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Celebrate the Earth this Saturday

Roseville hosts annual Earth Day celebration at Mahany Park
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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When visitors to the Roseville Utility Exploration Center tabulate their carbon footprint, they get a wake-up call. A computer in the center’s exhibit calculates people’s impact on the natural environment by determining the greenhouse-gas emissions produced in our daily lives by our mode of transportation, energy and water usage, consumption habits, the food we eat and more. But even the most environmentally conscious of us fail to measure up. “I don’t know anybody who has gone through this who is light on the earth,” said Director Bob Garrison. “People in the United States don’t live in a sustainable manner.” On Saturday, Roseville residents will experience another environmental wake-up call at the City of Roseville’s annual Celebrate the Earth festival. But the point isn’t to guilt people into better environmental stewardship. Instead, the event will celebrate local green businesses and accomplishments of the environmental movement since the first Earth Day occurred forty years ago. On April 22, 1970, U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson called for a nationwide environmental protest and 22 million Americans demonstrated against oil spills, polluting factories, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways and wildlife extinction. Earth Day was born. Before the year’s end, the Nixon administration started the Environmental Protection Agency. Soon after, Congress passed the Clean Water Act and ramped up the Clean Air Act. In celebration of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, Roseville’s event will boast 85 booths — the most yet — and several new programs. The family-friendly event at Mahany Regional Park will feature six themed zones: Empowering Our Community, Live Waste-Free, Be Water Wise, Green the Urban Water Environment, Let’s Eat Local and Travel Green. The zones will offer programs and informational displays about reducing consumption, using resources efficiently and saving money on utility bills. “We’re trying to put (our lifestyles) in perspective,” Garrison said. “We’re living in this idyllic community called Roseville. But in the grand scheme of things, this is not sustainable.” The Earth Day event is the Utility Exploration Center’s centerpiece, mainly because of the sheer number of people who attend. Last year’s event drew about 3,000 people from throughout Placer County. Local food will be featured this year, intended to attract “foodies,” and highlight the connection between healthy eating and a healthy earth, Garrison said. Four chefs from area restaurants will participate in a cook-off on the festival’s solar-powered main stage using produce supplied by local growers. “We want to show that there is local produce here and it’s healthier, fresher and better for the environment,” Garrison said. Attendees will have a chance to win raffle prizes, including free garbage service for a year. Kids can create art from recycled materials, film an environmental commercial in the community television station, see live animals, get their faces painted and learn from interactive displays. Garrison said both the event and the Utility Exploration Center are geared toward kids and teenagers because the ability of today’s youth to grasp the magnitude of climate change will dictate the future of environmentalism in this country. “There’s nothing like the power of kids to change lifestyles,” Garrison said. He knows; he has an 11-year-old son. At the event, the Roseville Police Department will offer document shredding. The city’s Environmental Utilities Department will host an electronics-recycling booth, where visitors can drop off computers, televisions, radios and more. E-waste donations help fund the Utility Exploration Center, which has generated $20,000 in the past nine months. The money will go toward the center’s next phase of growth — the creation of exhibit space on one-acre of land outside the center. The project will break ground in 2012. Attendees of Celebrate the Earth will also have a chance to explore the center, which opened in 2008. The center offers visitors information on the scope of the planet’s ecological perils. But it takes visitors an important step further; the exhibits also provide solutions. “This is so (people) don’t feel so overwhelmed that the world is going to hell, so what the heck?” Garrison said. “We see how our personal decisions make a difference.” Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------- Celebrate the Earth takes place 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, at Mahany Regional Park, 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd. in Roseville. Admission is free. Ride Roseville Transit for $1.50 (general public) or 75 cents (for seniors, disabled or students) to the event. Route M stops in Mahany Park. For trip-planning assistance call (916) 774-5757 or visit www.roseville.ca.us/transit. Free valet bike parking is located at the event entrance. For more information, visit www.roseville.ca.us/explore.