We as humans are dynamic creatures, so we all wear many hats. In addition to being an intern here at Caster, I also participate in several URI student organizations including SAS (Student Action for Sustainability). We work on many initiatives throughout the year having to do with making both our campus and our community a more environmentally friendly place. Our biggest event of the year will be this Wednesday April 18th on the URI Kingston Campus Quad. We have simply called it “Earth Day on the Quad.” Yes the actual Earth Day is April 22nd, but we all know no one can get enough e-day love in just one 24 hour period. We’ve got a lot of sweet stuff going on, as we’re trying to touch on the many aspects of what being sustainable truly means.

Local food vendors will be coming out to sell their fresh produce. In our case this food will be organic, a lot of time locally grown food is, but does not necessarily have to be. The importance of buying local does several things. It supports your local community and economy as well as cuts down on green house gases. Shipping food from far away is unnecessary and emits green house gases produced from the boats, planes, and trucks that it must travel on. Traveling food is not as healthy either. Time and light diminish nutrients from vegetables like spinach rather quickly. Within 24 hours of being picked, spinach can lose 50%-90% of its vitamin C, folic acid, and other nutrients. The only way to guarantee freshness is to buy local.

Another staple of our event will be an electronic waste drive. With technology advancing so fast, more and more pieces of electronic equipment are becoming obsolete and many people have been disposing of their old cell phones or computers in a hazardous manner. Your old technology leaches toxins into your environment such as lead, arsenic, and beryllium just to name a few. All of these can infiltrate our air and water supply increasing our chance to contract cancer. So please, if you have any old electronics that you do not use any more, bring it by the URI campus to be properly recycled. Everything will be broken down properly to be used again in new electronics. We can’t make you recycle but it is really becoming a necessity. As Captain Planet always said, the power is yours!

So, what’s the real purpose of Earth Day? It’s not to be environmentally conscious for just one day out of the year. It is to serve as a reminder that we only have one planet. As human beings it is our job to maintain the place we call home so we can go outside without having the rain or sun demolish our skin. Earth Day on the Quad will have some literature on the importance of sustainability and how you can do your part. SAS will also be having various games, a t-shirt tye-dying booth, various vendors, and other student organizations posted up to provide everyone with a good time. If you’re in the neighborhood it is definitely worth a stop on by, if not just remember that Earth Day is every day except without the games and baked goods.

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