My name is Lauren Reilly. I will graduate in May from the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Environmental Science and Policy, as well as a Minor in Leadership. By working part-time at the College of Marine Science, I was empowered to do research on the BP oil spill. I am also a volunteer with the Pinellas County Extension Program on Sustainable Living.
Last week I was in Honolulu, Hawaii presenting my research poster at the Ocean Sciences Meeting. Observing how the island functions made me think a lot about St. Petersburg and what it has been like to grow up in Pinellas County. In Oahu, many buildings such as the mall and convention center are actually a covered outside area and the stores and rooms are inside with air conditioning. When I first walked “in” to the convention center, I had no idea I was outside until I walked to the end of the hall to make a phone call. Walking around I smiled thinking about how great of an idea this is to conserve energy and take advantage of the awesome Hawaiian weather. Of course this isn’t ideal for a Florida city, but it made me think about things that would work in Florida.
There are two inspired ideas in Pinellas County that need support; the Greenlight Pinellas Plan to build a light rail system for Pinellas and Universal Curbside Recycling in St. Petersburg. These are two great first steps to having sustainability be more than a choice of a reusable cup and remembering to turn off lights. It excites me that proactive steps are being taken toward making sustainable living easier for people. I can’t wait for future sustainable ideas!
Greenlight Pinellas ( http://greenlightpinellas.com/)
Pinellas County Recycling (http://www.pinellascounty.org/utilitieS/recycling-directory/index.htm)