Pick 5 for the Environment

Pick 5 for the Environment Logo (not available as of 2014)Pick 5 for the Environment is an international initiative from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of State. I heard about it while watching the BeGreen2013 – National Summit on Environmental Education and Sustainability, so went to the U.S. EPA Pick 5 website to check it out.

Pick 5 Initiative

Pick 5 was introduced several years ago via a U.S. EPA news release dated 04/22/09.

“As part of its Earth Month outreach efforts, EPA today launched ‘Pick 5 for the Environment,’ encouraging the public to commit to taking at least five actions to protect the environment. Pick 5 helps people identify ways they can protect their environment and makes use of social media sites to allow them to share their tips and stories.”

In a short video, Leilani Munter, an American race car driver, said to offset her carbon footprint she adopts an acre of rain forest for each race. Wonder how that pencils out. At least she’s taking responsibility for her choice of profession.

The It’s My Environment video is a collection of video snippets from all around the world showing people taking Pick 5 actions. It was fun to watch.

The Pick 5 actions are still relevant today. Visitors to the Pick 5 website are encouraged to learn about potential actions, pick 5, make a pledge via email, and share their story.

Water

  • Use only the water you need, and reuse when possible.
  • Help keep water clean by using biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  • Dispose of solid and liquid wastes and medications safely.
  • Protect your local water source from pollutants, excess pesticides and garbage.

Air

  • Use human powered modes of transportation to get from place to place!
  • Pass on gas! Take public transportation, carpool, and plan your day to reduce trips and vehicle emissions.
  • Make sure your home’s air is healthy.
  • Buy locally, or grow your own!
  • Reduce your potential for exposure to mercury.
  • Plant a tree. Or plant many trees!
  • Prevent additional air pollution by finding alternatives to burning your waste.

Land

  • Use pesticides safely!
  • Learn about composting, try it out!
  • Learn about ‘Greenscaping’!
  • Learn about the native species and the negative effects of non native plants and animals in the environment.

Energy

  • Save energy at home.
  • Go renewable! Create your own power from wind, the sun, water, or biofuels.
  • Find alternate ways to reduce use of diesel and other fuels for transportation, production and energy.
  • Find out how much of your home’s energy is supplied by renewable sources, seek to increase it.

Waste

  • Reduce.
  • Reuse. Upcycle! Take something that is disposable and transform it into something of greater use and value.
  • Recycle metals, plastics and paper.
  • E-cycle.
  • Don’t litter! Properly dispose of trash and waste.
  • When purchasing goods, opt for sustainable, recycled or reused resources. Choose items in less packaging.

Advocacy

  • Participate in a local environmental festival or event.
  • Organize a local event!
  • Establish a Green Award program in your community.
  • Talk to a friend about Pick 5!
  • Find a ‘Green Mate’ across the globe, double up to make a difference.
  • Share your commitment on social networking sites.
  • Join or start a green club in your community.
  • Bring environmental education to your local schools and community.
  • Raise Awareness!

My Pick 5 for 2013

Rather than select actions we are already doing (which we’ll continue doing anyway), I decided to select 5 new actions to take for 2013.

  1. Help keep water clean by using biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning products. I’ve wanted to learn more about eco-cleaning products. No time like the present.
  2. Learn about the native species and the negative effects of non native plants and animals in the environment. We live in a Monterey Pine forest with limited water. We don’t irrigate our yard so I’d like to learn about native plants that require no irrigation and invasive plants to keep an eye out for.
  3. Go renewable! Create your own power from wind, the sun, water, or biofuels. Late last year, we decided to put solar panels on the roof of our house. They are being installed next month so I think it’s fair to count this action for 2013.
  4. E-cycle. Although our farmer’s market provides a monthly e-cycling program, we have yet to take our collection of old electronic equipment. This is the year.
  5. Share your commitment on social networking sites. I started on this one by signing up for a Twitter account and started tweeting @unlikelyenviro.

Consider visiting the Pick 5 website and picking your own 5 actions for 2013.

Related Posts: BeGreen2013 — National Summit on Environmental Education and Sustainability

Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information, spark conversation, and convince people to take action to keep earth habitable for all. She believes our individual actions do matter—it all adds up.

1 thought on “Pick 5 for the Environment”

  1. Okay, so some of this stuff I’ve been doing for a long time…
    Like:
    “Dispose of solid and liquid wastes and medications safely.”
    Since the (my) first “hazardous waste roundup” in LA county (1990ish?)… every single bit of all of my personal oil/paint/antifreeze/e-waste etc. I’ve collected and routinely brought to these events for proper recycling.

    But others I’ve just started to scratch the surface:
    “Buy locally, or grow your own!”
    Beer… from about 25 miles away, CSA provides local grown produce. Farmer’s market is a weekly event and despite convenience/cost I try to buy as much as possible from local sources.

    “Learn about the native species and the negative effects of non native plants and animals in the environment.”

    Okay, so we bid on a “native plant consultation” from a local botanist at the last Bioneers conference and won the silent auction. So coming soon!

    “Go renewable! Create your own power from wind, the sun, water, or biofuels.”

    Within a few weeks our PV roof-top system should be providing pretty much all our home electrical energy usage. (With extra capacity to charge our “future” electric car.)

    “When purchasing goods, opt for sustainable, recycled or reused resources. Choose items in less packaging.”

    Our local New Frontiers market sells tons of stuff in bulk. Beans, pasta, spices… etc. I’m really trying to stop buying stuff in complex, heavy packaging. Cans bottles, bags. Why?

    “Participate in a local environmental festival or event.”
    Bioneers 2013. Have plans to participate and bring others to this event.
    So parents, siblings, others reading this! Come to visit in late Oct. and we’ll help arrange for all to attend. You will not leave unchanged… uninspired!

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