The UAB Anthropology Department's Earth Day celebration was not just a success but a fun day full of unique and informative activities, delicious food and important goals. The activities planned were a community art project, free yoga class, gardening demonstration, slam poetry contest and a peace panel discussion that featured religious and scientific leaders from Birmingham. The Earth Day festivities also included a Sojourn booth that sold hand made and eco friendly crafts, a booth of arts and crafts made by students and a booth for the Anam Cara Irish Dancers.
Of course, in addition to the booths and activities there was food! Baked goods, sushi and Indian food were available and donations were taken for the West End Community Gardens and the Red Cross for Japan Tsunami Relief. The donation collection for the baked goods was a success as $300 was collected for West End Community Gardens and $200 for the Red Cross Japan Tsunami Relief effors!
After some mingling, eco-friendly shopping and nutritious eating-visitors and volunteers were treated to a panel discussion that featured religious and scientific leaders of the Birmingham community.Panelists included: Losel Maitri representing the Buddhist community, Jun Ebersol curator from the McWane Center, a representative from the Hindu Temple, a speaker for the Birmingham Bahai Center, and a speaker for The Church Without Walls. The panel discussed their varying ideas on the importance of the earth as our home and how we should fulfill our duty as stewards to the earth. Though there were some specific differences between the panelists beliefs; the discussion highlighted the similarities between the pannelists and the groups they represented. The panel discussion provided insight about how comminities as a whole could work together to solve environmental issues dispite percieved and real differences. The lesson learned was that we all live on this earth together and therefore equally share the responsibility of caring for the environment.
After the panel discussion there was an Earth Day Poetry Slam competition produced by Real Life Poets, Inc. Local middle and highscool students presented poetry they authored specifically for Earth Day. There was a cash prize of $100 awarded to the best environmentally themed poem.
The success of Earth Day was evident in the faces of attendants and volunteers as they learned about specific environmental issues and solutions and as they realized that concern about the earth is broadly shared throught the community. Due to the success, anthropology students are commited to making the Earth Day celebration at UAB an annual event that will continue to grow and inspire people to make environmentally friendly choices and take action for the sake of the planet, our home.