CANTON — The SUNY Canton Roos House will be going green on April 20.
A first-time event, the Green Living Fair, will be held there from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day.
A variety of vendors and displays have been lined up, including solar installers, wood pellet stoves, energy contractors, local farmers, food vendors, electric cars and hands-on activities for children.
Admission is free and visitors will receive a map that directs them around the fieldhouse. They’ll also get a checklist of 14 actions they can take to help reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Ann Heidenreich, the fair’s coordinator. “I think we’re going to have some prizes. There will be a lot of activities for kids to do. There will be electric vehicles there for people to look at.”
Several organizations, as well as local colleges, will also showcase what they’re doing in response to climate change.
“People coming into the fair will get a checklist of things they can do. Some are a bit surprising,” Ms. Heidenreich said.
For example, she said, when people get rid of a refrigerator or air conditioner they should make sure the refrigerant unit is removed and recycled.
“If all of those gases that have been produced in coolants escape into the atmosphere it’s really going to be bad,” she said.
She said refrigerators can be taken to one of St. Lawrence County’s four transfer stations, where the refrigerant is removed.
Some other actions on the list include planting a tree, reducing food waste, eating a plant-rich diet, driving less and installing LED lighting.
This year’s event will be similar, but not a repeat of energy fairs held several years ago by the Seedcorn organization and later by Community Energy Services, a not-for-profit organization that no longer exists.
“Over the years many people have said how much they miss it,” Ms. Heidenreich said. “I think it had a lot of impact. I think a lot of good things happened because of the information that came through the energy fair. It was a very popular event.”
The Green Living Fair will add a local-food component that wasn’t part of the energy fairs.
“The energy fair did not include the local agricultural community,” she said. “This fair is focused on both food and energy and specific actions people can take to reduce our emissions and support a local-food economy.”
Also, the fair will showcase what Canton and Potsdam municipal governments, educational institutions and local businesses are doing to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.
Canton and Potsdam are both Climate Smart Communities that have passed resolutions supporting the fair and encouraging residents to participate.
“We’re really looking carefully at what our municipalities can do,” Ms. Heidenreich said. “The town and village of Canton and the town and village of Potsdam have all committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They’ve taken specific action to do so.”
Those actions include reducing energy consumption, buying renewable energy, reducing food waste,recycling greenhouse gases from refrigeration, and land use planning that supports local agriculture and local farms.
“We are trying to build a local food economy so we don’t have to transport our food so far,” Ms. Heidenreich said.
The village of Canton is constructing a solar farm on Route 11 that eventually is supposed to supply 90 percent of the municipality’s electricity. Food waste from Canton Central’s school cafeteria is being taken to a digester at the Cornell Cooperative Extension farm, Route 68. The village also has replaced blowers at the wastewater treatment plant with more efficient equipment.
Rotting food produces methane that gets released in the atmosphere.
“Food waste is huge. A lot of energy goes into producing food and a lot of gases come out of decomposing food,” she said.”If you compost correctly, with a good mix, it’s not going to be so bad. The best thing is to separate it, put it in a digester and use the gas to heat something like a greenhouse.
She said the village of Canton plans to set up two drop-off points where people can bring their food waste.
For more information, Ms. Heidenreich can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE GIST OF IT
■ WHAT: A Green Energy Fair is being held to showcase ways to reduce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases and promote a healthier environment
■ WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20
■ WHERE: SUNY Canton’s Roos House, 34 Cornell Drive