Celebrating Mother Earth

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The Spectrum

In celebration of Earth Day and the recent beautiful weather, environmental groups from UB joined together yesterday to celebrate Earth Day 2010.

Students planted their own flower seeds, listened to live music, enjoyed solar-power-made smoothies and threw baseballs to seal the fates of their fellow students while they sat on a dunk tank.

The Student Association Environmental Department, Environmental Network, Engineers for a Sustainable World and other student-run groups held this event to raise awareness about eco-friendly behavior. In addition to activities, there were a lot of demonstrations and learning opportunities to inform students about the environment.

Patrick Medlock-Turek, a sophomore chemistry major and keyboard and percussionist for the band Whomacks n' Jackson (who played at the event), is fully in support of students who choose to get involved with saving the environment.

"A lot of people have the [selfish] mentality that [life] is all about [themselves], but every decision [about the environment] affects every person," Medlock-Turek said. "The people [who criticize Earth Day] are trying to justify destroying the environment. If you don't care about your home, why should you have one?"

Medlock-Turek argues that the biggest part of the Earth Day celebration was that people needed to realize that minimal changes need to occur to make a difference, and that students do not have to sacrifice a lot in order to become environmentally conscious.

"We're trying to change a few things, like exchanging Styrofoam [on campus] for plastic and reusing CIT paper for printing," said Chris Llop, director of SA Environmental. "However, this event is more of an end-of-the-year, chill celebration for people to have fun and learn a few things."

The demonstrations continued in the Special Events Field, where the Environmental Network took actual trash from UB buildings and sorted out all of the recycling that was wrongly mixed in by students.

The trash pile, Mt. Trashmore, was equivalent to the amount of trash that UB students and faculty produce in just six hours.

"There is just as much recycling in here as there is trash," said Elsa Gigante, a junior business major and member of Environmental Network. "This all would have been thrown away if we hadn't gone through it just now."

Gigante also works for University Residence Halls & Apartments as a recycling assistant, so she is aware of the minimal recycling that students do.

"It's saddening because this is all [energy and money that is] wasted," Gigante said, motioning to the trash and recycling piles that she had spent hours sorting. "This is not just a green issue, it's an economical one."

Most students at UB admitted to being eco-friendly by recycling, but even more of them admit that they can do better. Furthermore, some said that it would be easier for them if they had more opportunities.

Ian Maher, a sophomore business major and University Heights resident, believes that the city of Buffalo is not fully equipped to handling the recycling awareness that society is struggling to keep up with.

"I think that knowledge [and awareness] of recycling go to wealthier societies," Maher said. "The people that have facts about recycling are the ones that have more money. People in lower-income houses don't know enough about recycling, or the resources to deal with it."

Maher explained that as a University Heights resident, his home is not given recycling cans to use.

"If I had them, I'd obviously use them," Maher said. "But if people aren't reminded that they have to recycle, they're not going to do it."

Maher hopes that the government, both state and city, will help bring awareness of recycling and other environmental issues as well as give them the utilities, like recycling bins, to use.

"There aren't any sacrifices that people have to make in order to make a difference [in the environment]," Medlock-Turek said. "The last thing we need is rushing something [global warming] that is happening naturally."

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