One of the themes of the SXSW Eco Conference, so far, is about creating new norms and changing mindsets. This topic was again a key focus of a panel hosted by New York Times eco-blogger Andrew Revkin that featured Dr. Howard Koh from Health and Human Services and Bob Perciasepe from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Both representatives from the government said the effort to educate kids about sustainability and public health is incredibly important. Some of those efforts include healthier meal options at school and teaching children about recycling. Perciasepe said he believes the full potential of recycling, in particular, has not yet been tapped. He said maximizing the role of recycling can play an enormous role in community health in the future.
Both Dr. Koh and Perciasepe also mentioned recent smoking bans as an example of changing mindsets and improving public health. Thirty years ago, the norm was public spaces, particularly enclosed public spaces like meeting rooms, would have been filled with smoke. These days, it’s hard to even find a bar that allows smoking. Perciasepe also said the debate over second-hand smoke is a sterling example of trusting science for the public good.