In an office lined with miniature trees sits an environmental engineer, known for her passion and expertise. Earth Day is Angela’s favorite time of the year, a chance for her to connect with a group that’s so hopeful and sincere. This group is filled with folks around four feet in height, who have wide-open eyes, witnessing a world filled with light. Just like the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, these little kids truly care that our grass remains green and pollution stays out of our water and air.
Angela Fisher is an environmental engineer in the Environmental Technology Lab at Global Research where she works on the ecoassessment center of excellence team. The team focuses on GE’s environmental initiatives. Each year on Earth Day, she makes it her personal mission to share her environmental expertise andpassion for the environment with a group of elementary school children whom she describes as optimistic, innocent and enthusiastic.
Angela kicks off the annual day reading a story to the kids. She often selects one of her favorites, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. In the book, the Lorax (the tree hugger) leaves the Once-ler (the tree mugger) with a stone inscribed with the word, “unless.”
After years of pondering the meaning behind this simple word, the Once-ler finally understood it when a young boy came to plant a tree in the severely polluted environment that was once a beautiful, pristine valley. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” the Once-ler told the boy.
Angela said she felt energized after spending her day with young, first-grade minds who really care about the environment and left the school that day feeling confident that this generation will take a stand for our planet.
Throughout the day, Angela and the kids brainstormed things they could do, such as reusing the other side of a paper when drawing a picture and turning off the overhead lights, leaving a just a tiny nightlight on when going bed. “These are their ideas. I give them some starting points, and then they just keep feeding off of each other,” Angela said.
The little Loraxes really impressed Angela when they started talking about the topic of endangered species. The kids knew about the California condor and how there are so few left in the wild and how polar bears’ habitats are shrinking.
A highlight of Angela’s day came when they were discussing recycling. “I said to them, what happens to a piece of paper when you recycle it?” “Well it becomes a new piece of paper,” they replied. “And what happens when that piece is recycled?” Angela asked. “It just keeps becoming new and new paper every time!” “They’re so smart. They get it,” Angela said.
Not only does Angela “speak for the trees,” she acts for them too. “With a family of four (two being young children) we committed to creating less waste by downsizing to a little trashcan for our household. The kids understand that trash doesn’t just disappear once you throw it away!”
The family has four times the amount of recycling as they do trash each week. They reduce or reuse as much as possible and maintain a compost pile for their fruit peels, veggie scraps, and coffee grounds. As a family, they consciously strive to ‘tread lightly’ on their journey through life.
Back at the Research Center, her passion and commitment radiates down the halls where she evaluates the way GE creates, uses and disposes of products and finds ways to minimize resource consumption and environmental emissions to our planet. But whether at work, in a classroom or at home, she embodies the message that if we all think and act in a conscious way, and everyone speaks for the trees, our planet can be the healthy place it is intended to be.