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Be Inspiring

July 27, 2009

A lot of people are becoming more aware of their “footprint” on our environment, including teens. In fact, many teens around the world are actually doing something about their concern for the environment. Last week Action for Nature announced the 2009 winners of their International Young Eco-hero Award. I went to and clicked on the link about the winners. Wow! Did I find some interesting teens!

Take Otana Jakpor, for instance. She won first place. She’s 15 and lives in California, and her mom suffers from severe asthma. After reading an article in Consumer Reports, she decided to do something about the surprising information she read—that some air cleaner machines actually emit high amounts of ozone that’s harmful to breathe. She decided to experiment to find the truth.

She says, “I designed, coordinated, and implemented eight experiments over two years to test my hypothesis that ozone-generating air purifiers and other ozone-generating household devices would have a negative effect on pulmonary function, especially in people with asthma and allergies.”

Here’s what she found: some of the air purifiers produced 15 times more ozone than is produced in a Stage 3 smog alert!

Since then Otana has testified at a public hearing before the California Air Resources Board, written letters to the federal government, and met with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency. She’s even become a spokesperson for the American Lung Association and spoken to hundreds of students and at environmental conferences.

In May 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives honored Otana for all she’s done. And, her findings were considered as the California Air Resources Board adopted a regulation that limits ozone emissions from air purifiers, making it the first state to regulate ozone generators.

Otana’s not through yet. Now she’s researching water pollution and scarcity.

Otana is simply inspiring. She’s not just letting things happen, she’s making things happen—for the better. Take some time today to dream about what you’d like to change in your life. Think broadly—what would you love to see change about what’s going on in your home? With your friends? At your school?  Within your youth group? Then link up with God through prayer and ask Him to show you how He can help you make that happen—if it’s a small change for the better.

I challenge you with God’s help to be like Otana: be inspiring and inspire others.

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