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Earth Day: Fort Rucker environmental expo, events aim to help people ‘go green’

George Marodis (right), U.S. Department of Agriculture sourcewater specialist, demonstrates to people how dumping chemicals and waste into the ground can seep into ground water and contaminate the water supply during a previous Earth Day Expo. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

George Marodis (right), U.S. Department of Agriculture sourcewater specialist, demonstrates to people how dumping chemicals and waste into the ground can seep into ground water and contaminate the water supply during a previous Earth Day Expo. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: April 14, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 14, 2016) -- The Earth and its resources may seem infinite to some, but what Mother Nature provides is very limited, according to Fort Rucker environmental specialists.

For that reason, the installation is doing what it can to educate the public on going green and how to be good environmental stewards.

Fort Rucker will celebrate its fifth Earth Day Expo at the festival fields April 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as a way to educate those across the installation and the Wiregrass on how to better take care of the environment, according to Darrell Hager, environmental protection specialist for the Environmental Management Branch.

Various businesses and organizations have been invited to attend the event to showcase products, services and demonstrations designed to help people better serve the environment at the organizational level, or at a personal level in the office or at home, Hager said.

“It’s about awareness, so people can understand that the way we currently live can’t sustain us for the long run,” he said. “The original Earth Day was 46 years ago and it was an international event that brought attention to the issues – it was the catalyst for some of our first environmental regulations.

“We need to get it out there and show people that there are environmental issues and there are things that we have to look at,” Hager added. “We want to make them aware of all the different environmental products and services available to them.”

From things like the type of power they use to run their cars, facilities and homes, to the type of soap or cleaners that people use can make a difference in the sustainability of the Earth, he said.

“You don’t know the damage you could be causing to either yourself or the environment if you’re not educated on the subject,” added Melissa Lowlavar, EMB chief. “(The expo) is a way to educate people that there are better things that they can do to help the Earth and be good environmental stewards.

“There are products that people can use at home that are not only better for the environment, but better for their family, as well,” she said. “It might provide less exposure to chemicals for the family. One thing people should realize is that just because you’ve always used a certain product or done something a certain way doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. That’s why we want to get the information out to the Fort Rucker community, as well as people in the Wiregrass, about new, innovative ideas in the environmental field.”

As in previous years, this year’s event will again feature an E-cycling event, where people can bring their old electronics to be recycled. People can bring computer towers, keyboards, computer mice, printers, scanners, laptops, wires, microwaves, coffee pots, power cords, battery backups, lead batteries, satellite receivers, cell phones and telephones. No government hand-receipt items will be accepted.

It’s important to recycle these materials because, Hager said, much of the equipment contains elements and chemicals that can be harmful to the environment if disposed of improperly.

For those who miss out on the E-cycling event, these items can be recycled year round at the recycling center in Bldg. 9322, located on Third Avenue.

In addition to the Earth Day Expo, the Center Library will hold its Earth Day Awareness April 20 at 3:30 p.m. People can attend to learn more about Earth Day and even visit with different animals to discover ways to protect the environment they live in.

The event is limited to the first 65 participants registered and is Exceptional Family Member Program friendly.

Additionally, the Center Library will hold its Earth Day craft activity, “The Many Faces of Recycling,” April 23 from 1-2:30 p.m. The event is offered to children 8 years and older, and is limited to the first 25 people to register. For more information or to register for either of the events, call 255-3885.

Hager said that it’s important that people understand that there is no quick fix to the problem of environmental waste and that it demands a lifestyle change in order to make a real impact.

Education is important because for the more than 7 billion people in the world, most are living in a way that isn’t sustainable for the Earth, he said.

There are a finite number of resources on the Earth and a certain amount of demand, and soon the demand will outweigh the resources that the Earth can provide, said the environmental protection specialist. Finding and using renewable resources is the best way to curb that dependence on those finite resources, such as fossil fuels.

“Environmental change has to be a lifestyle change – it’s like exercising. If you do it every day, then it gets to be a habit. It’s the same with being green,” he said. “If you just do it for one weekend, it’s not going to make as much of an impact as it would if you do it all the time and, like exercise, the longer you do it, the more results you’ll see.”

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