The University, along with several student groups, hosted multiple events in celebration of Earth Day 2021 under the banner of “Earth Week.”
Earth Day is held annually on April 22 and began in 1970 as a day for environmental protection awareness during the rise of environmentalism in the United States in the mid-20th century.
The University and student groups organized events from Monday, April 19 through Saturday, April 24. Events were held both virtually and in-person, with social distancing and other precautions in place, due to the continuing pandemic.
On April 19, Charles Widger School of Law professor Todd Aagaard hosted a talk titled "Climate (De)Regulation in the Courts.” The event was held virtually, and it discussed the current status of how climate change pollutants are being regulated in the United States.
On April 22, several events were held to celebrate Earth Day. There was a campus tree tour event in which the University’s horticulturalist provided information about the various trees around campus. The University and the Campus Activity Team hosted a sustainability themed edition of Nova Quiz at the Ellipse in the evening. Both of these events were held in-person with social distancing and other safety measures in place.
In addition to these events, the University hosted a keynote talk with Katharine Hayhoe titled “Christian, Climate and our Culture in the United States.” Hayhoe is a climate scientist, a professor in Public Policy and Public Law and co-director of the Climate Center at Texas Tech University. The event was held virtually via Zoom. The keynote focused on how climate change has ignited an intense reaction from several groups, including religious groups, leading to the misconception that Church and science cannot co-exist. As part of her keynote, Hayhoe made it clear that there is still hope for combating and overcoming climate change.
“There is no magic deadline [to climate change], there are deadlines that we humans have set,” Hayhoe said. “The reality is every choice counts, every year counts, every ton of carbon counts, it all counts, and that means that every decision we make has a chance to impact the world for the better.”
On April 23, the University hosted food trucks by the campus green with sustainable food options. On April 24, the Student Sustainability Committee hosted a t-shirt tie dye at the campus garden. The event was held in-person with social distancing and other safety measures in place. There was also a sustainability market with several vendors located by the campus green. That evening was the Open Mic for Justice event, which offered students the opportunity to express themselves through performance while promoting a social justice message. This event was held in-person at the Ellipse.
The University celebrated Earth Week as part of its commitment to sustainability. Its current sustainability campaign began in 2007 when University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The agreement was meant to address greenhouse gas emissions and the destabilization of the Earth’s climate.
The University looks to continue its commitment to sustainability by hosting more events promoting environmentalism and conservation in the future.