My name is Emma Goetzinger, and I am a sophomore. I am planning to declare a major in public health following the B.S. track and a minor in biology. I am connecting my CSLP credit to my environmental health class, and I am working with Green America. As soon as I saw that Green America was on the list of organizations that students frequently work with as part of the CSLP program and read the description, I knew that it was going to be an organization that I would be interested in. The mission of Green America is to work with the economic power and influence of consumers, investors, business, and the marketplace in order to create a just environmentally sustainable society. Green America works towards making sure that everyone in the world has access to adequate resources and has the ability to live in an environment that is healthy, clean and safe, as well as ensuring that Earth’s resources will be preserved for generations to come.
Green America’s work is focused on six main areas, which include climate, food, finance, labor, social justice and green living. Since food sustainability and access to safe and healthy food are both environmental health issues that I am interested in and that we have discussed in class, I chose to do work relating to the food area. Within the area of food, Green America concentrates on GMOs, the overuse of fertilizers and other chemicals, and the encouragement of sustainable agriculture. For example, Green America has conducted extensive research regarding multiple concerns with GMOs such as the lack of proper regulation and the development of “superweeds” and pests that are resistant to chemicals. I recently completed my first project while working with Green America, which was to create a milk map. The purpose of this milk map was to encourage Starbucks to begin offering organic milk by showing all of the other coffee chains and independent coffee shops across the country that already do so. First, I collected data and information about which coffee shops in areas around the country currently offer organic milk. Then, I organized the information into an online directory and created the actual map showing where all of the coffee shops are located. This took a while to finish, since I had to contact many of the coffee shops individually to ask them about what milk they offered.
Working with Green America has been an extremely positive and enriching experience, and I am looking forward to receiving instructions about my next project later this week. It has been a great way to get more involved in my community as well as the environmental movement, and through my work I’ve realized just how interested in environmental health I am. Many of the areas that Green America focuses on, such as climate change, food and green living are also focuses of the environmental health field. Volunteering with an organization that researches and investigates many of the same things that I have been learning about in class has really deepened my understanding of the subject of environmental health. I feel as though the work that I’ve been doing is actually meaningful, as the health of our environment impacts us all. This makes me excited to continue working with Green America, even after the CSLP program has ended. Through this experience, I’ve definitely grown more comfortable reaching out to new people, as that was something I had to do to get this opportunity to begin with and while collecting information to use in my map. This will be an important skill that I will be able to continue to use throughout college and beyond.