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 What sustainability topics/issues are you most unclear about and would like more information/education on so you can become a more responsible steward of our planet’s resources?

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Views: 1558


Deshawn Nunez
<p>I believe GSA should innovate or promote more easy ways of green initiative. How about starting at grade schools and make it a project for the students and give off a pizza party or what not for their help. Then take it to High Schools and then Colleges. You got to start small and smart and tip our way to victory!</p>
<p>Hi Deshawn. Keep America Beautiful, among others, has been doing what you suggested in schools for many years. &nbsp;Please contact your local KAB affiliate to see what programs they have in your area and how you can help.</p>
<p>&nbsp; &nbsp;For someone who is new to the &quot;green movement&quot; I think what needs to be made more clear is &quot;What the actual issues are&quot;. From my perspective, the green movement isn&#39;t one to be taken lightly, but isn&#39;t necessarily one that has a strong foundation in our society. Either you&#39;re part of the movement and aware of what the lack of the movement will lead to, or you&#39;re simply not.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp; &nbsp;I don&#39;t believe the ignorance to sustainability is anyone&#39;s fault, but a lack of education thereof. The prompt or question asks,</p><p>&quot;<span style="color: rgb(76, 76, 76); font-family: Arial, 'Arial Unicode MS', Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">What sustainability topics/issues are you most unclear about and&nbsp;would&nbsp;like more information/education on so you can become a more&nbsp;responsible&nbsp;steward of our planet&rsquo;s resources?&quot;.&nbsp;</span></p><p>I believe questions like this, although very necessary, are what scare many &quot;foreigners&quot; away because what is unclear is the movement itself. So maybe the topic/issue that is unclear is: How are we spreading awareness of sustainability in the first place? As stated, there is a fine line between those who are a part of the green movement and there are others who either don&#39;t care due to lack of education, or just don&#39;t know at all.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp; &nbsp;I remember watching videos in science class that would try to inform students about the lifestyle of sustainability but the idea reminds me of the type of field in which one has to continue going to school in order to keep their license. From someone looking through the world of sustainability from the outside it seems as if things are constantly changing: technology, lifestyles, methods. Thus, one would need to keep up with their sustainability information to stay in the loop, no? All in all, there are many great discussion and questions I am sure that benefit our communnities and change the thoughts of many individuals, but personally I don&#39;t see much effort in the educating of someone who is completely new to or out of touch with the world of sustainability; and spreading that awareness can increase the opportunities for becoming a &quot;more responsible steward for our planet&#39;s resources&quot;.&nbsp;</p>
James Schmelzer
<p>PYoo,</p><p>Thank you for your post.</p><p>You commented that &quot;you think what needs to be made more clear is what the actual issues are&quot;.</p><p>This is a great question because sustainability is really not a &quot;green movement&quot; anymore, at least not in government and in corporate America.</p><p>Rather, sustainability is driven by what is called the &quot;triple bottom line&quot; which includes equal consideration for the well being of people, the planet, and profitability in every decision that involves the consumption of natural resources.</p><p>One great example of how this can work is the whole issue of recycling (aka waste diversion). &nbsp;In the Great Lakes Region, GSA has a robust waste diversion program that includes an ongoing educational component to inform people about how much of the things you typically throw away, can be &quot;diverted&quot; from the waste stream and recyled.&nbsp;</p><p>Last year, we saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in landfill fees and diverted thousands of tons from the landfills. &nbsp;So people&#39;s lives were changed, cost savings were realized and the GSA&#39;s environmental impact was reduced. &nbsp;Did someone say &quot;triple bottom line&quot;?</p><p>We also encourage our people to be cognizant of opportunities to make an impact in their personal lives by remembering the 3 &quot;Rs&quot; of recycling: &nbsp;</p><p>Reduce your consumption of disposables if possible. &nbsp;Just saying no to plastic shopping bags is a great place to start your reduction habit.</p><p>Reuse when possible. &nbsp;There are non-profits that collect gently used business and business casual clothing to be given out to people that need professional attire for job interviews. &nbsp;I go through my closet a couple of times a year and if I have something I haven&#39;t worn in 6 months, it goes to a non profit.</p><p>Finally, recycle what you can&#39;t reuse. &nbsp;Many communities don&#39;t have curb side recycling programs because of the cost. &nbsp;This is a great opportunity for students to set the example in their neighborhoods by taking their recycled items to collection centers.</p>
Rebe Stein
<p>We are concerned about the recycling process, We all know what recycle means, but there are different points that we still don&#39;t understand. First, with who do we need to talk to start a recycling program in our communities, other than separating the trash and our containers. Also, how do we really know recycle is a way of helping the environment if even there are different trash cans for different disposals people still mix their trash. Another way to see recycle as a resource of sustainability is the recycle of electronics. On these days our lives are based on electronics and new technology, so how can we recycle them after we are done using them instead of just throwing them out. Also, what is the best way of being sustainable so we pollute less the environment&nbsp;when it comes to buildings operations and constructions for a city or other communities.&nbsp;</p>
James Schmelzer
<p>Rebe,</p><p>I am thrilled that you are interested in starting a recycling program in your communities.</p><p>Here is a great link from the EPA website on your first steps:</p><p><a href="http://www.epa.gov/region4/rcra/mgtoolkit/starting.html">http://www.epa.gov/region4/rcra/mgtoolkit/starting.html</a></p><p>One of the first steps they suggest, is creating a recycling team. &nbsp;Leading or joining your community&#39;s recycling team could be a great opportunity for students to make a difference and develop leadership skills that might help advance your career. &nbsp;Keep in mind that whenever you volunteer and raise your visibility, you may just be making a good and lasting impression on future employers.</p><p>Good luck!</p>
<p>Sustainability in Manufacturing... With so many products produced primarily overseas and in third world countries, I am concerned about the materials and processes involved in making the &quot;green&quot; and sustainable products we find on store shelves here in the US. What regulations and regulatory bodies monitor these processes? How are these standards monitored, what labeling requirements are placed on the products? And what import inspections and restrictions are in place to ensure what&#39;s Sustainable &quot;Here&quot;... was actually Sustainable &quot;There.&quot; &nbsp;Afterall... if we choose to look at a global marketplace, we should also look at a global environment.</p>
James Schmelzer
<p>Jaremis,</p><p>Great question. &nbsp;The integrity of the sustainability of products from cradle to grave is a concern and as you suggest, it is very difficult for consumers to make informed consumer choices.</p><p>Fortunately, there are 3rd party organizations that have developed standards and certifications for many products. &nbsp;Here is a link to some of them that you may find useful.</p><p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability_standards_and_certification">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability_standards_and_certification</a></p>
<p>It would be very helpful if we (and our customers) had some training on how these &quot;Green Initiatives&quot; can be funded.<br />If we are to provide these services it&#39;s important to understand that many of these are long term projects, with fairly long Return On Investment (ROI) timelines. &nbsp;In other words, how to put the ROI calculations together AND convey the long term importance and impact of the project in ways that allow decision makers to support funding such projects as well as where those funds can be sourced from. In the federal government there are thousands of funding activities, many are unknown to those that could use them.<br />With federal government budgets ever tightening, and most funding streams coming in the form of one or two year money (at best) it would be great to be able to provide clear and concise information on how to go about sourcing the funding that fits the project profile. This is even more critical at the state and local government level where funding is almost always annual funding only.<br />Something to ponder!</p><p>Cheers,<br />Ken</p>
<p>I think GSA needs to provide a &quot;Technology CLIN,&quot; for Alliant and Alliant II in planning stages, as it is extremely difficult to anticipate the technology that may be available during a contract that is five years plus 1 five year option long. It is difficult to predict that far out.</p>
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