Movement encourages energy-saving tactics

As Earth Day approaches, national, state and local organizations are taking action to support a safer and healthier environment.

For this year’s Earth Day, Florida A&M University’s Environmental Health & Safety Department will support the efforts of several groups including the FAMU Environment & Sustainability Council, The FAMU Green Coalition and Focus the Nation by hosting an event on April 18 at Florida State University for a solutions-oriented, nonpartisan town hall forum on all issues related to energy. This year’s theme is “Seizing the Opportunities of the New Energy Economy Together.”

“This forum is part of a day-long community symposium on developing new energy opportunities that will bring together leaders from the business, academic, and public sectors to address solutions to our energy challenges,” said Ryan Mitchell, senior environmental specialist for the Environmental Health & Safety Department. “We will explore ways we can accelerate the transition to new energy while creating new jobs and spurring investment in new industries.”

Mitchell said he hopes students understand that they are stewards of their environment.

“We have the responsibility of ensuring that our resources are well managed, pollution is minimized, our kids are raised with a sense of environmental responsibility, and our decision makers act appropriately in making the choices we want and need to ensure a sustainable future for our children’s children,” Mitchell said.

Doug Tobin, press secretary for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, agreed.

“We hope that people learn about environmental protection, conservation and stewardship,”  he said.  “Being a good steward of our environment can be as easy as picking up trash around campus or recycling the soda can in the recycling bin instead of throwing it away in the garbage.”

According to Tobin, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Education will be partnering to celebrate the 39th celebration of Earth Day at the Capitol, along with Gov. Charlie Crist and 1,000 students on April 22. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Green Schools: Creating Healthy, Efficient, and Productive Learning Environments.”

With  events occurring around the country, many may wonder if people are actually getting the message about protecting our environment. According to experts, the answer is yes.

“There is a strong interest in protecting the environment,” said Melissa Tobin, communications manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Mitchell agreed.

“Just last month I accompanied the FAMU Green Coalition on a trip to the nation’s Capitol,” Mitchell said.  Twelve thousand young people braving the inclement snowstorms definitely indicate to me that we’re very serious about energy and environmental issues.”

With the help of the media, people are becoming more aware of effects man has on the environment.

“The movement is global,” Mitchell said.  “If there’s anyone who hasn’t noticed, they need to wake up and smell the pollution. Then do something about it.”