Earth Week 2001 took place this week featuring numerous events and activities organizers say were intended to raise awareness of environmental issues at Georgetown. Festivities culminated on Sunday, which was Earth Day, and were sponsored by GU Eco-Action, an environmental club on campus.
Eco-Action Co-president Mike Donohue (COL ’03) said for Earth Week and Earth Fest, Eco-Action has followed approximately the same model for the past couple of years.
“We try to squeeze in as many events related to environmental issues as possible in one week to gain exposure to the problems and solutions available concerning such issues,” Donohue said.
Organizers said that preparation for Earth Week was considerable.
“We have been planning for Earth Week all semester,” Elena McKee (SFS ’03), treasurer of Eco-Action, said.
All week long students could participate in “Spring Cleaning” by recycling their clothes by depositing them in marked boxes in every dorm.
McKee said, “We had a great schedule that combined both entertainment and information about why it is so important to take care of the Earth.”
According to McKee, “Earth Week is a time to celebrate our planet and to remind people to take care of it.”
On Tuesday, Glen Hurowitz, a climate campaigner with Greenpeace USA, gave a speech entitled, “Global Climate Change and Student Activism Under the Bush Administration.”
Also on Tuesday was a day-long fast and rally in front of the Burmese Embassy in support of Min Ko Naing, an imprisoned Burmese student leader.
“It really wasn’t difficult to go without food for 24 hours, especially when your hunger makes you think of someone who is suffering from that as well as 12 years of solitary confinement simply because he chose to stand up for what is right,” said Jacquelyn Firth (COL ’01), a member of Eco-Action.
Naing was sentenced to prison for 10 years in connection to anti-government protests in Burma. He was scheduled to be released in 1999 but is still imprisoned.
Students from 94 different schools around the globe, including the two major universities in Rangoon, participated in the fast. The Free Burma Coalition organized the rally with help from American University.
William Butler, a Georgetown law professor of environmental policy, joined with Julie Eisenhart from the Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice Program to speak Wednesday night about environmental justice and the anacostia river.
“I was very excited about the talk we sponsored on Wednesday night about the issues surrounding the highly polluted Anacostia River that runs through Southeastern D.C. It was very good,” Donohue said.
Movies were shown both Thursday and Friday night. Eco Action showed Dr. Seuss’ environmental commentary The Lorax on Thursday and Fern Gully on Friday.
“Square Earth” took place Saturday in Red Square and was hosted by GU Outdoor Education. Festivities included various outdoor activities and began at sundown and included an open mic and smores.
“Square Earth is new this year for Earth Week and was a ton of fun,” said Donohue.
“Earth Fest” commemorated the nationwide Earth Day Sunday and included a number of workshops. Those who participated learned about vegetarianism, how to give great massages, the art of yoga and Buddhist meditation.
Students tie-dyed shirts and admired their peers artwork at a student art show. A vegetarian barbeque was also held while students listened to music from Georgetown’s a capella groups and the pep band.
“Earth Day is an opportunity to get people talking about important issues that directly affect our present life and our future; the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the resource base that our economy relies upon,” Donohue said.