Live Earth Oklahoma
OKC Adventure District
On Saturday and Sunday, Oklahoma City will join cities around the globe in the Live Earth Festival. If organizers have their way, Oklahoma's event will be among the largest and most comprehensive.
Throughout the world, Live Earth festivals and charity runs will be held in such cities such as London and Montreal. Using entertainment events and activities, Live Earth's goal is to raise awareness about global environmental issues; 2010's focus is water scarcity and the solutions at local, national and global levels.
"This is the first time in Oklahoma City," said Chris Moler, executive producer of the in-state event. "What we are attempting to do is create the state's largest platform for people to take small steps to be more environmentally conscious."
It takes a village
Held at Remington Park and surrounding Adventure District locations, the festival will include the largest eco-village ever constructed in the state, according to the event's Web site, with numerous interactive eco-forums, educational programs and conservation demonstrations.
The eco-village is a walk-through exhibit, Moler said, that is both entertaining and educational.
"It's not something that's going to take all day to go through," he said, "but for people wanting information about options out there and how they can become part of the solution, the eco-village has a lot of good, fun information."
Seminars include topics such as "greening" everyday life and home, buying local, community gardening and composting. All events at the eco-village are free.
"People have a chance to get a better understanding about the role they can play to improve the planet," Moler said. "The eco-village is designed to help people in the long run to save money by buying better windows, by learning to recycle and reuse, by taking steps to cut down on utility bills. Simply, we're just there to share ideas that work."
The 6K Oklahoma Run for Water race is the festival's highlight. As the first "cup-less" race in the state, the run will coincide with other Live Earth Run For Water races globally. The route winds through the Adventure District, kicking off at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Softball Hall of Fame. Since the run is the weekend before the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, it also could serve as a training run for marathon runners, said Jeffrey Kidder, executive director of Live Earth Oklahoma and vice president of the board of directors for the OKC Memorial Marathon.
"Oklahoma runners will join literally millions of other runners globally to support awareness of water scarcity," Kidder said. "Approximately 190 countries and every continent are participating, and we expect to see about 3,000 sign up."
The cost to participate is $25, or $30 the day of the race, and a T-shirt is included. A portion of the proceeds from the Live Earth Oklahoma Run for Water will go to Safe Water 4 Kids and the Water 4 Foundation.
"This will also be the first race that won't have cups along the route," Moler added, saying runners are encouraged to bring their own water bottles or water packs. "We want to leave as little waste as possible."
The festival also features a 1K kids and family stroll that steps off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Oklahoma City Zoo. The cost of $10 includes a T-shirt and zoo admission.
"The Oklahoma City Zoo and Live Earth Oklahoma will also have the OKC Zoo Party for the Planet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to honor Earth Day," Moler said. "Kids are encouraged to carry their water with them as a way to understand that children in some parts of the world have to travel over four miles to even find a source of water for their families."
Live entertainment from local bands are planned, and Remington Park will host races that night.
"It'll be easy for families to take part in the children's run, the Run for Water and other events, and then just walk over to the eco-village," Moler said.
For more information, visit www.liveearthoklahoma.com. "Heide Brandes
photo Before Manna Energy installed a water treatment system, children at L'Esperance Orphanage in Mugonero, Rwanda, had to carry 40-plus-pound jerry cans more than 110 feet up a steep hill every day. photo John Michael Maas/Global Water Challenge