World Water Day

By Shelby Egan

Have you ever taken the time to think about where your drinking water comes from? March 22, 2013 is the international celebration of World Water Day!  This day, founded by the United Nations, focuses on the importance of freshwater and how to use water resources responsibly.  This year’s theme is water cooperation.  Water cooperation means learning how people from all over the world can learn to share and manage water for things like drinking water, food production, and energy. 

After moving to Chicago seven months ago, I am able to physically see part of the world’s largest freshwater systems: the Great Lakes. Living just blocks from Lake Michigan is not only a beautiful place to take a walk or go for a run, but a daily reminder of where my drinking water and the water used to wash my clothes comes from.  Did you know that less than 1% of the earth’s freshwater coming from lakes, rivers, reservoirs and underground sources is drinkable?  As a student, you may not have the power to be in charge of managing freshwater resources but you do have to power to learn more about World Water Day.  By visiting the United Nation’s World Water Day’s webpage, you can learn more about the importance of freshwater.  The U.S. EPA also has fun and educational resources for students to learn about water resources.  Games like Water Sense and Beach Kids can be found at the EPA’s Water Science and Technology for Students webpage.  After learning more about World Water Day from these resources, I’m sure you will consider how treasured our clean water is the next time you are taking a shower or brushing your teeth. 

Shelby Egan is a student volunteer in the EPA’s Air and Radiation Division in Region 5, and is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She has a passion for protecting natural resources, cities she’s never been to and cooking any recipe by The Pioneer Woman. 

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.

Green Apple Day of Service, How Cool!

A lot has changed since I’ve been in school. When I was in school we didn’t recycle, we didn’t have a rain garden or have native plants on school grounds. I doubt we had energy efficient lighting or created signs about environmental awareness.  Schools now are doing all those things and more. Private and public K-12 schools across the country can sign up to participate in the Center for Green Schools  Green Apple Day of Service .  On September 29, schools are encouraged to create a sustainability service project and work with their community to create positive environmental change. The hope is that the Green Apple Day of Service will create a lasting awareness of the importance of green schools. I was impressed with the amount of suggestions available. Hosting a bike tune up, conducting a water audit and even pulling weeds can count as projects.

What’s your school planning on doing September 29? I’d love to hear all about it.

Megan Gavin is the environmental education coordinator at EPA in Chicago. She lives across the street from one of the winners of the Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

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.

Documerica Returns!

students taking pituresRecently the National Archives and EPA launched a contest that I wish I could enter myself. I could, if I change my name, age, birth date and occupation, but since that would be frowned upon I’ll stick to what I’m doing behind the scenes.

Unlike those of us excitedly working on this project, students ages 13 to 18 plus college or graduate school students CAN participate. Now is the time for teens to get inspired about their environment!

When you become more in touch with your surroundings and the state of the planet, you might develop a heightened state of eco-awareness and feel a sense of “green-powerment.” You may come home from school and roll your eyes at your parents if they toss away recyclable goods, or forget those re-usable shopping bags or leave the water running. Regardless of the manner in which you communicate your newfound knowledge, in many cases you feel good doing so, especially when your friends are doing the same.

Right now, there is an opportunity for that energy and creativity to be part of an international project, recognized by renowned judges and exhibited around the United States. On top of that, the grand prize for this contest will be $500, courtesy of the Foundation for the National Archives.

http://documerica.challenge.gov/

Jeanethe Falvey, State of the Environment project-lead at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Boston, Massachusetts.

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.

November 15th is America Recycles Day…

Reduce Recycle ReuseWe all know the 3r’s, reduce, reuse and recycle. While recycling is important it’s the last step, not the first. Nearly everything we do leaves behind some kind of waste.  So what can you do about it?

• Reduce food waste by using up the food you already bought and have in the house instead of buying more. You already paid for it – so use it!
• Donate non-perishable and unspoiled food to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters.
• Reuse items around the house such as rags and wipes, empty jars and mugs, party decorations, and gift wrap.
• Buy products in concentrate, bulk, and in refillable containers. They reduce packaging waste and can save money!
• When buying products, check the labels to determine an item’s recyclability and whether it is made from recycled materials. Buying recycled encourages manufacturers to make more recycled-content products available.

Find out more about what you can do at the student’s America Recycles Day webpage:  http://www.epa.gov/students/amrecycles.html

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.

60,000 Hours, Oh My!

kids in forest

On September 29, more than 5,000 kids donated more than 60,000 hours on habitat -related service projects. All these hours mean healthier places for plants and animals to live. Some kids raked leaves and planted bulbs, while others cleaned up vacant lots. Acorns and walnuts were collected and put in nurseries to grow new trees. You don’t have to wait till next year’s Public Lands Day to get involved. Contact you local nature center and see if they need volunteers. What about organizing a cleanup project for earth month?

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.