I am constantly amazed at the wealth of information we have at our fingertips today. The internet makes research as simple as clicking. It’s not like in my childhood when you immediately went to the World Book Encyclopedia or the Encyclopedia Britannica to do research for a school project. If you needed additional information, you went to the local library. Our resources were miniscule compared to the seemingly unlimited sources we have today. Today you can even contact experts via email and read about their research.
With all this information, it seems like we should be able to solve many of our problems in a snap. Say there’s an environmental problem that concerns you. Without leaving your home or library you can access the U.S. Geological Survey map for that area, aerial photos, zoning information, plant lists, property owners, businesses, and environmental data like water and air quality and whether there are any Superfund sites nearby. The wonderful thing is that you don’t need to have a Ph.D. or be a top level scientist working for a big company to help solve problems. You can be you. You can make a difference in your local community! And, you may be able to help solve a national problem.
Many times problem solvers are people who put the pieces of the puzzle together in a new way. They apply new approaches. They see things others don’t. They make new connections. So be creative! You can make a difference. You are our future.
Nancy Grundahl has worked for the Philadelphia office of EPA since the mid-80’s. Nancy believes in looking at environmental problems in a holistic, multi-media way and is a strong advocate of preventing pollution instead of dealing with it after it has been created. Nancy is currently the Web Content Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region.