Locals celebrate Earth Day with a music and arts festival

A sustainability-themed music and arts festival brought people together to celebrate Earth Day on Sunday.

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. Events are held worldwide in order to show support for environmental awareness and protection. This holiday is important to our community and our world, as the global temperature continues to rise and species continue to go extinct.

Syracuse residents raised awareness with Earthfest, a sustainability-themed music and arts festival celebrating Earth Day in Thornden Park Amphitheater on Sunday.

The event was sponsored by Syracuse University’s Sustainability Division, New York Public Interest Group and Students of Sustainability.

While attendance was free, participants were urged to donate to Syracuse Grows, which is a local non-for-profit that develops food justice in support of urban food production. 

This event was organized by Paul Otteson, the Green Campus Initiative advisor for the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Otteson attended the first ever Earth Day back in 1970, and has organized the festival for Syracuse in past years, he said. During his speech, Otteson discussed the history of Earth Day, how the Earth is being destroyed and lastly how we can still save it.

“It’s because it always has been and still is about us, the human species,” he said. Otteson's passion for sustainability shined through his speech, as he mentioned the countless species being displaced from their homes and how humans need to start thinking about them.

The day featured live bands, food trucks, crafts and guest speakers. The two food trucks, Toss ‘n’ Fire Wood-Fired Pizza and Lady Bug Lunch Box, both had lines with at least a 40 minute wait.

The headliner band, Pizza Party, offered some original rock tunes while SoulPlay had some slow renditions of popular songs, such as “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5.

The vendors were asked to use sustainable products such as paper or recyclable plastic. Creator ofRecycle My Heart Amanda Rogers took this to a new level with her fully recycled items ranging from clothes to jewelry and more.

“I save every scrap of material,” she said. “All of my clothes are made out of upcycled material.”

Earthfest was a way to enjoy nature, learn about how to preserve it and take action. Otteson shared one key way we can do this.

“It is now necessary that every answer to every question about planned human activity must include the clause: 'And yes. It is good for life on Earth,'” Otteson said. 

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