Earth Day is an annual event that offers time to reflect on the efforts made to preserve and protect the natural environment across the planet. Even with the disruptions caused by COVID-19, it is still possible to honor Earth Day’s values and appreciate the hard work of those committed to helping the environment. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton’s Environmental Security Department’s work across the installation stays true to Earth Day’s tradition of environmental preservation.
To help fight the spread of COVID-19, all Earth Day events on and off base have been canceled. The Environmental Security Department encourages those who wish to participate in digital Earth Day activities to visit: http://www.earthday.org. From there, participants can custom search for online Earth Day events covering a wide array of interests related to Earth Day.
“Hazardous waste sites are still being managed. We work with the G-4 making sure there are enough waste drums for the units.” Gabriel Goodman, Camp Pendleton’s pollution prevention manager
The efforts being made by the Environmental Security Department for Earth Day and beyond cover a wide range of habitat and wildlife preservation. Working with the U.S. Geological Survey to collect data on animals and hiring contractors to perform habitat enhancement projects are just some examples of the work performed to protect the environment. However, this is also a challenge amid COVID-19.
Flattening the curve for COVID-19 is a top priority for the installation and personnel. Social distancing, protective equipment, and teleworking are ways to help slow the spread, and the base Environmental Security Department continues to complete its mission despite the challenges.
Gabriel Goodman, Camp Pendleton’s pollution prevention manager with the Environmental Security Department, stated that teleworking and social distancing is a must for their team. While helping to slow the spread, the department is able to do most of its work from home. This work includes the reporting of the inventory of hazardous and toxic materials to the Environmental Protection Agency. They also continue to coordinate with the Navy, Water Resources, and appropriate agencies to collect information. Through this data, the Environmental Security Department can maintain a clean environment aboard Camp Pendleton.
“Hazardous waste sites are still being managed,” said Goodman. “We work with the G-4 making sure there are enough waste drums for the units. We are still making sure we have people available…most contractor work is shut down except for a few, like hazardous waste.”
The department’s effort to keep the installation’s environment clean is a continuous effort. Even when working within guidelines that help to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Environmental Security Department is able to protect our natural ecosystem.
“The mission does not change, only how we perform that mission,” said Goodman. “We adapt and overcome while abiding by the Californian guidelines of social distancing and staying at home as much as possible. Only mission essential personnel are coming on the base right now.”