Earthdays promote green initiatives at UK


University of Kentucky student Shannon Frazer, pictured in the Kernel office on 10/14/09. Photo by Ed Matthews

Column by Shannon Frazer. Email [email protected].

I didn’t drive my car today. I planted trees at Lexington’s Liberty Park on Saturday. On Wednesday, I ate something local.

This isn’t just a string of environmental actions that I happened to take part in; they are all events in this year’s Earthdays in the Bluegrass (EDBG), sponsored by UK’s Office of Sustainability and UK Student Sustainability Council.

Since UK Green Thumb and Residence Life Recycling began the program in 2005, the ongoing challenge has been this: For the entire month of April, the campus community is encouraged to take part in various events that promote environmental awareness and action.

Events include cleaning area natural habitats like the Cane Run Watershed, attending lectures by notable guests about environmental topics and celebrating green initiatives already in place at UK and in the Lexington community.

New this year was the “Pedalpalooza,” which featured bike maintenance instruction, bike games and bike organizations and businesses in Lexington.

Considering the numerous opportunities EDBG has provided and will continue to host for the rest of April, I am proud to support and take part.

But, first and foremost, I appreciate the steps UK has already taken for the sake of sustainability.

For instance, the new Davis Marksbury Engineering building is certified by Leadership & Energy in Environmental Design (LEED), meaning the building meets standards and ratings for the green-ness and sustainability of its design. The Marksbury building is the first LEED certified building on campus. The Digital Village page on UK’s website said the Marksbury building saves 42 percent more energy than a non-LEED built-to-code building.

According to a March 22 Kernel article, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute as “the only Center of Excellence in Watershed Management in Kentucky and seventh in the Southeast,” and a $25 million energy efficiency and retrofit project has increased UK’s efficiency dramatically.

But let’s not forget the low grade UK received on its annual College Sustainability Report Card last October (C+). According to a Nov. 1 Kernel article, the grade had decreased from a B- in 2009’s assessment. Critics said the drop might be due to changing measurement guidelines.

The only advice I can offer to counter such an assessment is to continue to embrace green initiatives and do your part, whether that is to avoid driving your car, planting trees or eating something local.

Earth Day is this Friday. How are you going to participate?

For more information

Office of Sustainability:

UK Student Sustainability Council:

EDBG 2011 event calendar: