Earth Week Celebration offers a full calendar of events

Earth Week 2016 is here, and it offers a full slate of activities for anyone wishing to learn more about the hottest environmental issues of the day.

The University of Oregon has hosted an Earth Day event every year since 1970, the year that Earth Day was instituted. This year, a handful of volunteers coordinated 42 different groups to host 23 events starting Monday April 18 and concluding with Earth Day on Friday and a day of service opportunities on Saturday April 23.

“It’s something we should be really proud of,” Amber Erkan, an Earth Week coordinator, said. “We have been celebrating it since Earth Day started. It’s a deeply rooted tradition.”

While the environmental movement has picked up considerable momentum in recent years, its roots in the American culture are much deeper.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans and thousands of colleges expressed bipartisan support for Earth Day, a movement that placed a higher value on the environment as a whole. That spirit of care for the world and support to preserve the environment continues today.

“Sustainability is important to every human on this planet,” Erkan said, “and that’s why Earth Week is really important. Bringing together the UO community and the greater Eugene community is how we can play our part.”

The goal of the week is to educate and bring awareness to students who have not taken an active role in environmental groups. Workshops, crafts, film screenings, lectures and freebies are all on tap for anyone interested in attending this week.

Tackling the role that the agriculture industry has on climate change, the UO Cultural Forum, Eugene Veg Education Network and the student sustainability center will be holding a discussion about decreasing meat and dairy consumption.

The Divest UO group has been battling with administration recently. The group’s Johnson Hall sit-in will conclude with a political theater event on Thursday afternoon. Joey Ng is organizing a “wedding” that brings together major fossil fuel players and the university, spreading the love and shedding light on the relationships that flood academic financial agenda.

“We want to use this type of guerilla theater to bring the community together,” Ng said in an email. The team organizing the wedding is small, only about 10 members of the Climate Justice League. Other student groups will play important roles in the “ceremony.”

Viewer interaction will be encouraged because, “Students and staff are essentially one of the families involved in the marriage, so their expressions of favor or disapproval is welcome during the event.”

The gloom and doom normally associated with environmental issues is being rejected and will be replaced with a celebration of the planet.

“Students are learning about these issues in a negative context,” Erkan explained. “And this [event] will get them to have fun learning about them.”


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Max Thornberry

Max Thornberry

Senior News Editor. Baseball Fan. Martial Artist. Lover of books and words. Follow him on Twitter @Max_Thornberry

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