SLUG and Greenfire team up for international day of environmental awareness

Maggie Brickner

Lawrence student organizations joined thousands of people around the world by hosting a work party to raise environmental awareness last Sunday. While others cleaned coral reefs in the Philippines and planted trees in Azerbaijan, student volunteers spent the day working in the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden as a part of the global work party.
The work parties were initiated by 350.org, an organization founded by American writer Bill McKibben that raises international awareness about global warming. Oct. 10, or 10/10/10 as the event was known, was a designated a day of global environmental work.
In addition to organizing international protests and rallies, the group 350.org frequently coordinates events similar to the 10/10/10 work party. This Sunday, about 7,350 events occurred worldwide in over 180 different countries.
According to volunteer Sophie Patterson, SLUG and Greenfire jointly organized the day with help from other campus groups with environmental interests. The purpose of working in the garden was to raise awareness about the benefits of eating locally grown food instead of buying from the commercial agriculture system.
Sustainably grown local food is an important part of helping the earth, because in today’s agricultural system a huge amount of energy is wasted on transportation and production of commercially grown food. Patterson noted that the event also helped to “unite the community to work for the environment.”
All Lawrence students were invited to work in the garden. Volunteers were urged to stop by the garden from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to contribute a small part of their day to the earth, and throughout the day, at least 15 students stopped by to work.
Most of the volunteers were students who volunteer regularly at SLUG, but many interested parents – on campus because of Fall Festival – also stopped by to admire the work in the garden.
Volunteers planted hardy greens such as spinach and kale in SLUG’s hoop house so that Bon Appétit will have access to local fresh vegetables, even during the winter.
In addition, volunteers moved the compost piles nearer to the hoop house so compost can easily be put inside to provide heat for the plants during colder months. This relocation made room for another compost pile to be started and gave campus a pungent scent for the next few days.
According to sophomore Will Meadows, Lawrence’s effort was different from others’ because it allowed volunteers to “work for a day in a cause that’s always going on.”
350.org draws its name from the 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – the recommended maximum for healthy life. The current global level is 389 parts per million.

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