Planning for Earth Day 2018: What's On Your Agenda?


By Jay Brakensiek, CSP, Environmental Practice Specialty Administrator

Earth Day is April 22. That’s just more than 2 months away. This is a good time to consider and organize your Earth Day activities. Many communities, colleges and schools will host an Earth Day event. If no events are occurring in your area, consider organizing one. This is a great way to help the environment and build awareness of ASSE’s Environmental Practice Specialty.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Organize a community clean-up of a stream, lake park or other local area.
  • Participate with an ASSE Environmental Practice Specialty booth at your community event.
  • Deliver a talk on an environmental issue at a local school.
  • Set up a discussion forum on an environmental topic in your community.
  • Do an interview with your local newspaper.

Environmental Issues of Concern

What issues are Americans concerned about and where do environmental issues rank in that mix? A review of the 2018 data from the Pew Research Center shows that the environment ranks 7 out of 19 and climate change ranks 18 out of 19. It is important to understand the public awareness and overall context of where these two topics place and what those of us who focus on the environment can do to raise public awareness. On a positive note, the environment continues to hold its place on the Top 20 list. 

What environmental issues pose the greatest risk to public health? According to a Yale/Columbia study in 2018, air quality is the greatest worldwide public health risk with ecosystem vitality a close second. In Southern California, despite extensive pollution controls on both stationary emission sources and vehicles, the area continues be a nonattainment location for multiple EPA criterial pollutants including PM 2.5, lead and 8-hour ozone, although major and visible improvements have been made in air quality in the last 3 decades. Other areas of the country will have unique environmental priorities with water quality, ocean pollution, fracking waste, climate change and community exposure to high volumes of hazardous industrial chemicals among continuing concerns. 

Earth Day offers a chance to positively influence public awareness of key environmental issues. Consider obtaining sponsorship from a local merchant interested in the environment. Whatever you choose to do, please note at the activity that you are a member of ASSE’s Environmental Practice Specialty and consider documenting your activity to share with other members.


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