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.

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