This article came out last Thursday in the Katy Trail Weekly. It is still relative to today and the second part talks about the new Environmental Learning Area at Cedar Valley College.
This Friday, April 22, is the celebration of all aspects of our environment with the hope for a cleaner future. The celebration comes at a pivotal point in time. Scientists recently revealed 2015 was the hottest year in the historical record, and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are increasing at an explosive rate. It’s clear that the human impact on Earth continues to grow. After the promising international climate change agreement made at COP21 in Dec. 2015, we haven’t seen much action to move us closer to our goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. Earth Day events around the world may kick off real action from corporate to individual levels.
This weekend (April 22-24) flock to Fair Park (by train) for the Earth Day Texas event that is quickly becoming a national environmental force. Founded by Trammel S. Crow, the event boasts a business and civic-oriented Friday meant to encourage companies to share best environmental practices and create inventive solutions in sustainability.
Earth Day Texas is free to the public and great for families with kids activities such as the LEGO Build the Change, where children are inspired to build their version of a more sustainable future using millions of LEGO bricks. Adults can enjoy the Untapped Sustainable Beer Garden serving cold brews from companies with environmentally responsible practices and pull up a seat or dance to loads of live music from mostly local Texas artists. Browse the huge expo that takes over the large state fair buildings, now filled with more than 1,000 exhibitors covering the environmental aspects of health and fitness, agriculture, beauty, academics, automotive, technology and wildlife. Take a break from the activities and head inside for a screening of an environmental documentary — one I’ve been waiting to see, “Consumed,” which is the story of a mother on the hunt to uncover the cause of her son’s illness and the interwoven story of GMOs and biotechnology. Browse the entire schedule including the Tiny House Exhibit, list of speakers such as Ted Roosevelt IV and Karenna Gore, Green Cuisine schedule and more at earthdaytx.org or download the mobile app.
If you miss Earth Day Texas, no worries. The environment is always available for your exploration, and now there’s one more place available for you. Cedar Valley College, a member of the Dallas County Community College District, located in South Dallas on the border with the city of Lancaster, hosted the grand opening of their Environmental Learning Area (ELA) this past Friday. The ELA is open to the public from dawn to dusk, located behind their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certified Math, Science and Allied Health building in the center of campus. Enter the ELA just steps from the building and soon you are crossing into various native Texas habitats, from a prairie ecosystem to a riparian (close to water) environment currently in a beautiful bloom of native Texas wildflowers such as the gorgeous pink and white wild foxglove.
“We are trying to be very good stewards of our campus and our planet,” said Dr. Maria Boccalandro, sustainability director at Cedar Valley College. All of the community colleges within DCCCD are improving their facilities and curriculum to become leaders in sustainability. Cedar Valley College hosted the DCCCD’s sixth annual Sustainability Summit on April 15, highlighting local efforts to create a more sustainable community. Speakers engaged audience members with talks on adding climate change to curriculum, managing wildlife and the business side of sustainability.
Plenty of rain gives us bright flowers and vibrant hues of green in our April environment, creating a lure to the outdoors perfect for a day and month devoted to our Earth. Take the time to enjoy the Earth Day festivities and explore outdoor areas to reconnect to this giant ball of a planet we live on and take from.