Western students and the Bellingham community gathered in Fairhaven courtyard for the Earth Day Festival on Sat., April 25. The festival approached sustainability education and involvement through games and hands-on experiences.
Western programs held booths at the festival at 12 p.m.-6 p.m., to share information about social issues and sustainability. About 100 people attended the festival, which was the last event of Earth Week.
One of the programs represented was the Green Energy Fee Program. They talked about the how the program receives $300,000 every year from student fees, which goes towards student projects for sustainability. One of their past projects was installing water bottle refilling stations around campus.
People were asked to write down on a board their answer to “What would you do with $300,000 for WWU sustainability?” One answer on the board was solar paneled sidewalks. For more information on the program: http://www.wwu.edu/sustain/programs/gef.
At the booth for WWU Sustainable Transportation, people taught visitors how to attach plastic containers to the back of their bikes.
Representatives from WWU Zero Waste program invited people to play a game called “Fish, Learn, Win.”
In the game, people used home-made fishing poles to retrieve a bag, made of T-shirts and tank-tops, filled with material items and pictures of food. “We teach them how to sort each item in labeled buckets; compost, paper, plastic, glass, tin and landfill,” Gwen Larned said, the coordinator for Zero Waste Western Campaign. Their goal is to have Western waste production in landfill reduced to zero. For more information: http://www.wwu.edu/sustain/programs/zero-waste.
Students for Sustainable Water also quizzed people on their knowledge of water issues. “One of the questions we ask people is what global percentage of Earth’s water drinkable? Some would say 15 percent, but it’s actually 3 percent,” freshman Cassidy Eklof said. The club wanted to know how much people know about water, then teach them about water sustainability, Eklof said.
At the festival, members of the Community Food Co Op provided information on waste reduction. The co-op provides “Healthy Connections Classes” April-June featuring cooking, nutrition and wellness. Store locations are in downtown Bellingham and Cordata. For more information: http://www.communityfood.coop.
The band, Polecat, performed during the festival. There were workshops on various topics of sustainability and social issues. For example, the workshop, “Farm-worker Struggles, Environmental Justice and Student Solidarity,” focused on experiences of migrant farm-workers in Whatcom and Skagit counties.