Environment expands beyond Earth Week

Megan Wimsatt and Megan Wimsatt

The Eco Fair took over the Union oval to promote environmental friendliness Wednesday.

“For as long as Earth Day has been celebrated at BG, I know there’s been an Eco Fair of some sort,” graduate sustainability assistant Joshua Chamberland said.

The theme for this year’s Eco Fair fit with today’s environmental space and the need to install changes to protect the environment.

“The theme for this year is ‘Action Today for a Better Tomorrow’ because students, faculty and staff feel that [with]…the importance of climate change and other environmental issues, it’s more important than ever to ensure that people are involved in making sure that we mitigate those changes,” Chamberland said.

Multiple student organizations and local groups had tables set up at the Eco Fair.

“With the theme of ‘Action Today for a Better Tomorrow,’ the whole goal of this is to give our campus community a whole-host of options of getting involved for all sorts of interests that exist on this campus,” Chamberland said.

Kris Patterson, executive director of Partners for Clean Streams, had a table for her organization. Patterson is a BG graduate and said she was glad the environmental programs at the University have expanded, as the project had just started when she went to Bowling Green.

Other organizations at the Eco Fair included the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve; the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency; the Wood County Park District; and the Toledo Lucas County Sustainability Commission, who were offering paper butterfly kites and will be hosting an event called Green Drinks on April 25 at Plate 21 in Toledo.

When Earth Week is over, it’s still important to keep in mind ways to be more environmentally friendly, Chamberland said.

“So for example, the University is trying to reduce emissions,” he said. “Our main emissions are from electricity consumption, so kind of turning off devices when they’re not using them and unplugging them. This is a big one because when you multiply that by the thousands of people living on-campus and off-campus, all those energy savings add up significantly.”

He also said trying to reduce waste on an individual basis is a good way to be more environmentally friendly. Recycling properly and avoiding disposables are ways he listed to do this.

“When You Move Out, Don’t Throw It Out” is also a way to reduce waste by donating food, hygiene and toiletry items. Donation boxes can be found in all residence halls and Outtakes, as well as the Union. Volunteers are welcome, and the Office of Campus Sustainability offers service credit for some of their volunteer opportunities.

Partners for Clean Streams will also have volunteer opportunities over the summer for those who want to help clear garbage out of different sites. In 2016, the organization removed 26,136 pounds of trash from Toledo-area rivers. More information can be found at the Partners for Clean Streams site.