One of my favorite parts of my job is having the opportunity to meet young people from across the country.
Recently, I met with 15 Girl Scouts from DC, Virginia, and Maryland at EPA headquarters to talk about environmental careers. The thing I noticed when I spoke with the Girl Scouts was how knowledgeable they were about what is going on with the environment in their communities. They were passionate about protecting the environment, as evidenced by the numerous environmental patches they wore proudly on their uniforms; they are the next generation of environmental leaders. The Girl Scouts asked great questions, from what action they can take on climate change to what types of careers EPA offers to geoengineers.
It’s clear that we have amazing and dedicated troop leaders, environmental educators, teachers, and parents to thank. These role models share their love and care about the environment with these young people. Environmental education is essential to building long-term stewardship of our environment.
We all need clean air and water to live, and we all have a moral responsibility to future generations who will depend on our natural resources. That’s why environmental education is vital to the mission we have at the EPA. As we strive to protect human health and the environment, it is important for us to educate and connect people to the natural world around them, protecting this place we all call home.
Environmental education is a process that allows individuals to explore environmental issues, create unique learning experiences and develop critical thinking skills necessary to build stronger communities where people work together to address challenges. Our agency provides dependable scientific information and resources that educators can rely on to provide quality education.
This week, April 13th through the 19th is National Environmental Education Week.
Since 2005, the National Environmental Education Foundation has worked with EPA to reach hundreds of thousands of students and educators by creating educational materials and activities grounded in science that are tied to state and national learning standards.
I was inspired by the Girl Scouts and their passion for our environment. Let’s encourage young people across the nation to learn something new about local ecosystems and find out how they can take action in their communities to protect our natural resources. National Environmental Education Week is the perfect time to take that opportunity.
For more information about environmental education, visit http://www.epa.gov/education. For more information on National Environmental Education Week, how to connect with environmental educators in your area, or to sign up to get involved with local activities, visit: www.eeweek.org.
Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.
Photo: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy with the Girl Scouts of America