This year’s allergy seasons was exceptionally hard on my family. They have been suffering since February – that’s early! – with sneezing, watery eyes, exacerbated Eczema, post nasal drip … you name it, they’ve had them. I was wondering if the mild winter we had had anything to do with it and sure enough, Rutgers University published a report saying that allergy season started early this year and it was because of the climate change. Rutgers University has been working with the Environmental Protection Agency on “Climate Change and Allergies” and they found a direct correlation between the two.
We know climate change affects our weather but I didn’t think to connect it to allergies!
So when I heard that EPA introduced a new program called ENERGY STAR team to educate kids about climate change, I was intrigued. After all, after I am long gone, my kids will have to deal with the climate and their health will be directly affected by it, as they already have experienced.
What is Team ENERGY STAR?
Team ENERGY STAR, which launched on June 5, is a new, exciting initiative from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, developed to engage and educate American youth and their families about saving energy in the home. You might already know their stickers that come with the newest appliances but this new program called, Team ENERGY STAR empowers kids to help protect the climate through easy-to-implement, money-saving actions and provides them an outlet for sharing their passion for preserving our environment. And, with Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax as the engaging theme for Team ENERGY STAR, kids can learn and have fun at the same time.
Kids can join Team ENERGY STAR by visiting energystar.gov where they will get easy-to-download educational and interactive materials, such as a comprehensive Action Kit, the ENERGY STAR Home Check-Up, a Lorax activity booklet and a Lorax mustache-making kit. Kids are also encouraged to come back and share their stories about protecting the environment by saving energy, which will be showcased on energystar.gov/changetheworld and throughout social media.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Do Something (one of the largest organizations in the U.S. for teens and social change) have joined EPA in this effort by running their own Team ENERGY STAR Challenges. More than 150 Boys & Girls Clubs have signed on to participate and win prizes donated by Samsung Electronics. Prizes for Do Something’s Challenge have been donated by LG Electronics.
What does being part of the team ENERGY STAR mean?
- You can take steps to reduce your energy use at home.
- Help your family and friend save energy
- Encourage your family and friends to take the ENERGY STAR Pledge
- Inspire others by sharing your story.
Eaay peasy, right?
What is saving energy got to do with climate change?
About 70 percent of the electricity we use comes from power plants burning fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels causes greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change – a real and urgent challenge affecting people and the environment, worldwide. Using energy-efficient products and practices reduces the amount of carbon pollution added to the atmosphere and can lessen the effects of climate change.
Saving energy not only help with climate change but it saves YOU money too! So why wouldn’t you want to save energy? The way I see it, helping climate change is an added bonus!
How can climate change impact our health?
The Earth’s climate is changing in ways that can have serious consequences for public health. Climate change will likely increase the number of people suffering from illness and injury due to more pollution, extreme heat, floods, storms, droughts and fires as well as allergies and infectious disease. The elderly, the very young, the disabled, and the poor alone are especially vulnerable, as are people with heart disease or asthma. Climate change is also expected to cause more severe allergy symptoms because a warmer climate promotes the growth of molds, weeds, grasses and trees that cause allergic reactions.
And as I said before, we are already witnessing some of these phenomenons, right here, right now!
Need more facts?
- The average house is responsible for more than 25,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, about twice as much as the average car.
- Electricity demand for U.S. homes is expected to climb by as much as 18 percent by 2035.
- The typical household spends more than $2,100 per year on energy bills. With ENERGY STAR, you can save over one-third, or more than $700 on your household energy bills.
- If every American household took the actions found in the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR Pledge, we would save more than126 billion KWh/year of electricity and save $18 billion in annual energy costs. We would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 20 million cars.
- This year, EPA is proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ENERGY STAR program. For two decades, ENERGY STAR has helped millions of Americans and thousands of businesses save energy, save money and protect the climate.
- Today, ENERGY STAR is one of the most well-known brands in the country, with over 80% of Americans recognizing it as the symbol of superior energy efficiency.
So would you join me and take the ENERGY STAR pledge?
Take the ENERGY STAR Pledge and join 2.8 million other Americans who are taking action to protect the climate. If every American household took part in the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR Pledge, we would: save more than 126 billion KWh/yr of electricity, save $18 billion in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 20 million cars.
More importantly, teach your kids – of ALL ages – and get them involved about saving energy.
Their future is at stake.