Climate For Action: Introducing New Student Bloggers

About the authors: Michelle Gugger and Loreal Crumbley will work as a team to continue the New Climate for Action Blog.

Michelle graduated from Rutgers University in 2008. She is currently spending a year of service at EPA’s Region 3 Office in Philadelphia, PA as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

image of authorI’m so glad that I have been given the opportunity to continue the great work that Ashley Sims has done with this blog. I work at the EPA in Philadelphia in the Water Protection Division. Here I am known as the VISTA in the office. VISTAs are volunteers in service to America. It is kind of like the PeaceCorps in that we volunteer our time working for social, economic and environmental issues. As a VISTA, I have chosen to spend my time working to protect human health and the environment. I have had a great opportunity to do this at the EPA. I spend most of my time supporting environmental initiatives and educating the public on water protection. So far, it has been a lot of fun and a great learning experience. There are so many people interested in making positive environmental changes. I would love to share some of the things that they have taught me and hope that you will share some of the things that you do for your environment. I have been following Ashley’s blog for a while now and it is a great way for students to educate each other on important environmental issues. I hope you continue sharing and I look forward to reading your great ideas!

Loreal, a senior at George Mason University, is an intern with EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education through EPA’s Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

image of co-authorI currently work with the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education. I am very excited to work with Michelle in carrying on Ashley’s blog entries. I live in Virginia and am a native of the Washington D.C. area. I am in my fourth year at George Mason University and am pursuing a degree in Government and International Politics. I have extensive work experience in the environmental field, including an internship with the EPA’s Office of Cooperative Environmental Management, a student mentor at Science, Engineering and Technology Camp (a program dedicated to helping young girls excel in science fields), and the National Hispanic Environmental Council Minority Youth Training Institute (a scholarship to receive training from experts in environmental and science fields).

I look forward to writing blog entries on global climate change and hearing your goals and projects on the many environmental issues.

Look for next week’s Climate for Action Blog entry on recycling CDs and DVDs

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.

New Climate for Action: Graduation

About the author: Ashley Sims, a senior at Indiana University, is a fall intern with EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education through the Washington Leadership Program.

Image of Ashley Sims in front of Washington MonumentI regret to say the time has come for me to return to my studies at Indiana University. During my semester at EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education under the University’s Washington Leadership Program, I’ve had the privilege to work with dedicated and highly respected individuals. As part of the nation-wide climate change and children’s health education campaign, my goal this semester was to engage middle and high school students to participate in the discussion of global climate change and its effects on children’s health. I’ve been very excited and greatly thankful for the contributions to the weekly blog discussion and everyone’s shared ideas and comments. My only request is to keep the comments coming after I’m gone.

Here are some things I thought might be interesting-

Are you interested in saving the planet? Do you have any ideas to help protect the environment but need financial help to execute that plan? Check out http://www.planet-connect.org/. Planet Connect is an online network that provides high school students funding opportunities to support their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Hurry up and apply. The deadline is January 20, 2009. You can also check out the link from our climate ambassador page at http://www.epa.gov/climateforaction/lead/become.htm

Also, don’t forget to be a leader! Take action and motivate others to engage in activities to reduce global climate change and its effects on children’s health. If you are a middle or high school student interested in global climate change, become a Climate Ambassador. Once you sign up to be a Climate Ambassador, copy the icon found at http://www.epa.gov/climateforaction/lead/become.htm to your facebook or other social networking page and encourage others to do the same.

Remember- let’s show others our passion and dedication to issues that are essential to protecting our environment. Again, it has been my pleasure to help you express your thoughts on issues so personal and important to your future.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

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.

Climate for Action: Going Green for the Holidays

About the author: Ashley Sims, a senior at Indiana University, is a fall intern with EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education through the Washington Leadership Program.

The holiday season is the most exciting time of the year. I love to try to figure out which gifts to give to my loved ones back at home. Perhaps some cute earrings for mom or a hand-made scarf for one of my girlfriends could work for presents this year. And holiday sales can be a sweet treat too. As you shop for holiday gifts, try to keep in mind the most exciting gift of them all – a healthy planet. There are many actions we can take to reduce waste and save energy during the holidays. Here’s a look to what we can do.

You can reduce waste during the holidays. Thousands of shopping bags and Christmas trees end up in landfills each year. A way to reduce paper and plastic shopping bags from filling up our landfills is to simply ask store cashiers to not bag your small or oversized purchases or carry a reusable shopping bag with you. If you celebrate the holidays with a tree, get your parents to find a local solid waste department and see if they collect trees after the holiday. Some communities offer curbside pickup for trees. This is much better than sending it to the landfill.

When shopping, try to get your parents to buy home or office electronics that have the ENERGY STAR label on them. We learned that some electronics still use electricity when turned off. By replacing old items with ones that are energy efficient we can save over 25 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions which is good for the planet and our health too.

And lastly, cleaning up after the holidays can be a huge responsibility if not prepared. My family holiday meals require much more water than ordinary meals. While preparing food and washing dishes, we tend to run the water a lot. For every minute water runs, more than two gallons of water is used. However, this year we’ve came up with a way to reduce our water and energy usage. Take a look-

  • Instead of using water to rinse dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, scrape them clean.
  • If washing dishes by hand, fill the sink with a few gallons of soapy wash water, clean the dishes, and put them aside. Then rinse them all together afterward.

