One Girl’s Earth Saving Mission

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My name is Brooklyn. I’m your typical 4th grader and superhero.

My favorite subjects are science, math and reading.   After school, I participate in soccer, basketball and playing the drums.  There is one thing I’m most passionate about and it’s the 3 R’s – reuse, reduce and recycle. I remember them from my 2nd grade environmental club, and mostly because I notice so much litter on the ground instead of in the trash or in recycle bins. Then I read up on litter facts.  I was upset to find that it cost billions a year to clean up so I decided to do something about it. That money could be used to provide food for the needy or to help cure cancer instead.

When interviewing Atlanta’s police chief about litter violations, I was surprised to learn that a person can be fined $1000 for it. I had fun interviewing him because I felt I was just like Ms. Oprah.  Maybe someday I’ll interview the President and talk to him about educating everyone about the environment.  I also wrote a book with a superhero that was on a mission to rid the earth of trash and pollution.

I’d like to think of myself as a superhero, strengthening my powers by teaching other kids on the importance of being green. Student by day, Earth Saver Girl by night!  It’s not easy being a superhero though, especially for the environment.  There are other issues affecting our environment besides littering – pollution and endangered animals to name a few. It just never ends, I’m going to need a league of superheroes to help.

In the meantime, since kids across the country email me about how they can be involved my mom and I decided to start a nonprofit organization. Through an awareness program at local schools that includes environmental games and projects, we’re focused on teaching kids about preserving the Earth’s natural resources and how to improve the carbon footprint in their communities. Everyone counts when it comes to making our environment better and healthier. I am very proud to teach other kids about the Earth and that many of them are joining my mission. They’re developing their superhero skills too.  Soon, we’ll make a league of environmental superheroes.

My name is Brooklyn. I am 9 years old and live in Metro Atlanta. I am the author of The Adventures of Earth Saver Girl, Don’t be a Litterbug.  I am working on another book which will teach the importance of picking up your animal’s poop.

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.

Turn Over a New Leaf in 2012

epaMake this New Year’s resolution green!  Each year our plastic and paper consumption and CO2 emissions are soaring higher and higher.  What better a time to rearrange your lifestyle than with the drop of the New Year’s ball?  Here are some simple ways to live more environmentally-friendly in the New Year.

· Ditch the Plastic bags- When grocery shopping or perusing around the mall, bring a reusable bag instead.  Besides, who enjoys carrying around three different shopping bags?

·  Invest in a lunch box- Instead of tossing out a whole paper bag each day, try toting your very own lunch box.  It will pay itself off within a few months of buying paper bags and keep your lunch fresh!

· Power your home with LED lights- Replacing your incandescent bulbs with an LED or compact florescent light bulb is a great way to become more energy efficient.   Say goodbye to tedious and frequent bulb replacements and hello to a lower energy bill!

· Start Carpooling- Save gas and reduce CO2 emissions by simply riding the bus to school or setting up a carpool.  Riding with friends is more fun anyway!

· Shorten your shower- Who needs a full five minutes?  Simply reducing your shower just by two minutes can save over 10 gallons of water.

While these changes may seem small and insignificant, they actually save huge amounts of energy and waste in the long run.  One of the strongest reasons our country can be so wasteful is because people often do not take into account the “environmental cost” of their actions.  In 2012, my goal is to educate people in my school and my community on the consequences that certain every-day selections and habits have on the enviornment.  I have always believed that raising awareness is the first step in creating change.

These challenges will leave you feeling healthier, refreshed, and more in tune with earth.  Good luck!!

Erica Arnold is a senior at Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois and plans to study environmental engineering in college next fall.

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.

How to Deliver Your Opinion at City Council

Members of Fairview’s NetZero club have spoken several times at Boulder, Colorado City Council’s Open Comment to push forward a ban on plastic bags and a fee on paper bags. Through the process, we have gained insight on how to create a concise and specific speech and deliver it successfully to the city council members.

Each person has a time limit of how long he/she can speak, so the speech should not repeat itself. It is best to arrive at the session early (unless you already know the order of speakers) and having practiced a few times. Dress appropriately for the session (no jeans or T-shirts), address the council members as “Mr./Ms. Councilmember,” and speak with a cooperative tone rather than accusatory.

Be specific with what it is you want them to change, for example, “We want Boulder City Council to address the bag issue in the 5 Year Update for the Master Plan of Waste Reduction” rather than “We want you to ban bags.” The more detailed your proposal is, the easier it is for them to make changes.

If you’re pooling in a group of people, again, make sure that the points in the argument don’t repeat. Assign specific topics to each person so that the group can be concise with time.

Speaking at City Council is a great way to let the city know about problems you wish to change. If done correctly, the city council members will be glad to help if possible.

Vivian Chen is a junior at Fairview High School in the IB Diploma program.  She is an active member of the Fairview Net Zero Club.  Her hobby is drawing and painting.

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.

Energy from Garbage?! Nooo Way…

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Recently, Girl Scout Cadette Troop# 10717 from Florida uncovered an amazing fact during their Breathe Journey stage–a  step they take to connect and take action to earn three leadership awards and engage in improving the world’s air quality.

They toured a local waste management facility and discovered how energy is generated by using everyday trash.

With safety gear and hard hats on, the girls took a close look at the process.

Over 2,000 tons of municipal wastes arrive daily to the plant for processing.  The trash is placed into a furnace to be burned and turned into high pressure steam. The steam is converted into electricity, which is sold to local utilities.  Any ferrous metals that remain, such as iron and steel, are separated for recycling as scrap metals.  The overall volume of incoming trash is reduced by more than 90% in this process. This is so much better than going into a landfill!

