Earth Day may be only April 22, but throughout April NYU is celebrating the 46th anniversary of the holiday with eco-friendly events including clothing swaps, presentations by guest speakers and environment-themed plays.
The program will conclude on April 30 with the meeting of the Sustainability Task Force, a body of activists interested in improving environmental sustainability and increasing awareness, to discuss green projects on campus.
The organizers of the events hope to generate awareness of environmental issues, educate the student body and provide hands on opportunities for students to get involved with environmental initiatives.
[email protected] helped organize many of the events along with individual clubs and interest groups, and the NYU Office of Sustainability consolidated all the events in the calendar.
The New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy sponsored a talk by Barbara Kates-Garnick of the Center for International Environment and Resources Policy at Tufts University on April 8 about how the public can improve the way it produces and consumes energy.
Events even included service activities, such as Let’s Get Earthy, where students helped prepare garden beds, transplant seedlings and construct a new shed on April 11. CAS junior Lila Carpenter attended the event and said she felt that spending time gardening was a great, tangible way to spread environmental awareness.
“I think that any and every connection to nature helps to reinforce its importance to our lives, and remind us where our food comes from,” Carpenter said. “Having the chance to help out the Community Agriculture Club was a lot of fun and a good excuse to relax outside, but also reminded me of what we’re fighting for.”
Gallatin junior and Vice President of [email protected] Emma Spett hosted an event on April 16 with guest speaker Andrew Revkin. Spett said she hopes Revkin’s talk inspires people to make small, helpful adjustments to their day-to-day lives.
“As a columnist for The New York Times, he gave an interesting look into the evolution of how the public perceives environmental issues, as well as the different needs that the movement requires in order to gain and keep momentum,” Spett said. “Our hope is that individuals who participate in our events will begin to understand the urgency of our current environmental state, as well as personal ways to begin living a lower-impact lifestyle.”
Spett added that positive change could come about as long as activists continue fighting to provide avenues for people to learn more about the environment.
“If students are able to find opportunities to get involved and make change, then we have achieved what we seek to do with the Earth Month programs,” Spett said.
The university has also established committees to oversee the process of making NYU buildings more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Bonnie Brown, the facilitator of the Bobst Library Sustainability Committee, said more events such as the ones featured in this month-long tribute are needed at NYU.
“Earth Day should be every day, but I believe that the events related to saving our environment are extremely helpful because they bring together the NYU community and beyond in order to discuss these issues and talk to one
another,” Brown said. “The task to save our planet is daunting, of course, but when I get together with people like myself who care so much, I feel like we can really make a difference and we do.”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 21 print edition. Email Christine Wang at [email protected]