The Campus Environmental Center held its annual Earth Day Carnival on Friday, hosting multiple environmentally-focused organizations and giving prizes to students who explored the stations.
Marcela Montemayor, geography junior and co-director of the Center, said the event served to educate students about sustainable programs going on around campus, such as the Orange Bike Project and Longhorn Lights Out.
“Today is a celebration of Earth Day and all the sustainability initiatives that help keep our campus a green and healthy place,” Montemayor said. “We partnered with a lot of different organizations and departments on campus to come table and students have learned a lot.”
Neuroscience freshman Lucero Castaneda and nutrition junior Yesenia Ramirez tabled at the event with their organization, Students Against Cruelty of Animals, which advocates against the use of animal products.
“Our focus is helping the environment and animals,” Castaneda said. “Because of humans, animals are the biggest producers of CO2 emissions and methane [emissions].”
Ramirez said many students are unaware of the impact consuming meat has on the environment.
“People think that helping the environment means taking shorter showers or riding the bus instead of driving a car,” Ramirez said. “But people don’t know that one pound of beef [takes] 2500 gallons of water to produce. That’s about 180 showers. If you want to save the planet, a vegan lifestyle is the best way to go.”
Karen Blaney, assistant manager of the Office of Sustainability, said UT has prioritized a green campus for decades.
“UT has been doing [this] way longer than people have been talking about sustainability,” Blaney said. “We’ve had energy programs and water programs since the ’80s. We take care of our trees and landscape in a sustainable fashion. What [the Office of Sustainability] has done in the past eight to nine years is consolidate the programs and put an umbrella over it and called it sustainability.”
Montemayor said sustainability is any approach for a project with the future of the environment in mind.
“For something to be sustainable, it is long lasting and able to sustain itself for a certain period of time,” Montemayor said. “This pertains to buildings but also your lifestyle, like ‘Are you eating healthy? Are you eating local? Are you helping out your community?’ All these things go into a sustainable lifestyle.”