A Clothing Exchange, Green Fashion show, Green Car show, an organic cooking presentation, a field trip to one of the Puget Sound wind farms, and presentations on toxic environmental pollutants, environmental activism, and energy consumption were all features combined last week to celebrate a common theme at the college: Earth Week.
“Activism is a sacred act,” said speaker Sara Nudleman Carlton in her presentation, “Power of You: Activism, Volunteerism, Politics for the Planet”, summing up the message of the week.
The array of events were primarily sponsored by the Student Science Association, and involved efforts from several instructors, students, club members and other volunteers.
On Tuesday, philosophy instructor Mark Storey spoke on the global effects of environmental strain in his talk, “Ancient China’s Earth ‘Millennium’: A Thousand Years of Ecological Concern.”
The effects of toxic waste was the topic of anthropology instructor Toni Tessandori’s discussion, “There’s something in the water…Oh, that’s just birth control pills”, and astronomy instructor Art Goss spoke on the use and effects of nuclear energy.
Author Nena baker was hosted by the SSA and the Science and Math Institute in her speech, the most widely atteneded for Earth Week, on the toxins in everyday products. Her presentation, “The Body Toxic”, was followed by an open discussion.
During the second annual Green Fashion show Tuesday, students wore outfits put together from used items bought at Value Village.
“The purpose was to encourage ‘upcycled’ clothing as it is more eco-friendly,” said Brita Norvold, SSA president. “It doesn’t have the environmental costs that are associated with the manufacturing and transporting of new clothing.”
During a clothing swap which began Monday, students could drop by a clothing rack display in the cafeteria and exchange free recycled clothing as an alternative to disposal of unwanted garments.
“This got my attention more than most events,” said student Kaitie Merker regarding the swap. “I mean, green or not, of course I love clothes.”
The Green Car show had a large turnout, according to Norvold. Covered by local broadcast news agencies, the show featured demonstrations of a 100-mile per gallon Prius and three electric bikes. The electric bikes, which like the cars are made by the Green Car Company, can be charged in home electricity outlets, and each charge can last the bike for up to 40 miles. F
or Wednesday, a presentation by guest David Bowen on the Puget Sound Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility explained the capacity, technology, and future of wind power as an alternative energy in the Puget Sound.
To date, the facility has churned over 1,030 Megawatts of power to the sound, and wind power accounts for 5 percent of power used in the Sound. The facility, which works with the Fish and Wildlife Dept. to utilize the land for renewable energy while also preserving it for native plants and animals, is host to over 18,000 visitors a year.
“We use solar and wind power to complement each other,” said Bowen.
“You know, the wind is not always blowing, the sun isn’t always shining.”
Bowen said that as alternative energy equipment costs rise, the Sound is rushing to expand wind and solar power facilities for these to meet the 2020 goal of making up 15 percent of the area’s energy generation.
During her Speech on activism, former BC Associated Student Government President Sarah Nudleman told students they can make a difference through lobbying on behalf of important issues, demonstrating, working with legislation, and volunteering in local environmental and social efforts.
Through individual activism, social change can be entrenched in the political system for the better, according to Nudleman.
Nudleman gave the example of Darcy Burner. Even though Burner, a 2008 democratic candidate for congress, lost to republican candidate Dave Reichert, the green focus of her campaign forced Reichert to change his environmental policies for the better.
Burner was able to effect change through the power of her efforts, according to Nudleman, whatever the immediate outcome may have seemed.
In her presentation on organic cooking Friday, speaker Lisa Dupar said the best foods for both health and the economy are those grown locally.
Participation in local food promotion events and time spent working with different types of food as a chef has taught her, she said, the importance of growing food locally and ethically.
Information boards in the cafeteria presented facts about safe cosmetic use, household products, the environmental cost of cotton processing, and the impacts of global warming on the Northwest.
“I think it’s brought a campus awareness about the situation we’re facing with the new world,” said student Jesse Ryan.
“We’re trying to shape it into something we’re proud of.”
Patrick Farricker and Luke Eden contributed reporting to this article.