The troop was excited to find a facility whose mission reflected their own, a leader interested in being green and who was concerned with safe air quality standards!  Seventh grader Alyssa said:   “We care about the environment because we live in it. We want to make the world a greener place.”

For Troop # 10717, the next step to complete their breath journey involved creating awareness within their community.  The “Greening with Greenery” project was created, which entailed each girl growing plants from seed to give away at a local event.   In over 3 months, the troop had over 1,000 plants to give to their community! To be even more sustainable, the plants were given out in biodegradable newspaper pots instead of plastic ones.  At the event, the troop educated the community on the harmful effects of air pollution and how plants can improve air quality.

Emily (6th grader) said:  “Plants absorb carbon dioxide and they give off oxygen.  We wouldn’t be able to survive without them.  By giving away plants, we hope to inspire people to grow their own garden to help our planet.”  Seventh grader Elizabeth said:  “We asked people to take action in helping our environment by planting trees and picking up trash in their environment.”

The project was a success!  Not only will they receive their badges for the Breathe Journey but they’ve been asked to run their plant give-away booth at annual fundraiser in January.  WAY TO GO!

Yvonne Gonzalez is a SCEP intern with the Air and Radiation Division in Region 5. She is currently pursuing a dual graduate degree at DePaul University.

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 Kid Taking Action

I am 11 years old, from Fremont, CA. I am a very passionate environmentalist.
Many people wonder how I got into being an environmentalist.  I guess it is because of the way I was brought up. My mom told me that I started raising concerns about trash lying around in public places when I was four years old.

studentIt used to bother me a lot when I see kids throwing trash around school and being irresponsible about it. When I was in 2nd grade we had a class project, and I wrote a story about caring for the environment and showed that, it is the responsibility of everyone to keep their community clean. That’s when I first expressed my thoughts openly.  This story was later published as a children story book called, “Two Tales from a Kid”.

I love to read books, and my favorite subjects at school are science and math. I am always very curious. Everybody tells me that I ask too many questions. My parents’ told me that it is okay to ask questions, but, as I am growing older I need to also try to find the answers myself. I do a lot of research by reading books, internet, meeting experts, and exploring whenever I am curious about something. My parents’ take me to different places and help me find my own answers.

I often discuss about the issues I observe and share my suggestions for improving. Some people are supportive, some agree, but do not want to take action, and some just ignore.
I was advised to be more clear and specific, and list actionable items when I give any suggestions. I then started writing step by step actions that can be taken at school. It took me two years to complete my program for school. It has been reviewed by experts, and now I am piloting it, through my non-profit organization, Green Kids Now, Inc.,
I realized the process of self-learning is too time consuming and that we need a conference dedicated for children, so we could learn faster and be updated on all the latest developments, so I founded “ Green Kids Conference”.

Though I faced numerous hurdles, it is my passion and strong belief for the cause that keeps me going. I will continue in this path and become an entrepreneur and focus on bringing in solutions to the most challenging environmental issues.

Pavan is a passionate environmentalist, published author, and founder of non-profit charity organization, Green Kids Now, Inc.  He is also the founder of Green Kids Conference.

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.

A Prairie Academic Eden

studentSurrounded by 100-year-old brick academic buildings, in the most remote part of the high school, there is an environmental sanctuary. At Highland Park High School in Highland Park, IL, our Green School Initiative (GSI) has turned dried up Kentucky Bluegrass into a thriving restored prairie ecosystem. With the direction and education from Howard Hill, science teacher at my school, my fellow GSIers and I have learned how prairies work and we are striving to make the optimal restored prairie. I have always worked to help the environment and this endeavor has really sparked my interest because of the beauty of prairie. Once prairie is restored the biodiversity of plants and insects increases up to 10X compared to the bluegrass.

The first step to fixing something is to understand it, right? The prairie ecosystem consists of three major parts. The first part is the primary producer, the native prairie grasses. From the lanky Canadian Rye to the crisp, colorful purple coneflower, plants like these immediately thrived. These native plants have roots that go more that 10 ft deep. Previously the Bluegrass’s roots burrowed three to five inches in the ground. The deeper roots help with storm water management for these old buildings. Also, the prairie is now a registered stop for migrating monarchs. With monarch habitat being destroyed daily in the Chicago region, this milkweed has provided an essential resting stop for hundreds of butterflies. Also, I love watching the grasses sway with the wind between classes.

Secondly, the green environment is home to rescued amphibians; primarily they are local turtles that are recovering from a bad home or from being hit by a car. Our ecosystem can house up to 8 turtles and currently houses 4. As the turtles recover, they are reintroduced into forest preserves like Ryerson woods or Prairie Wolf Slough.

Finally, recently introduced herbivores lurk throughout the secluded courtyard. These beasts provide fertilizer for the soil, and eggs for cooking class. Yes, in the prairie live three friendly chickens that the other students and I feed and care for.

The space is education, while aesthetically gorgeous. The small prairie is also a great educational tool for all of us because we can see and understand what we are learning in our environmental classes. Anyone can restore lands to their native topography. Native ecosystems will support more native species and will definitely benefit all communities.

Zacko Brint is a Senior at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, IL. He is the VP of the Student Senate, Varsity Tennis Athlete, and a leader of the Green School Initiative. He is also president of the Engaged Democrats Club. He loves foreign languages and the environment.

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.

Welcome Students

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Welcome to EPA’s new student blog. Do you have a favorite website about nature, plants, or water? Tell us about it and we might write a blog about it. Do you want to try writing a blog about an environmental service project you are doing? We can tell you how to get started. This blog is a place where you can read about what other kids are doing to protect the environment. You will also read about contests and cool environmental sites. Comment on our posts and tell us about all the great things you are doing to help the environment.

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.