Thursday, July 1, 2010

Environmental Education is Key To Avoiding Disaster

I’ve joined a group of concerned environmentalists against drilling the Marcellus Shale, a rock layer found in New York, Pennsylvania and the southern Appalachian states, for natural gas. Sure, it could meet the nation's natural gas needs for more than two years. But this drilling technique, called "hydrofracking," also releases toxins including suspected cancer-causing compounds. And the U.S. Department of Energy lists produced water from gas drilling as among the most toxic of any oil industry byproduct. (Watch the film Gasland to find out more.)

Last week, John Bianchi, a reporter with World Journalism Institute Times Observer, contacted me for a quote on the BP oil disaster. I was glad to talk to him because in a way, drilling oil is like hydrofracking. If it’s done right, it shouldn’t cause any problems. But we can see where that logic has gotten us.

See below for the Bianchi’s article and video. It sums up the work of Beczak Environmental Education Center—to ensure the next generation will be more knowledgeable and more questioning before they sell nature.

Clifford Schneider, Executive Director

Environmental Education is Key To Avoiding Disaster
John Bianchi

Education is the key to success. For Beczak, a small non-profit environmental education center, education is the key to training future advocates of environmental issues. Crises, much like the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico can be avoided if future citizens and leaders are educated in ways to keep our planet healthy and safe.

“We do interactive hands on training about the environment,” Cliff Schneider, Director of Beczak said, “We train the future advocates of the environment.” Beczak’s mission is clear. It is important to inform young students about tough environmental issues in order to preserve and restore our environment.

With numerous programs targeted at younger students, Beczak aims to cultivate a generation of involved citizens. As we near almost two months of oil gushing into the Gulf many species are endangered and people search for answers. Beczak helps to provide those answers and teach people how to avoid future environmental disasters.

Beczak seeks to educate children through programs designed to inform through fun interactive learning. Hands on nature programs include ‘River Explorers’ which throughout the summer months encourage children to learn about their environment. These programs are specifically targeted at learning about the eco-system native to the lower Hudson valley but also target a broader range of environmental issues.

Children are encouraged to keep their surroundings clean and safe. Limiting pollution and understanding the dangers of littering are key components of preserving our planet. In time and with the dedicated efforts of centers like Beczak we can begin to restore our planet.

Many have compared this oil spill to the Exxon-Valdez tanker explosion. “I think it’s much bigger,” Schneider said, “It will have much broader impact.” The amount of oil pouring into the gulf will potentially damage ecosystems for hundreds of years to come.

With recent estimates of nearly 60,000 gallons a day of oil spilling into gulf stream waters, this current oil spill crises will have a massive impact on the ecosystem and our environment in years to come. “Hopefully we’ll be able to train more engineers, more scientists, more teachers, more investment brokers,” Schneider said, “So that they know the role of the environment. The crisis in the Gulf of Mexico concerning the BP oil spill has less to do with individuals trying to actively destroy the environment and more to do with simple negligence. Of course, this type of behavior can be just as devastating.

“What people need to know is that it is an eco-system,” Schneider said, “We all have a role to play.” Americans must keep this fact in mind when deciding tough environmental issues in the future. To ensure that our environment is livable and safe, we must take care of our planet and encourage our political and business leaders to take an active role in preserving our planet.