MARIETTA — Ria Uppalapati, a senior at Walton High School in Marietta and a board member of Keep Marietta Beautiful, has a passion for the environment.

As a student in the STEM program, she became interested in the sciences, especially environmental science. After spending several summers studying and researching environmental science and environmental economics, she was inspired to promote sustainability locally and make a change within the community.

Uppalapati founded Forever Earth, a nonprofit organization that strives to develop sustainable living and business practices in Marietta. It educates people about environmental issues and how their lifestyle affects on the planet, creates community gardens and hosts recycling drives for hazardous waste such as batteries and electronics.

The organization also promotes education worldwide by awarding sponsored scholarships to students with an interest in changing their community’s environmental practices.

Uppalapati’s research sparked an interest in the petroleum industry, which led her to write “In My Backyard: A Personal Story of the Devastating Effects of Petroleum on our Environment and Economy.” The book, listed on Amazon, educates people about how the oil and plastic industry harms both the environment and the economy.

The book is available at Amazon. She also has a podcast on www.mariettastories.com that talks about her plans with both the book and the nonprofit.

Upcoming Forever Earth events include:

♦ Sept. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. will be a wine tasting at Marietta Wine Market, 18 Powder Springs Street NW in Marietta. A $10 donation is requested.

♦ Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon will be a Battery & Electronics Recycling Drive at Custer Park, 545 Kenneth Marcus Way in Marietta. Accepted items include desktop computers, laptops, servers, LCD/LED monitors, tablets, game consoles, mobile devices, GPS, digital cameras, networking equipment and household batteries.

For more information, visit www.foreverearthinc.org.

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