May 15, 2012
Parada del Planeta (Parade for the Planet)
By Jennifer Aquino & Julio Renta
On Thursday April 26, 2012, at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (UPRM), the Parade for the planet took place. The activity consisted of a march from José De Diego building where the Rector has his office and made its way onto the Student Center. The purpose of the activity was to create awareness among the students of the UPRM, on how we must help preserve our planet and its resources. The students were presented with a wide assortment of products all made from recycled and organic materials. Handouts were given with ways to help the environment so future generations will have a better Puerto Rico and a better world.
Alongside the eco-friendly activity there was also a cultural presentation. This thanks to the participation of the university Band and a group of “Bomba” and “Plena” musicians and dancers. This gave the students an opportunity to get in touch with a piece of our cultural heritage. This took place in the third floor of the student center, here is where the march for the planet ended and the cultural activity began. Student associations such as Campus Verde had booths. “We are looking for ways to stop global warming to help the planet and your health, this by producing many organic replacements for products already available and that harm the environment,” as said by Zair D. Torres, who is a developer in international marketing.
Some ways to reduce the effects of global warming mentioned by Campus Verde are: to eat less red meat, this is necessary because raising livestock produces more greenhouse gasses than all the motor vehicles in the world combined. Also, consuming local products in your community, this way you avoid using a car excessively and polluting less. The consumption of organic products is recommended, these products don’t have preservatives and chemicals in their structure that can potentially harm the human being. Canned products are a hazard because once they are disposed many companies that do recycling do not accept these cans, and an interesting fact is that aluminum in cans is associated with Alzheimer.
Other ways to help our environment include, cooking efficiently, it is recommended to use pots and pans that don’t contain aluminum. Instead they should be pressurized pans, these can cook a meal in around 15 minutes quicker than the other ones mentioned. This will help you consume less electricity or propane gas depending on your stove. Some other comestibles that can be avoided are those refined because their production sends a great amount of gas emissions into the atmosphere. Maintaining a balanced diet will lead you to eat healthier and consume fewer food servings and this leads to the production of less products.
To further develop a cleaner environment and also reduce the amount of money you’re spending, Campus Verde made some interesting suggestions. If you follow the following steps you could save around $2,000 USD by the end of the year. Disconnecting electric appliances, these consume energy while they are connected even if they are not in use. Disconnecting your cellphone charger will save you from $120 to $500 dollars. Some other products you could disconnect if not being used are: computer, television set, water heater, air conditioner, among others. The use of fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LED) reduce drastically the energy consumption in a household, saving from $600 to $750 USD a year in a typical home.The use of rechargeable batteries can help save close to $100 USD for each used.
Riding a bicycle, walking, using public transportation also help reduce the amount of money you spend in gasoline and helps have less cars in the streets. Not leaving the water faucet running while not being used can help save hundreds of dollars as well as changing your faucets to those that are 1.6 GPM (Gallons per minute). Avoid using industrially made cleaners and detergents and find organic replacements which harm our environment less. Don’t use disposable plates, utensils made of plastic, paper and Styrofoam, these have been related to cancer and other illnesses. Use cloth towels instead of paper towels this can help you save close to $30 USD a year.
Buying a solar water heater can be a costly thing at the moment but it is a money saver in the long run and you will recuperate the cost in three years. Try paying your bills online or by phone and to receive payments by direct deposit thus reducing the amount of paper being used on these transactions, and also saving money because most cellphone companies charge you for sending a printed bill.
Campus Verde. distributed a wide variety of informative flyers with various topics like the ones already mentioned. Some very interesting ones inform the community about recipes to produce organic products. Some of these products are insect repellents for the garden, repellents forants and roaches, window cleaner, mosquito repellent, dishwashing detergent, all surface cleaner, skin lotion, anti-bacterial cleaner, among others.
The activity also included artistic representations by the Colegio band and the flag carriers. The director of band and orchestra, Mr. Edgar Vélez Montes, expressed “we feel proud of transmitting culture in the form of music with some of the most talented students in the UPR system.” They strive to prepare these students in the education of the fine arts. They maintain a musical program in which the students participate in the musical groups, this way they gather a broader knowledge in different types of music from classical to modern. During the year they give concerts and social activities to demonstrate how prepared and talented the members of the band and orchestra are. The Colegio Band and orchestra have travelled to different states in the United States of America, to Europe and in Latin America (Dominican Republic, Venezuela) to represent the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. Josué Rodríguez, a member of the band, told us “The march was long but for a very noble cause, it is very important for us to transmit this message and let everyone know that the planet needs us as much as we need it.”
One of the most interesting and culturally rich activities was the interpretation of Bomba and Plena, which are two musical genres created in Puerto Rico by slaves during the Spanish rule, showing our African heritage and how it is still present in our culture. Sandra Santiago who was the principal Bomba dancer and that has been dancing for 26 years expressed “that Bomba and Plena run through my veins and the sound of the beating drums fills me with emotion, it doesn’t matter if I’m is black or white as a Puerto Rican woman I’m proud to transmit the joy this music gives me.”
The activity had four tables with artisanal crafts who were selling jewelry, figurines, key chains, crafts and picture holders all depicting Puerto Rican historic moments and traditions. One of the artisanal craftsmen present was Antonio Ortiz who said “I’ve been working on this art form since September1998; I work a technique called “piro grabado” (engraving) and mostly use wood as a canvas.” Mr. Ortiz is a commercial artist and worked on the design of media advertisements but the evolution of technology brought his business down and this lead him to work in artisanal crafts. Most of his works are done in recycled wood and everything that is left over in a project is always used, nothing is thrown away.
This activity brought the students and various people from the community closer to understanding how much we can do to reduce global warming. They were given alternative products to use instead of mainstream commercial products. They were shown a realistic way to reduce costs and save money. It was a fun, distracting activity for the students where they also had a change to get acquainted with Bomba and Plena and to appreciate the beauty, hard work and effort people in artisanal crafts do.
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