Sounds like a plan to me. Either of these practices can save up to 10 gallons of water.

Enjoy this holiday with the ones you love and don’t forget to do your part to help protect our environment. For additional information about winter tips to reduce waste and save energy, check out http://www.epa.gov/epahome/hi-winter.htm#reducewaste

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.

Climate for Action: Energy Efficiency

About the author: Ashley Sims, a senior at Indiana University, is a fall intern with EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education through the Washington Leadership Program.

My weekly blog is part of EPA’s campaign to engage middle and high school students in a discussion on global climate change and its effects on children’s health. As mentioned before, it’s my privilege to give students the opportunity to express their own thoughts on this issue. I look forward to hearing your comments. Now let’s get started on this week’s topic – energy efficiency.

Some of you may have heard of the ENERGY STAR label – you can find it on qualified light bulbs, cordless phones, and other electronics. If I may say so myself, ENERGY STAR qualified products are great to have because they use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment and health. The ENERGY STAR label means a product has met the energy-efficient standards set by EPA and the Department of Energy.

We use electricity for lighting, operating appliances, and producing hot and cold water. When coal and other fossil fuels are burned to create electricity, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. In fact, according to the greenhouse gas calculator on the EPA website, the average household of two produces about 16,290 pounds a year of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Did you know that different power plants use different types of fuel, and a power plant that runs on coal gives off more greenhouse gases per unit of electricity than a power plant that uses natural gas? The build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing the climate to change.

It’s really important for us to be energy conscious and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s what you can do –

  • Get involved today and encourage your parents to replace their light bulbs with ones that have the ENERGY STAR label. According to the ENERGY STAR website, if every American home replaced one light with an ENERGY STAR qualified light bulb, the reduction in greenhouse gases would be the same as taking 800,000 cars off the road.
  • Get your parents to take the ENERGY STAR pledge.
  • Check out how you can save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emission in your own room.
  • Join the campaign to create a new climate for action.

And make sure to let me know what you’re doing to save energy.

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.

New Climate for Action: Be an H2O Hero

About the author: Ashley Sims, a senior at Indiana University, is a fall intern with EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education through the Washington Leadership Program.

Last month EPA launched the climate change and children’s health education campaign. In an effort to promote action among middle and high school students, this campaign focuses on daily action steps we can take to address global climate change.

Let’s get started on our weekly discussion. Today, many teenagers brush their teeth or shave while leaving the water on rather than turning it off. This increases energy use and greenhouse gas emissions into our environment. Public water systems require a lot of energy to purify and distribute water to people’s homes. Saving water, particularly hot water, can cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Choosing to turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth or taking a shower instead of a bath, can cut energy use and reduce greenhouse gases. Turning off the water while you brush your teeth can save up to 8 gallons of water each day. The same is true when you wash dishes. If you take a shower instead of a bath, you can save about 50 gallons of water! As you can see, saving water at home is an easy thing to do.

Another thing you can do to conserve water is encourage your parents to inspect your house for leaky faucets or toilets. You could be wasting up to 200 gallons of water each day. I bet this information will motivate your parents to repair any leaks right away! Also, washing your bike or car with a bucket instead of a hose is another way to conserve water.

Remember these tips:

  • Turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Take a shower instead of a bath; doing so can save about 50 gallons of water!
  • Inspect your house for leaky faucets or toilets
  • Use a watering can instead of a hose in the garden.

Let’s do our part for climate change and reduce the energy we use where we live, learn and play! It is good for our health and the health of the planet. And don’t forget to let me know what you do to conserve water.

To learn more information on water usage, visit http://www.epa.gov/watersense/kids/index.htm and http://www.epa.gov/watersense/kids/hose.htm

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.

New Climate for Action: Get Involved and Be a Leader

About the author: Ashley Sims, a senior at Indiana University, is a fall intern with EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education through the Washington Leadership Program.

I remember back when I was in high school and how stressful it was to prepare for college. Filling out college applications, deciding what school I wanted to go to, and keeping up with school work was a lot to manage. My mentors and teachers always recommended that I get involved in extra-curricular activities as a way to prepare me for college. And they were right. Getting involved in school and local organizations allowed me to develop leadership skills that were crucial to my success in college. My friends and I got involved in school organizations that did community service to better ourselves and our community. It is so important to get involved in local groups such as environmental organizations because it shows others your passion and dedication to issues that are essential to your community. You can help create a healthier environment while doing your part for your community. If your community doesn’t already have an environmental organization, get your friends together and create your own.

Become a leader. Take action and motivate others to engage in activities to address climate change and reduce its effects on children’s health. If you are a middle and high school student interested in global climate change, then become a Climate Ambassador. Here is what you need to do:

  • Motivate at least 5 other students to give climate change and children’s health presentations to other students,
  • Get 10 people to Change the World and Take the ENERGY STAR Pledge
  • Motivate your school or school district to take the ENERGY STAR Challenge to improve energy efficiency
  • Recruit at least one leader from your community, school, or other organization to issue a climate change and children’s health proclamation
  • Lead an effort to reduce energy consumption in your school or community and calculate your results

If you’re a leader in climate change, I hope you will share your story so that other students can learn from your example. Please tell us how you are getting your school and/or community to reduce their energy usage. I am excited to hear people’s stories and get new ideas.

For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/climateforaction/lead/become.htm

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.