Salt Lake Community College is throwing a party for our planet.
The 2018 SLCC Earth Day Festival will be held Monday, April 23, from noon to 6 p.m. inside the Student Center at Taylorsville Redwood Campus. The celebration is being hosted by the Thayne Center for Service and Learning, along with several other community partners, with a goal to raise awareness about the environmental effects society has put on the planet, particularly with plastic consumption. The festival will feature an art competition, a panel discussion, workshops, food trucks, live music and a fashion show.
SLCC student Isaac Bentley is in charge of the community gardens at both South City and Taylorsville Redwood. Bentley has organized most of the festivities for this year’s Earth Day Festival.
“Environmentalism is a very important thing to me. It’s just who I am and aspire to be,” Bentley says. “I don’t like to see the waste in the world. I try to be a very efficient person, and when I look out and see that plastic is being wasted and a bunch of food is being wasted — all these different things that seem so simple to fix are just being neglected and pushed to the side for the next generation to eventually fix.”
Bentley recounted a time where he was walking to work with a half-full cardboard box of unused plastic items from his house that he collected for a week, but was shocked at how much more plastic he picked up along the way.
“As I was walking from my house to school, I actually overflowed the box and a bag that I was carrying with plastic bottles, straws, and containers that I just found sitting alongside the road,” Bentley says. “That was only the stuff I could reach. I was walking along the canal and there was more plastic in there — maybe three times that I was carrying at the time — it was terrible. That goes down to Utah Lake, which is then going to disperse and kill all the wildlife that is sitting there as it decomposes over the next hundred to five hundred years.”
How SLCC helps the planet
SLCC is an environmentally conscious institution. There are always recycle bins paired with trash cans, but it’s up to students to pay attention to what they throw in what bin. Students and faculty may not realize the things they are throwing away can be recycled instead.
The Environmental Club conducts a “trash audit” each year. The club will collect a week’s worth of trash from one building and separate the trash from the recyclable items.
There is also a recycling program at SLCC. The people who work there are happy to answer questions about recycling and other ways to be environmentally conscious and efficient.
Things can seem bleak when talking about the environment because of the already irreparable damage mankind has done to the planet, but Bentley is still looking at the bright side of things. He believes in his peers’ ability to drive humanity’s efforts to take better care of our galactic home.
As for the upcoming Earth Day celebration, Bentley wants as many people as possible to come out and learn. He also wants everyone to enjoy all the things the festival has to offer.