This week UWM has been celebrating Earth Week. Not content to spend a mere 24 hours honoring the planet we call home, the university has been discussing our addiction to plastics, our dilemmas with clean water, displaying environmental art projects in the Harambee neighborhood, recycled fashion and much, much more.
Yesterday's presentations were meant to be outside in the Spaights Plaza with live music and a potato bar, but the semi-bad weather forced everything in doors. It's okay, Mother Earth, we don't hold it against you.
During Earth Week I had the privilege of representing the Milwaukee Bicycle Co-op. Normally the operation is housed in a modest loft at 29th and Clybourn street, but we hauled a bike stand, some wrenches, screwdrivers, tire levers and freewheel tools to bring bike school to the East Side and spread the word about the organization.
The Milwaukee Bicycle Co-op helps cyclists to learn more about their bikes by teaching general maintenance and best practice issues. It provides bikes for a reasonable donation to those who are less able to afford new ones, and gives away children's bikes to those in need. Volunteers and donations of bikes, money and time are always welcome. In addition to promoting awareness for the co-op we also discussed plans for tonight's Critical Mass and the In Click news-aggregating site, Cycling Chainring.
There were several other green groups giving presentations and offering information on how to help out the planet, too. The Victory Garden Initiative and Milwaukee Urban Gardens are planning a "garden blitz" for Memorial Day Weekend in which volunteers will install gardens in private homes, rooftop gardens, community gardens and schools. The Wellspring Community Supported Agriculture group offered information and opportunity to benefit from community farmers, including getting your hands on such foods as pea pods, beets, asparagus, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, tomatoes, parsley, garlic and on and on and on.
Walnut Way had information on working to sustain economically diverse and abundant communities by promoting the transforming of private and vacant lots into productive gardens, archiving and sharing local historical documents, providing soil remediation, and connecting with neighborhood youth.
Earth Day may have come and gone and UWM's Earth Week may be on its way out, but you can continue to support and improve the places we live, even in the smallest of ways. There are plenty of green activities to suit just about any Milwaukee citizen who doesn't mind a little dirt or grease under their nails.
Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.
In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.
Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.