Every year on April 22nd, people around the globe join together for the common cause of speaking up for the environment and celebrating the earth. The idea originally came from Earth Day founder, Gaylord Nelson, former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after he witnessed the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. As a result, 20 million Americans rallied together in streets, parks, and auditoriums in support of a healthy environment. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests and now, to this day, remembering our planet on April 22nd is an important annual tradition within the collegiate community.
There are several events scheduled this week in celebration of Earth Day 2012, which are open for all to attend. A poster summarizing all of the festivities is available to download, print, and share at http://www.rochester.edu/sustainability/pdf/EarthDayPoster2012.pdf.
Two students, freshman Alice Chen and senior Edith Hanson, have taken the lead in spearheading this special series of events. The program is a collaborative effort of several groups on campus including Grassroots, Greenspace, Engineers for a Sustainable World, Global Water Brigades, Arboretum Committee, Team Green, Dining Services, UR Microfarm, Hajim School of Engineering, Kappa Delta and Golden Key Society.
The theme for this year is “Local”, thus the activities will highlight food and goods local to the greater Rochester area. On Thursday the 19th, there is a 100% Local Dinner, at the Meliora, brought to you by University Dining Services. On Friday the 20th, Dining Services in conjunction with Waste Management, will be holding its first ever Waste-Free Lunch in Douglass Dining Hall at which all food waste, napkins, and packaging material will be either composted or recycled.
A full day of festivities will take place on Saturday the 21st starting with a tree tour of the University’s Arboretum at 10:00 a.m. The tour will feature unique, unusual, and prized specimens and will be immediately followed by a tree planting and Genesee River cleanup at 11:00. A Local Food Market will be held in Wilson Quad from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. The market will feature local vendors with products to sample, so you can bring home some of the finest selections New York has to offer. There will be performances by several groups on campus such as the Midnight Ramblers, NJR, and Trebellious just to name a few. A t-shirt tie-dye table will also be available along with other informational tables. The t-shirt for this year’s festival was designed by freshman Ben Eshleman.
Some special guest speakers will also be featured. Chris Hartmann, co-founder of Good Food Collective, will speak from 12:30pm to 1:30 p.m. Then at 5:00 p.m., Dr. Karen Masters and forestry engineer Guillermo Vargas, will be speaking on organic/co-operative farming in Costa Rica. To wind things down on Sunday the 22nd, there will be a free screening of the movie One Day on Earth at 4:00 p.m. in Hoyt Auditorium.
Remember, ‘going green’ is not just for Earth Day. Green living should be a part of our everyday lives. The University of Rochester launched its Go Green Pledge on Earth Day 2009 in effort to inspire and encourage individuals within the University community to be actively sustainable. If you have not yet taken the Go Green Pledge, it is a great way to show your commitment to sustainability. We also are encouraging students and staff to join the Earth Day Network’s Billion Acts of Green, where people from around the world can sign up and pledge to change something in their lives, such as walking to the store rather than taking the car or turning off the light when one exits the room.
For more things to do, to help spread awareness, and be a part of this great Earth Day movement check out the following links: