Food Scraps to Powered Lights

Think about the last time you took out the garbage. I bet there were some food scraps in there that were leftovers from preparing lunch or dinner. What if you knew that those same food scraps could help produce energy to power lights or run electricity? Wouldn’t you be curious to know how that happens?

With the help of an EPA grant, East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is pioneering an innovative way of taking food scraps from restaurants and commercial food processors and using them to produce renewable energy. If the food scraps are diverted from landfills and used instead to develop energy, we would definitely be on the road to creating a sustainable society.

Watch the food scrap to energy process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhyekv1V32s&feature=endscreen&NR=1

Yvonne Gonzalez is a SCEP intern with the Air and Radiation Division in Region 5.  She recently graduated from DePaul University with a dual graduate degree.

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.

Be Healthy and Alert!

Cough, cough! That’s the sound of you being sick. That’s why here at Bethesda Elementary School we have a special system. Have you ever seen colorful flags outside on your school’s flagpole? If you haven’t, we’re here to tell you what they are and what they mean.

First, we are going to tell you how the system works. Every day we check the school website to check the quality of the air. A colored flag is put up on the flagpole to alert the students about the air quality for the day.   The green flag means the air outside is good and clean and it is safe for you to play outside! You want the flag to be green all the time  The yellow flag is not as good as the green flag. The air is not as clean. When we see that flag it means it is nice enough to play outside but not perfect.

Oh look! The orange flag is flying! That means the air is not clean enough to be safe for some people, including kids like us. It is okay to play outside but we have to rest more. Ugh! If you see a red flag, it means the air is full of pollution. Pollution comes from factories and cars. We can still play outside but we should not run around as much. 

Oh no, the purple flag is flying!  On a purple flag day you should think before you plan to go outside. This color tells us that the air is the dirtiest of all. You should not play outside at all. We know- not cool, right? You don’t get to run around outside, but you will be safe inside. You don’t want to get sick, do you? That’s what we thought. The air is very polluted and unhealthy for us.

Did you know that there is less pollution today than there was years ago? We are doing a good job with reducing pollution. But it is still a problem and that is one reason the flag system is important. We are glad we have the system at our school to help keep us safe and healthy!   To learn more about the School Flag Program, visit www.airnow.gov/schoolflag.

Jazmin and Guadalupe are 5th graders at Bethesda Elementary School in Durham, NC. Jazmin enjoys playing basketball and soccer and recently set an all time high record for running laps in the gym. Guadalupe is excited about becoming a sixth grader and likes being outside where she participates in many outdoor activities.

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 I Want

videoWhat do you want to do for earth day? Do you want to make a difference? What about committing to reducing your carbon footprint or turning your lights off when not in the room? Would you consider planting a  tree? Check out EPA’s you tube channel to learn about what others wanted for earth day during a celebration last year in Washington, DC.

What do you want for earth day this year?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=1i26L03Vu9g&NR=1

Megan Gavin currently works as the environmental education coordinator in the Chicago office of EPA.

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.

Happy Anniversary Clean Water Act

waterDuring Earth Month I’m getting plenty of questions from EPA employees as well as students and teachers about how they can become involved in learning more about the environment. The 40th anniversary website of the Clean Water Act has plenty of opportunities and information. You can use the Clean Water Act milestones for a school paper or use images of water for a poster or an art project. There are even games and experiments that you can try.

Let us know if you tried any of the games or activities. Which was your favorite?  http://water.epa.gov/action/cleanwater40c/

Megan Gavin currently works as the environmental education coordinator in the Chicago office of EPA.

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.

Cool New EPA App…

uvbannerEPA has a cool new app for your smartphone…the UV forecast app.  The Ultraviolet (UV) Index provides a daily forecast of the UV radiation levels from the sun on a 1 – 11+ scale. Ozone layer depletion decreases our atmosphere’s natural protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.  Understanding these risks and taking a few sensible precautions will help you enjoy the sun while lowering your chances of sun-related health problems.

