Fair promotes green lifestyle

The name may have changed, but the goal remains the same

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The UB Sustainable Living Fair – formerly known as Green Shade of Blue & You Day – encourages members of the UB community to practice sustainability at home, as well as on campus.

The university’s fourth annual environmental expo will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 18 in the Student Union, North Campus. It is sponsored by the UB Office of Sustainability, the Professional Staff Senate and Campus Dining and Shops.

So, why the change of name?

“Greener Shade of Blue & You Day was a riff off of a focused semester on sustainability in 2007 that saw leaders like Al Gore and the late Wangari Maathai visiting and speaking on campus,” says event co-chair Jim Simon, sustainability engagement coordinator with the Office of Sustainability. “Since then, our take on sustainability has expanded to include not only the environment, but people and economic efficiency.

“We look at all of this through the lens of teaching sustainability through our curriculum, discovering the next big idea through our research, reducing our environmental footprint in our own operations and reaching others far and wide through community engagement,” Simon explains. “Changing the name to the UB Sustainable Living Fair helps capture this focus and also makes it clear what we are actually doing on Sept. 18.”

The fair, he points out, is a “snapshot of the work that the campus and the community is doing to reduce our footprint on the future.”

“Coming together every fall for this event is always inspiring,” he says.

The environmental fair will feature demonstrations, door prizes and nearly 20 local and national business and nonprofit organizations offering information about maintaining a sustainable home and reducing one’s environmental footprint.

Attendees will be able to recycle alkaline batteries and Goodwill will have a truck at the event to collect donated items.

In conjunction with the fair, Campus Dining and Shops again will host the Pride of New York Showcase featuring organic and local produce, dairy products and fresh baked goods from Western New York farms, fields and kitchens. The showcase, on the special events field across Putnam Way from the Student Union, will spotlight many vendors that partner with UB.

It would be great to see more such fairs across the US, and not just on university and college campuses, and also in other countries, such as the UK.

While there are a number of such fairs around in Britain, and a fair number of them in and around London, some of them have problems putting on the events due to the fact that some councils charge enormous sums for the “hire” of a park, such as is the case in Brixton, with Brockwell Park, and because of that fact the 2012 Urban Green Fair had to be canceled.

Rather than charging such events should be co-organized with the councils as they bring awareness of the green issues and can also be used to promote awareness of issues in parks.

One can but hope that this sense will be understood by all...

© 2012