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Topics in Environmental Health

Seminar Leader:
Marilyn Howarth


Where we live impacts our health. In Philadelphia, air pollution causes heart attacks and asthma, our rivers are too polluted to swim in and more than 1000 children are lead-poisoned every year. By 2050, parts of Philadelphia where people now live are projected to be regularly under water due to climate change. In order to live safely and participate in the political process to improve the environmental health in communities, citizens need actionable information as part of their education. In this seminar, we explored four areas of risk to our environmental health: climate change, air quality, water quality, and lead exposure. They were presented in a sequential way so that participants can focus on one topic at a time and develop a unit of study focusing on one topic or several. We linked students to resources and experts for curriculum building and sources to bring into the classroom for demonstration and enrichment. Strategies for effective communication with City Council members, Department of Environmental Protection regulators and legislators were included.

Unit TitleAuthor


What Happens After the Water Leaves the Sky?

Aisha Kittrell
Keywords: hydrologic cycle, run-off, storm drain, stormwater, the water cycle, water filtration, water pollution, water quality

The Power of Environmental Monitoring

Anna Herman
Keywords: air quality, environmental advocacy, environmental justice, environmental monitoring, green stormwater infrastructure, lead, soil contamination, soil health, urban gardening, water quality, youth environmental justice

Environmental Health in the Classroom

Kimberly Sweeney
Keywords: conservation, contamination, plastic pollution, water cycle, water pollution

Humans and the Environment: How Water Pollution and Littering Affect Health

Chelsea Maher
Keywords: engineering, environment, Health, littering, pollution, urban, water, waterways, world

Freshwater In Our World: Philadelphia’s Freshwater Supply and the Role We Each Play in its Future

Phyllis Hurwitz
Keywords: climate change, distribution of water, hydrologic cycle, impermeable sources, philadelphia middle school science, urban watershed, water, water pollution

Where Does Our Water Come From?

David White
Keywords: water, water cycle, water filtration, water pollution, Watershed