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NOVA-Annandale hosts Annual Green Festival

Sandra Postel

National Geographic’s Sandra Postel speaks during the 2017 Green Festival at the Ernst Center at the Annandale Campus.

More than 300 students and community members registered to participate in the 2017 Green Festival on April 26 at the Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center at the Annandale Campus. The festival included panel discussions, an information fair, a screening of the film A Plastic Ocean, giveaways, a raffle for a kayak and a keynote address from National Geographic’s Sandra Postel.

Green Festival takes place every year in an effort to celebrate Earth Day and inform the community about water issues and other environmental concerns and how they can help improve those issues. During his introduction, NOVA Sustainability Officer Rob Johnson said the purpose of the Green Festival is to highlight, educate and discuss the issues with the community.

Postel is an author and leading authority on international water issues. Her previous works include Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last? and Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity along with more than 100 articles for scholarly publications. Postel also co-founded and contributes to National Geographic’s freshwater blog, “Water Currents.”

The subject of Postel’s address was “Water Connects Us All,” and she discussed water issues in the United States and around the world. Postel explained that everything is connected by water, and it’s up to the people to make a difference.

“All things are connected by water. The important thing to remember is our water story is still being written,” Postel said. “In my work, I focus on how we can change that narrative about water so it can have a more positive ending.”

Postel also included in her talk examples of major rivers drying up such as the Colorado River, the Murray River in Australia and the Rio Grande River. She also mentioned the shrinking wetlands – including the Chesapeake Bay – which are affecting wildlife and fisheries.

Postel explained that it takes 700 gallons of water to make one cotton shirt and 330 gallons to make one margarita pizza. “If you multiply that by the billions of people around the world, then you can understand why we have some of the issues we have today,” she said. Postel said it’s important for us to work with nature to build adaptability and resilience in an effort to resolve water issues.

“There are two things we need to do. The first thing is figure out how to live happy, healthy, productive lives while shrinking our water footprint,” she said. “This is a personal and societal challenge. We need to conserve more water and pollute less on farms, in factories and at home. The second thing is to figure out how to return water to our environment and back into our rivers and get them healthy and flowing again. Working together, we can change the course of our water story.”

Northern Virginia Community College has celebrated nature and national parks for many years by partnering with Fairfax County for Arbor Day celebrations before creating the Green Festival four years ago. This year’s event would not have been as successful without the contributions of the 50 student volunteers from the parks and recreation program, Johnson, Campus Renovations Coordinator Cheryl Robinette and other faculty and staff who helped during registration and throughout the event.


Media Contact: Raytevia Evans | 703.425.5839 | revans@nvcc.edu

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.