Friday, April 24, 2009

Earth Day Revue!

This Wednesday was Earth Day, and we had something on campus called Earthfest. It was a big thing with a bunch of booths that helped everyone get excited about being green, or going green, etc.

There was a booth that had facts to prove that unless everyone in the world moved into 2-bedroom apartments and used solar electricity and grew their own foods, and only walked and rode bikes and stopped having kids, etc, then we would destroy four Earths within our lifetime. I didn't read all of it, but that was basically what my coworker said about it afterward. So here's what I don't get, though: have none of these scientists ever been on a road trip? There's still a lot of space. Hasn't anyone played Sim City 2000? Because obviously, of course, the solution is to start building arcologies when we need to. I don't understand what the problem is.

There was a sculpture of a unicorn that said "clean coal" on it. I heard someone explain why they built it, and basically it was because Matheson has clean coal ideas, and they think it's as real as a unicorn which should fly off to some magical fairyland or something. It sounded really ridiculous, but I guess they probably got a lot of attention, and that's probably what they wanted.

One of the booths had soil and seeds, and they encouraged people to plant a seed. So I did. A lot of the seeds they had were for things that I'm already growing or for things that I wouldn't know how to use if it did grow. So I planted catnip. Paley will like that. She loves catnip. And then I carried the little planted seed around all day so that everyone would know that I Care About The Environment, which is a Big Deal here.

The booths that I was more interested in were:

The Utah Museum of Natural History. They had a booth about their exhibit called Toadally Frogs! There was a guy dressed up as a frog at the booth, and I got a picture with him, but my favorite part of his costume you can't see in the picture--he had green little-kid swim fins on top of his shoes. And he was wearing green tights. The costume was pretty awesome, actually. I think the exhibit sounds cool, too. I want to go. It is free for [U of U] students and $7 for adults. (Other students with ID are $2.50, and kids are $3.50.) They have some neat lectures and events coming up. This weekend we're going to the Tulip Festival (for Dutch Day! At Thanksgiving Point!), but this exhibit goes through September, so maybe we can go after school gets out.

Sun Ovens. I had never heard of these before! Basically, it uses reflector things to heat up an oven. They were cooking cookies (at 350 degrees F!) and bread right in front of us. These seem like they would be great for emergencies or for camping.

Salt Lake Food Co-Op. I volunteered at their shipment last month (counting lemons!), because of a group I'm involved with on campus, but I didn't actually know much about them. I think I may start participating, though. Basically, a whole bunch of people as a group order stuff mostly from local growers. So it's fresh, and supporting local farmers, and a bunch of it is organic. Plus! Since they order directly and cut out the retailers (people volunteer to make it all happen), things cost like half of what they do in the grocery stores. That's kind of cool. And it's not like, a poverty thing. It's an anyone thing.

Local Green Things. There were several booths about gardening opportunities, and free classes on gardening things, etc. One booth was about urban chicken-raising. I would really like to get some chickens, because I think it would be great to have fresh eggs! That booth had adorable little chicks. Apparently, in Salt Lake a lot of people are becoming interested in raising chickens. The laws here say that you can have chickens in the City if you get permission from your neighbors. No roosters, though. Nothing prohibits having roosters, exactly, but people kind of assume that it would disturb neighbors, which is a pretty safe assumption since most people don't want a neighbor's rooster to crow early. And if you were to get a rooster and it bothered your neighbors, the City would make you get rid of it. So people are sticking to just hens. (Which is kind of like the opposite of China--makes me wonder what they do with all of the left over roosters...)

The U of U's new bike program. The senior gift this year was a bunch of bikes, which students can borrow for free, for a couple weeks. Our campus loves bikes, because we love going green. Bikes are kind of silly, though, because our campus is on a huge hill. Senior gifts are silly, too, I think, because basically what they do is: take our money, spend it on something they want, present it to us, and we're supposed to feel like we're receiving something nice. I'd rather just keep my money. But hey, whatever. (I guess that would kind of be expected, since I'm conservative and prefer to keep my own money, thankyouverymuch.) The bikes look nice, anyway.

Farm to Fork Food! One booth had a bunch of food that you could taste that was made from fresh ingredients. So I bought tickets and I had bruschetta on fresh bread with fresh tomatoes and onions and olive oil. And I had watermelon juice to drink. It was fantastic. I ended up buying some artisan bread (honey whole wheat), which was excellent.

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