October is Also Children’s Health Month

In addition to Energy Awareness Month, Children’s Health Month is observed each October. This year’s theme is “Promoting Healthy School Environments.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering webcasts throughout October to raise awareness of protecting children from environmental risks, such as poor indoor air quality, while they are at school. These webcasts begin tomorrow (October 5) with an overview of safe and healthy school environments. Topics of subsequent webcasts include high performance schools, chemical management in schools, and Healthy SEAT, an EPA software tool to help school districts evaluate and manage their facilities for key environmental, safety and health issues.

GLRPPR currently maintains three Topic Hubs related to pollution prevention for schools: Pollution Prevention for Arts Education, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Schools, and Mercury–Schools. “P2 for Arts Education” describes the health and environmental hazards found in art education, including the theatrical arts. Ideas for pollution prevention in the art classroom, including suggestions for alternative, more environmentally-friendly materials and products, are provided. The contents of this Topic Hub are applicable to all educational institutions, including K-12, colleges and universities, and informal education programs. Theater groups may also benefit from the information provided in the Topic Hub. “IPM for Schools” describes the hazards and disadvantages associated with traditional pest management practices, and introduces the concept of IPM as a means to improve the health and safety of all school facilities while preventing waste and pollution. The IPM for Schools Topic Hub is useful for K-12 schools, colleges, universities and day-care facilities. “Mercury–Schools” provides information about the key locations in school facilities where mercury may be found, health hazards associated with mercury exposure, and opportunities to reduce or eliminate mercury in school facilities.

There are several green/sustainable school programs at the state level in our region. In Illinois, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Waste Management and Research Center collaborate on the Greening Schools project, and the project’s web site is a rich resource for those interested in more environmentally-friendly school buildings as well as incorporating pollution prevention concepts into curricula. Wisconsin has a Green and Healthy Schools Program that includes a recognition program. Michigan Healthy Schools, the Pennsylvania Green Government Council’s Green Schools program, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Green Schools! program are other examples. Resources for green school buildings are available in Minnesota and Ohio. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management educates teachers about environmental issues and potential hazards in school buildings through its e-newsletter, The Notepad.

For our colleagues north of the border, the Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (CPPIC) provides pollution prevention lesson plans, tools and pollution prevention plan for the classroom. Look under “Education Programs” on the CPPIC web page for information on other Canadian green/sustainable school programs, including Ontario EcoSchools and the SEEDS Green Schools program.

Continue monitoring this blog for information on other programs and links related to green schools in the U.S. and Canada.

October is Energy Awareness Month

In honor of Energy Awareness Month, during October the GLRPPR Blog will highlight web sites, resources, and organizations pertaining to energy efficiency and alternative/renewable energy.

To kick things off, be sure to check out GLRPPR’s Web Site of the Month for October, the Delta P2E2 Center. The Delta Institute is a non-profit organization located in Chicago, IL that works with businesses, governments and communities to improve environmental quality while promoting community and economic development. The Institute and its partners have developed the Delta P2E2 Center to help promote pollution prevention and energy efficiency measures among manufacturers, local governments, school districts, and civic institutions. The Center provides technical assistance to identify energy efficiency measures to save money and protect the environment. The Center provides a range of financing programs to implement the most promising measures. The Center also buys and sells carbon credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange on behalf of companies, and pools and trades carbon credits generated from carbon sequestration projects on behalf of farmers and landowners.

The web site provides case studies (three are currently available) and publications related to the Center’s P2E2 assistance projects in the Great Lakes region (none available at the time of the writing of this post). Continue to watch this site for further developments. Contact information for partner organizations in both Illinois and Michigan is provided on the web site for those who would like more information.

End of Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS)

Check out the web site for End of Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS). ELVS was created by the automotive industry to promote the industry’s environmental efforts in recyclability, education and outreach, and the proper management of substances of concern. Participating Members of ELVS are: BMW of North America, LLC, DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, International Truck & Engine, Mack Trucks, Inc., Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., Nissan North America, Inc., Subaru of America, Inc., Volkswagen of America, Inc., and Volvo Trucks North America. End of Life Vehicle Solutions manages, on a nationwide basis, programs to collect, transport, retort, recycle, or dispose of elemental mercury from automotive switches.

The ELVS web site provides information on medium and heavy-duty trucks, the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program, educational materials (including videos showing how to remove certain switches from specified vehicles), recycling opportunities via The Environmental Quality Company (EQ), and mercury switch recovery program reporting for various states. An interactive map on the home page allows users to click on states to view regulatory information related to mercury switches for that state.

Discussion Group Pages

One of the outcomes of the GLRPPR Strategic Planning Meeting that was held in February 2006 was the formation of four “discussion groups” for the purpose of networking and facilitation of communication and cooperation among regional organizations. These groups were formed around four topics identified by meeting attendees as subjects of special interest for the region: mercury, energy efficiency, water, and lean and green manufacturing.

GLRPPR administrative staff will assist these groups as needed with the arrangement of conference calls, and facilitation of communication among members of the group and among the groups and the general membership via the maintenance of these web pages and posting or promotion of material via the GLRPPR web site and newsletter. The discussion groups are independent entities/efforts of GLRPPR members—the GLRPPR administrative staff and Steering Committee do not manage these groups or dictate the pollution prevention topics for which GLRPPR members may form groups.

Discussion Group pages are now available on the GLRPPR web site. These pages provide descriptions of these groups and contact information, as well as conference call information and shared documents of interest where appropriate. If you are interested in joining any of these groups, please contact the individual “lead” for that group, identified on the group’s page.

If you are interested in forming an additional discussion group on a topic of regional significance, please contact Bob Iverson.