By Lina Younes
Recently I was reading a weekly paper that covers community events in neighborhoods in Prince George’s County, Maryland where I live. I was very happy to see four articles on four totally separate issues that point to the county’s latest sustainability efforts. Let me explain.
The first article mentioned that Prince George’s County now has its first sustainability planner to encourage residents and small businesses to save energy, adopt sustainable practices, organize environmental events and outreach. The purpose is not only to encourage business leaders to go green, but individuals as well.
The second article mentioned how one of the pools in Prince George’s County is trying to make an environmental splash by installing a solar panel system. Installing this renewable energy system is only one of the green initiatives adopted in that community. They also have several rain barrels which collect and store rainwater runoff. Hopefully this green initiative extends to other pools and sports installations in the area. One of the community leaders is quoted as saying that “the fact that we’re actually saving money, that’s just a bonus”. Nice attitude!
The third news item reported on a recent survey that ranked the University of Maryland-College Park, one of the universities two of my children studied at, as the 13th greenest in the Nation. And the fourth article dealt with a major mass transit project envisioned for 2020 which will lead to far-reaching environmental and economic benefits for generations to come.
As administrator Gina McCarthy outlined EPA’s themes recently, the Agency is working hand in hand with its federal partners, states, tribes, AND local communities “to improve the health of American families and protect the environment one community at a time, all across the country.” EPA has a variety of programs that encourage sustainability and green practices in communities from the Urban Waters Initiative, to EPA’s Brownfields program which encourages communities and key stakeholders to work together to prevent contamination, safely cleanup communities and promote sustainable land use, and its environmental justice program.
Bottom line: the actions we take at home, at school, at the office, in our communities, have an impact on our community and our environment as a whole. Going green is not just a fad, but an imperative for us all. That’s my humble opinion. What do you think?
About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.