Arts & Culture / Mosaic / April 23, 2009

Celebrating Earth Week

The third Annual Green Solutions Expo was held Wednesday in Fleming Fieldhouse to commemorate Earth Day. The sponsors of the Expo were Knox College, KARES, University of Illinois Extension, Prairie Tech Learning Center, and Green Solutions.

At the same time as the Expo was All Campus Lights Out, presented by Circle K. On Earth Day, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., students, faculty and staff turned off as many lights as possible. In Founders, the whole lab went dark for a few seconds with a few lights turned on afterward. Lights were turned off in the hallways of Seymour.

The Expo had door prizes, including a painting of Peanuts characters planting a tree that said “Be a friend to the Earth,” a bread basket, a bottle of multipurpose cleaner and Ecosalt. A table presented a proclamation of Earth Day: “I, Gary C. Smith, Mayor of the City of Galesburg, Illinois do hereby proclaim April 22, 2009 as ‘Earth Day’ in the City of Galesburg and urge our citizens to adopt an ecologically sound lifestyle.”

Near the entrance of the Expo was a small projector that showed homemade videos of people doing eco-friendly things. They featured messages such as “Have you hugged a tree today?” and “In a world where no one recycles there’s…Recycler Man.”

Director and organizer of the Green Solutions Expo, Linda Lee Blaine, said, “The purpose of the Expo is to educate the public on the things that they can do to be environmentally friendly in their own lives, as well as to raise awareness and celebrate the things that companies are doing already in the area to minimize their impact on the environment, and to create environmentally friendly products…We have a wide variety of companies that are here today that sell environmentally friendly projects, create environmentally friendly products, [and] are part of the green energy revolution that’s happening in our area. We have a lot of wind energy, for example, that’s coming into the area. We have D and B Wind Power here today, they have a small wind turbine.”

The miniature wind turbine made by D and B Wind Power had pieces of paper that said, “This 2 kw turbine installed $13,900,” “3 kw turbine installed $18,820,” and “30 percent Gov’t tax rebate.”

Sustainability and environmental awareness on colleges and universities were evident with tables including Western Illinois University, Monmouth College, and Knox College. There was a table of students from Monmouth College with rain barrels for water conservation, with facts such as “A rainfall of only 0.3 inches will fill the rain barrel.” The President’s Task Force on Sustainability had a table with pamphlets on sustainability at Knox in 2008 and featured posters “Knox College Signs Sustainability Commitment” and “History of Sustainability at Knox College.” Eco House had a table with a poster detailing its efforts in sustainability with its community garden and other projects.

Blaine continued, “We also have Farmland Foods here today. They take great lengths to minimize their impact on their environment so they’re a very up-and-coming company in terms of strides to minimize their environmental impact. We have a little bit of everything. We have quite a bit of food systems here today. Local foods systems are an environmental issue that is gaining a lot of attention recently. The main reason it’s a big environmental issue is so much of our food comes from so far away. For example, here in Illinois, pretty much the only things we raise are corn and soybeans. So that means virtually everything else we eat has to come from California or Florida or somewhere far away and it’s shipped in on trucks or sometimes our food is even from South America or wherever. And it’s shipped to a port and put on a boat and shipped to another port and it’s shipped across the country and it’s a waste of fuel and effort and all that to get these products all the way here when we could be growing a lot of our food here locally.”

There were booths that featured locally grown and organic foods with one booth having a banner that said, “Local Pride! Cultivating Land & Community.”

After the first hour of the Expo, President Roger Taylor spoke briefly about how sustainability is one of the most important issues facing people today as well as could even be considered one of the most important moral issues. Following Taylor was Professor of Anthropology Jon Wagner who played “This Land is Your Land” on the banjo.

President of KARES, junior Abby Pardick, said, “Earth Day is very successful. We have a drastically larger selection of events than last year and with the expansion, it provides a wide variety of events and has something for everyone.”

Sheena Leano

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