Green-A-Thon – Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group

At the 2015, ’16, and ’17 Portage Green-A-Thons, Sierra Clubbers asked, “How green are you?”

Some of our visitors in ’15 and ’16 learned a few things.

At the 2015 Poratge Green-A-Thon, Sierra Clubbers asked, "How Green Are You?"

The Southwest Michigan Group’s poster at the 2015 and 2016 Portage Green-A-Thons

Many who came to Celery Flats for the Sixth Annual Portage Green-A-Thon and took the Sierra Club Test were genuinely surprised to learn about the Pacific Garbage Patch.

“Is the answer, B? In Hawaii?”

No, it’s D, out in the middle of the ocean. Do you know how big it is?

“I’ll say…um, A. About the size of Kalamazoo County.”

The answer is C. About twice the size of Texas.

“Really? A floating island of plastic trash twice the size of Texas? Out in the ocean?”

Yes, And there are about five more just like it, only not quite as big.

“Oh. Emm. Gee!”

All our visitors got a few gentle, good-humored reminders.

Green-A-Thon name tag

Those who took the test had to promise they’d wear their name tag, no matter what their score was.

  • Overusing your cellphone does run up your electric bill if you need to recharge it too often.
  • Using the right light bulbs saves energy.
  • Don’t forget to recycle your plastic.

No one scored lower than 8 on their test, and we all had fun!

For the 2017 Green-A-Thon, we changed the test questions

Our test for the previous two Green-A-Thons asked how much people knew about what’s happening to our environment. This year our questions aimed at finding how good people are at actually living green. Here are a few things we learned.

  • Portagers are good recyclers. People love Portage’s excellent free single-stream recycling program and most of the test takers claimed to be “almost perfect” at taking advantage of the program.
  • Almost everyone has completely transitioned from inefficient incandescent light bulbs to LEDs.
  • No one got the fifty-point bonus for having wind- or solar-powered electricity.
  • Only one person got the fifty-point bonus for abandoning the gas pumps for an electric car.

On a ten-point scale, the average score was nine-plus, and no one scored below seven. Way to live green, Portage!

Here we are at the 2017 Portage Green-A-Thon

Scenes from the 2015 Green-A-Thon

We made the 2016 Green-A-Thon two celebrations  in one.

Sierra Club founder John Muir had a birthday two days before the seventh annual Green-A-Thon on April 23. We celebrated with a cake that Kathy Van Deusen brought. A free piece went to anyone who guessed John Muir’s age. The catch was, they had to be within 100 years of the correct answer, and Kathy was generous with her clues.

Many who took our “How Green Are You?” test became dismayed when they learned how much water a frack well uses. We sent them to Karen Schuur. She was on hand collecting signatures for the petition to put a fracking ban legislative initiative on Michigan’s November ballot.

Charlie Stefanac set up a Sierra Club merchandise table with hats, shirts, backpacks, and other items, along with a donation jar.

Ray Mickus was on hand helping out. Kim Gabriele came by. Bruce Brown took the photos in the slide show below. All of us had a great time!