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Posts Tagged ‘Earth Day’

Happy Earth Day! Today is a day to promote awareness and action about the many issues plaguing our environment. Throughout history, women have taken a special interest in environmental issues because of their roles as caregivers for the next generation (and let’s face it, because of their common sense). From ecologist and writer Rachel Carson to past Women of Distinction such as National Park Service trailblazer Lorraine Mintzmyer and urban sustainability pioneer Majora Carter, women have long been leaders of the environmental movement.

Recently, a group of “mommy bloggers” have joined this tradition of activism, banding together for an issue that is important to their children’s future well-being: clean air. Moms Clean Air Force is a community blog that raises awareness about the need for clean air regulations, especially for children and future generations, and provides guidance on how to take action.

The group’s biggest issue right now is rallying support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s newly introduced mercury and toxic air standards, the first-ever national policy created to reduce mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants. The policy is still being finalized, but because Moms Clear Air Force recognizes the danger that mercury poses to young children, the motherly activists are spearheading a movement to keep these standards strong.

Today, AAUW celebrates the women leaders of the environmental movement. And attendees of the 2011 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders will be applauding  another woman environmentalist this summer when they see EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson honored as a Woman of Distinction on June 2.

What environmental issues are you concerned about in your own community, as a parent or not?

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Fellow Jessica Kelly.

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Last weekend at the AAUW of Florida state convention in Gainesville, more than 30 AAUW women built green homes with nontraditional materials. Graham crackers with frosting mortar formed the main structure, green sprinkles stood in for native plants on a green roof, and a stack of small marshmallows on a toothpick represented a cistern to catch storm water. Others placed solar panels on the roof or built native plants in the yard with toothpicks and gum drops.

Anyone can do hands-on activities like these with girls to show them how much fun science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can be. The aim is to expand girls’ minds about science and engage them in designing and creating an edible green home. The parts may be edible, but the concepts are sound: in the course of the fun activity, girls learn about the science and engineering that go into building a green home, as well as principles of water and energy conservation. In Gainesville, the ladies took it one step further and discussed hosting a green conference for girls to encourage them to care for our environment.

Activities like the workshop in Gainesville are essential for spreading the message to young girls that STEM is a viable career path. Out of the more than 3.25 million Americans employed in math and computer science, only 27 percent are women (U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the U.S., 2007). We need more women in STEM fields, and you can make a difference. The most important thing you can do is spread the message that STEM is fun and that it provides opportunities for ingenuity, invention, and innovation — exciting, coolstuff that can transform life as we know it. Start early by encouraging the girls in your life to do puzzles, play with Legos, or take things apart and put them back together again. Plan a trip to the science museum, talk about how things work, and encourage participation in science fairs. Parent and adult encouragement really works, and Earth Day is a great time to show girls how much fun science and math can be.

This post was written by Jennifer McDaniel, AAUW National Girls Collaborative Project South Atlantic regional liaison to the Florida Girls Collaborative Project.

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