News Ohio University

Earth Month advocates community power

By Zach Gorman, CG News

A human-powered carnival and a Californian surfer are a few of the highlights during Earth Month, which focuses on people power.

“Last year the theme was promoting sustainable food,” said Erin Sykes, interim sustainability coordinator. “This year we decided to make it about sustainable power.”

Ohio University Sustainability Council has been planning this year’s Earth Month events since last fall.

After initially hearing this year’s proposed theme of people power, Hannah Simonetti, an employee of the Office of Sustainability, said she fell in love with it.

“It is so relevant to the DIY [do it yourself] culture today,” Simonetti said. “People are more interested in getting back to your roots and harnessing the energy in our bodies.”

Earth Month kicked off Tuesday with a human-powered carnival which featured a pedal-powered smoothie maker, human-powered games and a solar-powered cotton candy machine.

Students will be able to attend performances or eat casual lunch with such high-profile activists as musician Evan Greer and surfer Rob Caughlan.

Simonetti said that people power doesn’t only refer to the physical potential, such as riding a bike or walking to conserve fossil fuels, but also the collective power of people and organizations to make a change.

“It’s about the power of a community to come together and say ‘it’s our community to structure our way,’” Simonetti said.

Events such as removing garlic mustard, an invasive species, with Professor Phil Cantino every Saturday and Sunday and learning to cook vegan meals with Conscious Ohio every Tuesday are some ways participants can impact themselves and their community.

Participants can also try food from local, sustainable food businesses during an Earth Munch event on April 25 and learn to assemble or repair bikes with Athens Bike Co-op every Saturday starting April 9.

Athens Beautification Day, a day in which student volunteers help clean up Athens, is on April 16.

The entire Earth Month calendar can be viewed here.

Year round services and organizations such as Conscious Ohio, the Sierra Student Coalition, the Environmental Studies Department of OU, Good Earth Farm and OU’s Alden Library assisted in the coordinating of many Earth Month events.

“It’s an opportunity to dig further into skills and information of sustainability,” Simonetti said.

The theme and events are meant to advocate individuals getting involved and making a change in their personal lives and habits, Simonetti added.

“This is a chance for people unaware of what’s happening all the time to know about it and plug into sustainability,” Sykes said.