Green Cleaning Teen

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“Going green” on St. Patrick’s Day usually means expressing a love of the Irish with pins, crazy hats or green clothes. Gwen Kisker introduces us to a high school senior with a new way to clean her home and a fresh approach to caring for the Earth.

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(Locator: Bethel Park, Pennsylvania)

Karen Lucarelli isn’t your typical teenager. She’s making her own prom dress at her high school in Pennsylvania…and she’s working to change the worldview of her classmates and adults.

Karen Lucarelli, UMW Green Team: “My peers, honestly I don’t think, take my environmental concerns very seriously. You know, we’re teenagers. Their hair day or who they’re texting or whatever is more important than the ozone.”

Karen makes her own green cleaning supplies using natural products like vinegar, baking soda and borax.

Karen Lucarelli: “All these things that I’m telling people to do are just tricks that your grandma used to use.”

Karen says these supplies really work and are significantly less expensive. One tablespoon washes a load of laundry. But the main goal is better health.

Karen Lucarelli: “You put these chemicals on your counters and then you prepare your food on your counters. You know, it gets in our body. It’s in our body. It’s in the water system. It’s in the soil.”

Karen is the social action chair for the United Methodist Women in Pittsburgh. Last year, the green team went to Washington, D.C., to lobby their congressmen on environmental issues.

Karen Lucarelli: (showing how to make soap) “It’s a half cup of white vinegar you can put in your laundry.”

Karen organizes green cleaning parties like this one at First Bethel United Methodist Church. This begins conversation about environmental issues, from energy consumption to supporting local farmers.

Dorrie Walter, First Bethel UMC Green Team: “Everyone is concerned with keeping their family healthy, and yet keeping their family and their home clean.”

Karen Lucarelli: “I wanted to do something that was hands-on. Something that somebody standing in Bethel Park could feel like they were making a difference. “


Karen Lucarelli and the green team organized a drive for the local food bank so it could offer clients an inexpensive, green way to clean their homes. For more information, contact the Western Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church at 724-776-2300 or 800-886-3382.

Posted: March 16, 2010