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UT Arlington to get early start on Earth Day activities

News Release — 15 April 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Traci Peterson, (817) 272-9208, tpeterso@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - Planting trees, collecting electronic waste for recycling and learning how to use barrels to collect rainwater are a few of the ways that faculty, staff and students at The University of Texas at Arlington will mark Earth Day next week.

Earth Day activities

Participants in UT Arlington Earth Day activities can exchange something recyclable for an herb plant.

The celebration starts on Wednesday, April 20. From 8 a.m. to noon, volunteers will plant about 90 trees at locations across campus. The saplings were donated by the city of Arlington.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., several demonstrations – including aquaponic gardening, solar cooking and building rain retention systems – will happen on the University Center mall. Keith McHenry, cofounder of the Food Not Bombs movement, is also scheduled to speak on campus Wednesday. Earth Day is Friday, April 22.

“Earth Day reminds students and the campus community about how changes in their daily lives can help the planet,” said Meghna Tare, director of UT Arlington’s Office of Sustainability. “It brings a sense of commitment and responsibility towards planet Earth and motivates everyone to contribute towards keeping it sustainable.”

UT Arlington has launched several Earth-friendly initiatives in the past year, including car-sharing and bike programs. The bike program started in January when the Office of Sustainability chose 20 students to receive a bike for the semester and opened up a bike repair shop in one of the campus apartment buildings. The shop has become a busy place, both servicing the University-owned bikes and others owned by faculty, staff and students. Customers only pay for parts.

University faculty members also continue to address environmental issues in their work, with the results sometimes taking a surprising turn. Roger Meiners, Goolsby Distinguished Professor of Economics and chair of the UT Arlington Economics Department, recently co-authored a book called “The False Promise of Green Energy.”  The book offers a nearly unprecedented evaluation of claims by green energy and green jobs proponents that such emphasis can improve the economy and the environment, almost risk-free, by spending billions of dollars.

“Green energy projects are rarely pure research that could generate breakthroughs,” Meiners said. “We looked at the issue with the critical eye of economic analysis. There are too many unanswered questions, too many aspects of green energy that have not been checked.” More information is available here.

Some other UT Arlington professors conducting research with environmental themes include:

  • Laura Mydlarz, assistant professor of biology, is in the first year of a $409,537 National Science Foundation grant to study coral disease, especially associated with environmental stress and climate change. In her lab on campus, Mydlarz and her students are analyzing samples of Caribbean coral that they collect during summer field trips to Puerto Rico. She is working with researchers at the University of Puerto Rico and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Andrew Hunt, an assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, will soon begin testing a unique method for cleaning up dangerous lead contamination in urban soil with the help of a new $498,138 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Hunt will use a phosphate called Apatite II to treat plots of vacant land in New Orleans. Years of leaded gasoline use and repeated applications of lead-based paint to the outside of homes have left many areas in New Orleans and other urban environments with unsafe levels of lead in the soil, Hunt said. More information is available here.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of 33,800 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more. 

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