By Laura Weyman, Photo Editor
“This year’s Earth Day celebration is focused on zero waste—no waste whatsoever—but at the same time there is a big push for people to stop using plastic.” Said Mathew Adams, a Savannah State Professor and Armstrong student. This year Adams was the EMCEE for this year’s festival.
On Saturday April 21st, food and educational stands occupied Forsyth Park and no plastic was prohibited from being sold at the vendors. Live music filled the park while families roamed around, and kids had the chance to interact with real life animals such as bees, snakes, turtles, alligators and an interactive sculpture made of plastic bottles.
Our local vegan restaurant, The Fox and Fig flipped Beyond Meat burgers on a charcoal grill. Beyond Meat patties are some of the most realistic vegan burger patties besides The Impossible Burger brand.
Real beef is one of the least environmentally friendly foods on the planet and many people are beginning to give it up for that reason alone. According to a PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) study, livestock production is responsible for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions and beef was found to be 10 times more damaging than all other livestock production sectors.
In addition to local food and art vendors, a variety of free workshops were held. Peter Broadhead, owner of Brighter Day Natural Foods, offered a workshop on how to make tea from scratch and Robert Kiser, owner of C-Port mushrooms, taught the public how to grow mushrooms with recycled materials such as cardboard.
Kiser talked about basic cultivation methods using locally and regionally sourced materials and focused on connecting them to composting, creating a loop with the materials used. He focused on cardboard that’s non-recyclable and which types of mushrooms grow best on which substrates.
Kiser also touched on the vermiculture process: using worms and mushroom mycelium (the vegetative part of a fungus) to grow mushrooms in worm bins.
Keiser said the angle of this workshop was focused on reusability. He said, “I spoke on how to find reusable materials to grow mushrooms in because, typically, a lot of mushroom cultivation uses a lot of plastic waste. So, my angle was to focus on reusability and eliminate use production.”
Various non-profit organizations held stands in hopes to recruit volunteers and educate attendees on the environmental crisis that is currently at hand.
James Moher, a volunteer for The Dolphin Project, raised awareness about the local Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin population that are now being affected by plastic pollution and oil drilling.
The organization goes out in the waters of Georgia to conducts surveys on the dolphins they encounter that gives them an idea of the condition of the coastal pollution.
Moher stated, “Georgia is the only state on the entire Atlantic coast that has not officially come out against oil drilling.” Moher added that it is up to all of us to call our local government to protest the oil drilling on the coast, which is detrimental to wildlife. Moher also encourages anyone concerned about the state of our coastal area to volunteer with the TDP.