By Lindi Smith
The sun was shining, the food trucks were serving up delicious treats and the yoga featured baby goats (that’s right … goats!) at EarthX 2018. For three days, exhibitors ranging from businesses to schools to environmental and conservation groups set up booths in the exhibit halls of Fair Park to teach visitors about ways to save and protect planet Earth. The event also featured films, live music performances and a conference with presentations from world-renowned guest speakers.
The event, which began as an outdoor street fair in 2011, has grown each year. In 2017, more than 100,000 visitors attended EarthX at Fair Park in Dallas. This year, conference organizers expected even larger crowds. Although bad weather caused an unexpected closure on Saturday morning, the crowds returned as festivities resumed later in the day.
DCCCD students and employees were present all three days of the event, staffing booths that showcased each college’s sustainability efforts. Members of the DCCCD Sustainability Team were on hand to discuss the Windmill Garden at Brookhaven, the Green Team’s recycling efforts at Richland and Mountain View’s Community Garden project, as well as conservation and sustainability initiatives at North Lake, Cedar Valley and Eastfield.
For Sonia Ford, the sustainability project coordinator at Richland College, EarthX offered an exciting way to get students involved as volunteers for a “Recycling Relay” designed for children from the ImaginED School in Dallas. According to Ford, the relay activity taught the school children “how they can make a difference in diverting recycling paper, cardboard, plastics, cans, etc., from going to the landfill, therefore preserving and beautifying the environment.”
A group of students from Brookhaven College who attended this year’s event were surprised to learn that some of their daily habits can have a significant effect on the environment. “I learned about how much of our resources really go to waste: paper, plastic and even acres of land,” said Jorge Teran. “I was really fascinated by the amount of interest people have in preserving this planet.”
Diamond Ricks added, “I learned that a 10-minute shower is using 100 gallons of water. This was very alarming to me.”
Part of the appeal of EarthX is its emphasis on empowering people to make small changes in their daily lives, which can have a big impact on the environment. The event’s founder, Trammel S. Crow, a former DCCCD Board member, focuses on raising awareness about climate change and sustainability. Many of the exhibition booths are designed to show visitors, like Jorge and Diamond, a variety of ways in which the average person can make small changes and have a big impact. Several conservation booths encouraged students to pay attention to how they use resources including water, paper and plastic.
DCCCD students who want to get involved should contact the sustainability director/coordinator at their college. Opportunities for students vary at each college, but all seven colleges of DCCCD offer ways for students to participate and learn more.