Environmental Outreach & EducationIDEM Initiatives for Hoosiers Environmental Education Symposium June 26, 2008 Thomas W. Easterly, P.E., BCEE, QEP Commissioner IN Department of Environmental Management
IDEM Mission Statement • IDEM’s mission is to implement federal and state regulations to protect human health and the environment while allowing the environmentally sound operations of industrial, agricultural, commercial and government activities vital to a prosperous economy.
Pilot 2006 & 2008 Environmental Performance Index • Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy • Yale University • Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) • Columbia University • http://www.yale.edu/epi/
“Wealth correlates highly with EPI scores. But at every level of development, some countries achieve results that exceed their income-group peers. Statistical analysis suggests that good governance contributes to better environmental outcomes.”
Healthy Economy = Healthy Environment • Both can exist together • Neither can exist for long without the other • Future generations will need to know how to have that balance • Your role as educators is vital in helping students understand this balance
IDEM’s Performance Metrics • Increase the percentage of Hoosiers that live in counties that meet air quality standards • Increase the percentage of Combined Sewer Overflow Communities with approved programs to prevent the release of untreated sewage • Decrease the permit backlog (decrease the number of days it takes to issue a permit)
So where does Environmental Education fall in IDEM’s Performance Metrics?
It’s necessary in each metric! • We can’t have clean air and water unless everyone (businesses and citizens) takes responsibility for their part • To do this, we all need to understand what we could be doing better • For example, do Hoosiers know what they could be doing in their everyday lives to reduce air emissions? Do they know where the storm drain on their street empties?
Breaking Bad Habits • Currently, we spend a lot of time trying to convince adults to change bad or old habits • It’s much easier though to create good habits in children that last a lifetime
Environmental Education at IDEM • Educates children (starting good habits) and adults (breaking bad habits) • Focuses on Indiana specific environmental issues and priorities • Provides ideas for simple steps anyone can take at home, school, in the car, and at work to make a difference • Draws connections between personal daily choices and how the impact adds up when thousands of other Hoosiers make the same choices
How Is IDEM Protecting Hoosiers and Our Environment through Environmental Education? • Here are just a few ways…
Ozone KnockOut ‘08 • Take the pledge to help your employees reduce ozone • Encourage carpooling • Provide flexible schedules • Install bike racks
Be Air Aware • Provides simple steps to decrease air pollution and protect our health • Saves gas money, too! • Provides tips for your car, home, and work
Pollution isn’t just Rubber Duckies • Provides simple steps to reduce water pollution from households • Addresses contaminants that could flow down storm sewers • Fertilizers, trash, grass clippings, and more • Teaches that pollution from many households adds up fast
Use Your Brain, Don’t Pour it Down the Drain • What happens to things you pour down the drain? Where do they end up? • Provides safer alternatives for disposal of household chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and grease
Earth Day Challenge • IDEM partnered with Region V EPA to promote and help track local collection events for pharmaceuticals and electronic waste • During April, events around the state collected 305 pounds of pharmaceuticals and sharps
Hoosiers Care • Launched at Earth Day ‘08 • 1000 Citizens pledged to take simple steps at home to reduce their impact on the environment • 1000 CFL bulbs were provided • Pledges will also be available at State Fair
Earth Week 2008 • 50 IDEM employees from across the state volunteered • 80 schools participated in Earth Week • 12,180 students participated in the two week event • 1,151 adults participated in the programs
IDEM’s Environmental Education Curriculum • Indiana’s Environment and You is available for educators at no cost • Designed to help students recognize the importance of the environment • Students will gain an understanding of what can be done to improve the quality of our air, land, and water
IDEM Funding • School Recycling Learning Grants • Waste Tire Fund • Recycling Market Development Program • Clean Water Act: Section 319(h) Grants • Pollution Prevention Grants