Amber Adams worries about your sense of smell. Many of today's air fresheners, she says, are coating your nasal passages with an oily film that could one day dampen your nose's ability to fully take in the scent of a rose or a batch of fresh-baked cookies.
"Humans are kind of careless," said Adams, 15, a sophomore at Cox Mill High School. "We keep doing all of these things and we don't really think about how they're affecting not only the earth and the animals there, but ourselves.
"Through toxins, we are unintentionally poisoning ourselves."
Adams is one of the 60 exhibitors and vendors planning to set up shop this Saturday at North Cabarrus Park in Concord for the second annual Viva Verde Earth Fest.
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A joint venture between the cities of Concord and Kannapolis, who have partnered with Cabarrus County, the event focuses on ways to become better stewards of the environment.
Saturday's activities will include children's crafts, food vendors, several musicians, organic products, book and plant swaps and numerous unique recycling centers.
"The festival's purpose and objective is to increase awareness and education about our environment and our impact on our earth's resources," said Becky Tolle, recreation and special events coordinator for the city of Kannapolis.
Last year, nearly 800 people came to Viva Verde Earth Fest. A good turnout, but a number Tolle believes might have been higher if the weather had cooperated. She expects more people this year if the weather holds out.
Numerous recycling centers will be set up throughout the park. Bring old electric appliances and electronics to be recycled, from microwaves and computer monitors to old blenders.
A shredding center will also be on hand to securely shred paper documents.
Even dead batteries, from the kinds that go in cars to the ones that run your TV remote, can be recycled at the festival.
Adams' booth will have soup cans and construction paper available to decorate and turn into in-home recycling centers for batteries. "Instead of putting them in the trash can, they have a cute little thing to put them in," Adams said. She'll also have a list of places that accept and recycle dead batteries.
"She really is unique," said Tolle of Adams. "She has a passion for the environment."
Tolle said all age groups were encouraged to join the event. Other exhibitors include a home-school association and members of a karate center who have worked on various beautification projects throughout the county.
"I've always been interested in living green," said Adams, who recalls her interest sparking during a fifth-grade unit on the environment.
Since August, she has been working toward earning the Gold Award, a Girl Scout's highest honor, by educating the public on environmental toxins. She watched the surprise on many Girl Scouts' faces recently when they learned of the chemicals in some of their favorite cereals during a toxin-finding scavenger hunt at a local grocery store.
"I want people to be more aware. I care about the future," said Adams.