Find your UV forecast today!

http://www.epa.gov/enviro/mobile/

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

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.

Are you a Volunteer?

logoI love volunteering!  I have been volunteering at my local animal shelter for the past few months.  It is so much fun to help animals in my local community.  I like volunteering at the shelter because it compliments my job as an Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator.  I get to help the environment by doing the big picture work and help individual animals one at a time at the shelter.  Volunteering is a great way to enhance your school resume, college applications or to simply do what you love.  Check out local volunteer opportunities near you at:  http://www.volunteer.gov/gov/

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

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.

Community Service…Pick a Project!

Many students need to complete a community service project as part of a class in school.  The new student’s website has a whole webpage dedicated to community service projects and ideas.

Be sure to check it out,  and let us know what your community service project is!

http://www.epa.gov/students/communityservice.html

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

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.

Trayless Tuesdays in NYC Schools Inspired by a 7 Year Old

cartoon image

Three years ago, I took my children to the Climate Change exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. The kids raced in and out of rooms and three quarters of the way through, my seven-year-old suddenly stopped mesmerized, contemplating a diorama of a polar bear standing on a pile of trash. She turned to me and said,  “I’m not eating school lunch anymore so I can save the polar bears.” In that pile of trash was a polystyrene foam lunch tray.

I always asked my kids, “What did you eat today?” But I had never asked, “What did you eat ON today?” I was totally unaware of the 850,000 polystyrene trays used per day in NYC public schools.

My kids did the math. That adds ups to153 million trays per year and almost 3 billion trays over the past 20 years. I did the research. These trays, composed of polystyrene, known commonly as Styrofoam, are used for only 20 to 30 minutes and then thrown away, exported to out-of-state landfills.

Several NYC parent groups switched out polystyrene trays in their schools by self-funding the extra cost of alternative products, a prohibitive option for most schools. With the help of other parents and the inspiration of NYC’s 1.1 million public school children, we founded the grassroots organization, Styrofoam out of Schools.

We scrapped our initial plan, to create a media blitz about the environmental concerns, when we learned that 75% of school meals served per day are either free or reduced. The possibility of adding to the already existing stigma around school food participation prompted us to find a different strategy.

We became determined to find a solution for a 20% tray reduction by working with the Department of Education, rather than fighting them. The idea of Trayless Tuesdays developed out of this partnership. It’s simple: by not using polystyrene trays one day per week, we could quickly reach a 20% reduction goal.
________
To hear more from Debby Lee and her partners in NYC and to learn how to implement Trayless Tuesdays in your school please tune in to the EPA Region 2 webinar Reducing Waste in Schools: Trayless Tuesdays,” on March 1 at 1:30pm. Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/649234322.

Debby Lee Cohen is a public school mom, artist, educator, and co-founder and director of SOSNYC/Cafeteria Culture.

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.

Estuary, What’s an Estuary?

I recently watched an estuary video and learned a lot. For example, did you know that an estuary is a body of water formed where freshwater from rivers and streams flows into the ocean, mixing with seawater? What I didn’t know was that estuaries are called nurseries of the sea because so many young fish, turtles, and other creatures are born and spend their developing years here.  A lot of people boat, swim and fish in estuaries and have no idea the importance of them. Is there an estuary where you live?

Watch at http://www.youtube.com/usepagov#p/u/5/XLumSN4G5P4 to learn more.

Megan Gavin is the Environmental Education Coordinator for EPA Region 5 in Chicago, Illinois.

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.

Why is Coco Orange?

coco book cover

Hmmm… good question!  Coco has a problem. He’s a chameleon, but he can’t change colors, and his asthma is acting up. Read how Coco and his friends at Lizard Lick Elementary solve this mystery as they learn about air quality and how to stay healthy when the air quality is bad.  http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=picture_book.index

Play some cool games and learn about the Air Quality Index at:

http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqikids_home.index

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

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.