By Jade Inglada
Environmental conservation and wildlife protection were some of the concerns during Earth Day at East Los Angeles College’s Stadium Parking Lot last Wednesday.
A variety of groups set up booths for the event, from around Southern California to the local area, providing information about the environment and demonstrations.
Associate Dean of CalWORKS Angelica Toledo was in charge of planning the day.
“We hope that today’s program brings middle school and high school students interested in what college life is like while at the same time teaching them about the environment,” Toldeo said.
The California Technical Education Initiative (Senate Bill 70) Program funded the event, Toledo said. This explained the abundance of booths related to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics departments on campus.
Edward Alvarado, an ELAC engineering lab technician, ran a booth and discussed the advantages of solar panels using a small house model.
The model had four solar panels on its roof with a lamp pointed at them. The light from the lamp hit the solar panels and powered a small fan inside of the house. If the light was turned off or a hand was placed to block the light from reaching the panels, the fan would stop.
Alvarado told students the benefits to clean energy, especially solar power.
He said that solar panels store energy in batteries and these batteries provide power during the night or in times of low sunlight.
The Respiratory Therapy Department taught students about the importance of healthy lungs.
Attendees could try the lung function test, which consisted of blowing as hard as possible into a syringe type looking object that measured the strength of the lungs.
“I liked the booth about lung treatment because maybe it’s the same thing with Earth. We have to take care of our lungs from bad air like with we have to protect the Earth. I don’t think I’m ever going to smoke and I want to make my mom’s garden bigger,” 11-year-old Pilar Zamudor, a La Merced Intermediate student, said.
A group interested in the health of the ocean was the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
“The aquarium was established to inspire people to protect the ocean. We want to take a couple of extra steps to protect the animals in the ocean by reducing trash,” aquarium member Alfonso Montiel said. .
Montiel said it’s important to teach children how to conserve the oceans of the world because they will be the ones dealing with these matters in the future.
One group in particular, the Sierra Club, was there to inform locals about their campaign to save the Montebello Hills from fracking.
“Fracking is the pressure fracturing of rock by liquid. It is a very unclean process, and the possibility of poisonous chemicals contaminating water and air is extremely high,” Sierra Club volunteer Yvonne Watson said.
Although big oil companies insist that fracking is a safe process, a number of studies show that fracking can be a dangerous process that could threaten the health of those in area where it is done, Watson said.
“The Huffington Post recently did a story on drinking water that contaminated by fracking in the heartland. Many people were also becoming ill due to pollutants in the air that were released,” Watson said.
Adrian Wheeler, a volunteer at the Wildlife Waystation booth, described the organization’s goals and how it assists animals that have been taken out of the wild and mistreated as house pets or as some sort of attraction.
The animals taken in live in the waystation because they can no longer be raised in the wild. These animals in the waystation cannot hunt and do other things required for them to survive on their own.
Wheeler said that the booth’s goal was to teach the kids to respect the animals in nature and preach a message of coexistence. “If you respect them they will respect you,” Wheeler said.
Heal the Bay, another group concerned with protecting the ocean, attended the Earth Day event.
The nonprofit environmental organization is expanding to keep Southern California coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean.
Dana Murray, a Heal the Bay Marine Scientist, represented the organization.
“Heal the Bay wants everyone in the L.A. area to become hands on and do the little things that can save our ocean and beaches. If everyone simply recycles and throws away their trash into a trashcan so much harm will be saved,” Murray said.
Brittany Hauer, Kenneth Miranda, Cortez Serrato, Jose P. Bivian, Alma N. Maldonado, Ashley Leon and Maria C. Isidoro contributed to this story.