We need to reach out to all communities regardless of the languages that they speak to increase environmental awareness. Through environmental awareness activities, we can show multilingual stakeholders how the actions they take at home, at school, at work, and in their communities have a direct impact on their health and the environment we all share. Environmental protection is everyone’s responsibility. If you live in the Raleigh area in North Carolina, we would love to see you at the forum.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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 views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

A Scientific Birthday Party

My youngest daughter is still at an age where birthday parties are big events in her life. No sooner that we’re done with one birthday she begins talking about new ideas for the next one. Given that her birthday is in the late fall, pool parties are out of the equation. Outdoor parties around local parks are also out of the question. So, indoor birthday parties are the norm in her case.

Birthday parties at play rooms seem to be pretty popular nowadays. We’ve already had the traditional entertainers for children’s parties such as magicians, clowns, etc. So, in an effort to do something creative, I gave my eldest daughter the task of finding something new. After some research, she definitely found a non-traditional entertainer—a scientist! Well, my colleagues at EPA might not be happy for having an entertainer and a scientist in the same sentence, but I have to admit, this party was very entertaining and even memorable.

The scientist came with her lab coat and set up her “lab” for the children. She talked about chemicals and then had the children do some experiments using some basic household products.  They made silly putty and colorful slime and even cotton candy! Each child left the party with their treasures and the hands-on experience that science can be fun.

Here at EPA we like to encourage children to think critically so they can become future environmentalists. As parents, we can guide then and encourage them in these efforts at home. It can be an enjoyable experience for all.  During Children’s Health Month, let’s teach our children how we all can make a difference to the planet, children’s health, and the future. Let’s plant the seed of environmentalism in their hearts today. That’s fertile ground. We’ll all enjoy the bounty tomorrow.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.