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Spruce Street Marketplace celebrates Earth Day

MORGANTOWN — Saturday marked the celebration of Earth Day around the globe. In Morgantown, families gathered at the Spruce Street Marketplace to commemorate the environmentally friendly holiday. There were some activities for kids, and various local groups came out to discuss their love and concern for the environment.
Some organizations included Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership School. From the latter, Liz Wiles, public relations and operations manager, spoke about the students’ work in creating monarch butterfly habitats. In recent years, the monarch butterfly as a species has been threatened, and population has dwindled so much they run the risk of being put on the list of endangered species.
There were also many candidates running for office available to talk to the public about their environmental concerns. Evan Hansen, who is running for House of Delegates, spoke to children about how science plays a valuable role in government and how scientists have value in all three branches of the government.
Other organizations in attendance were the Morgantown Bike Board, The West Virginia Botanic Garden and the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia.
Tom Rodd, from Friends of Blackwater, was there to teach kids about the atmosphere and greenhouse gases.
Friends of Blackwater is a conservation group working to protect Blackwater Canyon. They also have programs devoted to children’s education called Kitchen Klimate Science. It offers hands-on activities for children and teaches them about global warming and climate change.
“We try to focus on how greenhouse gases are warming the planet, it’s a good thing in moderation, but when we overdo it, it’s dangerous. You sort of have to understand that the atmosphere is very sensitive,” Rodd said.
Rodd said it’s difficult to understand the idea of the atmosphere, and even adults have a hard time understanding its importance. He said obviously these kids have parents who are worried about their future, so when they see kids paying attention to the issue, it also shows parents the importance, too.
He also said technology lends a hand in impacting the environment. He said we have created fabulous technology that really helps us a lot, but it’s also got its risks and its downsides, so managing those is just as important as the positive things.
“Take a place like Morgantown. This is where the technology is being invented and discovered, so there’s a lot of people here who really want to manage technology better,” he said.
Managing the way we handle greenhouse gases is a difficult situation, but Rodd emphasized the subject is not going away time soon.
“We have to stop putting so many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We have to switch over to low carbon energy. It’s going to be really tough, but we don’t have any choice,” Rodd said.
He said celebrating things like Earth Day helps get kids interested and introduced to the importance of the atmosphere. He said his generation was not as careful about environmental issues, but teaching the youth about climate change, as well as adults, is key. He said our best hope is to slow the growth of greenhouse gases.
“This may be kind of our last chance. Once you put it in there, it’s really hard to get it out, that’s the problem,” he said.