Thursday, April 21, 2016

Earth Day is tomorrow - lots going on in Canton!

This year, people around the world will be celebrating the 46th Earth Day on Friday, April 22.  There will be public rallies, protests against fossil fuels, and demonstrations about mass extinctions all over the globe.  But what’s happening in our neck of the woods?

Students at St. Lawrence University have taken it upon themselves to make sure that Earth Day does not go unnoticed.  Thursday night kicks off the “Earth Day Extravaganza” with an event called EARTHx – a spinoff of the international podcast series, TED Talks.  Professors and community members have been invited to answer the question, in a time of environmental crisis, how can we live right now?, from each of their unique perspectives.  Homesteaders, outdoor recreationalists, economists, farmers, and environmentalists are just some of the speakers who will have five minutes to share their personal stories.  EARTHx will take place on campus at Pub 56 at 7:OO PM, on Thursday, April 21.  The event is free and open to the public.  A map of St. Lawrence’s campus can be found here.

On Friday, the focus shifts to more community engagement and participation with the issues surrounding Earth Day, as students join together to stand up for the environment.

Plastic water bottles that were salvaged from trashcans will be strung together and hung up in Sullivan Student Center to showcase the ridiculous amount of waste produced by not using reusable water bottles.  White Spruce saplings will be planted in rusty oil barrels and placed on display in the Student Center to urge the St. Lawrence community to question our energy investments.  “On behalf of Mother Earth, let’s uproot society from the false security of fossil fuel dependency,” reads the sign that will accompany the trees.  Over one hundred people plan to “drop dead” during the lunch rush to represent the number of species that face extinction every day.  And the food miles of all of our exotic favorites will be calculated, as well as the carbon that their travel emits into the atmosphere, so that we might be less inclined to pick up that banana, and opt for the local apple instead.

Students have chosen to focus on the issues because they want to demonstrate that complacency is not an option.  The earth that we live on is experiencing huge amounts of environmental stress, and our actions have a direct impact on it.

From 12PM to 2PM, there will be a tie dying station outside the Student Center.  The dyes will be made from natural ingredients instead of chemicals, and will use locally grown products.  Beets, onion skins, and black beans – all grown by students at the Sustainability House on Rt. 68 in Canton – produce beautiful, earthy colors that aren’t toxic if they spill into the soil. Materials will be provided.  At 3PM, anyone is invited to the ice cream social behind Commons College at 78 Park Street in exchange for a few seeds sowed.  Seed to Table, a club on campus that grows food for the dining halls, needs help starting seeds for their upcoming season, and anyone can take a stab at making soil blocks or getting their hands dirty in the permaculture garden.  All of these events are free and open to the public.

But students aren’t the only ones celebrating Earth Day.  Nature Up North, another local non-profit, is hosting an #EncounterEarth campaign all day Friday which calls on participants to post a picture on their website of something they did outside.  Nature Up North hopes that the contest will urge people to get outdoors and appreciate their local environments – one lucky Encounter poster will win a prize!  You can find more information on how to participate here.

The festivities continue into the weekend, with Nature Up North’s Earth Day 7K at 9:30 on Saturday morning at the Wachtmeister Field Station.  After the race, runners can make their way to Folk Fest at St. Lawrence University, where bands from near and far will be playing music from noon to nearly midnight outside on the Java Quad.  Local vendors will be at the festival from 12PM until 6PM, so make sure to stop by and check them out – both GardenShare and Nature Up North will have tables there!

There are many ways to celebrate Earth Day, and many ways to make a difference.  Here at GardenShare, we hope that you will choose to think about where your food comes from and how it was grown – not just on Earth Day, but everyday.  Your choices have an impact on our environment and our community!  How will you be appreciating nature?