BeGreen2013This past Friday, January 18th, as the entire city seemed to be preparing for the inauguration, the EPA, Amplify Public Affairs and Green for All co-hosted a captivating panel discussion at EPA Headquarters which marked the commencement of the BeGreen2013 movement.  The BeGreen2013 movement is predicated on the idea that the actions of individuals can be a significant factor in moving towards a healthier environment, and the panelists shared stories about how they have worked to make a difference in their communities by shifting to more sustainable practices and motivating others to do the same.

Moderated by Phaedra Ellis Lamkins, the CEO of Green for All, panelists included EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Captain Planet Chairperson Laura Turner Seydel, Wash Cycle Laundry Founder Gabriel Mandujano, Actor and Environmentalist Lamman Rucker, Greenhouse Foundation co-founder Shedonna Alexander, National Environmental Education Foundation Executive Director Diane Wood, middle school student Lane McClasin and Dr. Ivor Horn of Children’s National Medical Center.

Each panelist shared stories of their experience as a steward for the environment, and illuminated the variety of ways that individuals can make a difference (even if they aren’t the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency!).  The audience heard tales of environmental activism that ranged from starting a laundry service that delivers using bicycles, to pursuing a cleaner aquatic environment through a school project, to founding an environmental education foundation with pop-star brother CeeLo Green, to helping care for disadvantaged asthma patients who are the most vulnerable victims of poor air quality.

The panelists were not the only ones present at the event who will be advocating for more sustainable practices in 2013; each attendee made a pledge to take specific action on behalf of the environment in the coming year.  There were five pledges that attendees could make in order to be green in 2013, which included installing a rain barrel at their home in order to make use of runoff water, getting rid of energy inefficient incandescent light bulbs in favor of LED or CFL alternatives, making use of public transportation and walking rather than using their cars, e-cycling old electronics instead of throwing them in the trash, and organizing a local environmental education event.

The pledges made by the audience members are a great first step in creating an environment where daily decisions are made with sustainability in mind, and the sponsors of the event look forward to continuing the BeGreen2013 effort throughout the year.  At BeGreen2013.com, anyone can pledge to take one of the five environmental actions, as well as monitor the ongoing social media discussion (#BeGreen2013) and join in using Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Be on the lookout for more BeGreen2013 news, and keep everyone up to date on your efforts to live more sustainably using the #BeGreen2013 hash tag!

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