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Wednesday, April 6,2011

Earth Month gets kick-started with human carnival

By Daniella Limoli
The Ohio University Office of Sustainability kicked off Earth Month Tuesday with a human-powered carnival in Baker Center to celebrate the power of people both individually and cooperatively.

Interim sustainability coordinator Erin Sykes said that this year's theme, People (Em)powered, expresses "the collective power of humans to make large-scale change."

She said that the theme is two-fold, meaning it addresses both the literal power of the human body as well as empowering people to make a difference.

"It's both plugging people in in small ways and then also hoping that those small things that they start to put in their hands will begin to affect their thinking, too. And (affect) the way they think about their world and their interaction with their environment, their place and the people as well," Sykes said. "So hopefully, it's a small catalyst for much bigger thinking."

Rebecca Tercek, an intern with the Office of Sustainability, said that this year's theme was chosen because, "It's so important for people to know that they actually have a part in any movement. We wanted to make (the theme) simple and let people know that they can do something about the Green Movement."

The Office of Sustainability partnered with several student organizations for the carnival, including the Sierra Student Coalition, Beyond Coal, Eco Reps and Conscious Ohio.

Freshman visual media production major Jane McGinnis said that the Sierra Student Coalition chose to create human-powered games like cornhole, human ring toss and bowling made from recycled materials to raise awareness for Earth Month and sustainability.

Conscious Ohio, known for its vegan cooking workshop, featured a smoothie bike to represent this year's theme.

"You ride the bike and blend a smoothie, so it's human-made," explained junior Conscious Ohio member Halie Cousineau.

This month Conscious Ohio will also be featuring speakers and films as well as workshops on canning preserves and making yogurt.

"I think (the goal) is to try to get everyone involved and have a community here at Ohio University," junior Kazmir Dinse said. "It's to raise awareness about local foods and practices."

Other carnival attractions included face painting, henna tattoos and a solar-powered cotton candy machine. The machine, from OU's Residents' Actiouncil, was powered by the Third Sun Solar trailer.

The Office of Sustainability has also organized several other events for April. Annie Lambla will bring "The Yogurt Pedaler" on April 12. According to the office's website, the cyclist and community activist uses a bike-powered yogurt cart to activate public spaces in Midwestern communities and inspire connections between local farms and their neighbors.

The keynote will be delivered by surfer and activist Rob Caughlan on April 14. He "will use stories from his 40-year-long career as a surfer and environmental activist to inspire and motivate students to make changes of their own," according to the website.

Earth Munch, which features food samples from local sustainable food vendors, will take place April 25. Past vendors have included restaurants such as Della Zona and Casa Nueva.

"The most exciting part is that whenever we have these events, I always meet new people, and that relationships building is the most important thing about building a movement," Sykes noted. "So when I'm out at all the actual events, I meet students, I meet community members, I meet faculty and staff who are all working in this area. And then hopefully make real change by connecting people."

Tercek added, "We want to let people know that anybody can be a part of it It's just to get information out and get people more interested in and excited about sustainability."

For a complete calendar of Earth Month's activities, speakers and films, visit


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