The state of our environment plays a major role in the health of our citizens and the American economy. Some of our natural resources are being endangered by air, land, and water pollution; encroachments on open spaces; and threats to biodiversity. The use of nonrenewable energy sources for residential and transportation purposes also factors into many environmental concerns, as our nation seeks to reduce its dependence on those resources in the future.
There are a number of steps people can take to counteract current negative environmental trends, many of which can save them money, improve their health, and positively affect the overall economy.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will partner with community organizations and the national service network to mobilize citizens and volunteers to promote environmental stewardship. Through national service, we can train our youth and unemployed and underemployed citizens for conservation and “green” jobs, reconnect Americans to the outdoors, build an ethic of environmental stewardship, and support successful science-based conservation strategies.
During the next five years, we will use service to increase energy and water efficiency, increase renewable energy use, improve at-risk ecosystems, and support positive environmental behavioral changes, particularly for economically disadvantaged households and communities.
We will prioritize funding and support projects engaged in:
- construction or physical improvements related to energy and water performance in economically disadvantaged communities,
- direct, sustained recycling and waste treatment activities,
- improvements of at-risk public lands or waterways (beyond general cleanup),
- creating awareness among economically disadvantaged communities of personal actions to benefit energy and water conservation/efficiency and solid waste recycling, and
- formal and informal green job training for economically disadvantaged people.