Earth Week inspires change through media, discussions

This year, students have become involved with Earth Week activities in a broad capacity. According to EcoHouse liaison junior Jason Phillips, this year’s Earth Week was designed to “spread awareness of the relationship between sustainability and social justice, as we focus on local environmental issues in Geneseo.”

The idea is to not only get students involved, but inform them of the many issues occurring with our Earth today. The events also gave students the initiative to pitch in.

Each day had a different theme, focusing on one specific issue in detail. Sustainability was addressed on Monday April 21.

“We had a Sustainability Expo in the [College Union] where a collaboration of different clubs gave information on different environmental issues,” Phillips said.

Professors also spoke out at a panel about the connection between sustainability and social justice.

The panel consisted of Ella Cline Shear School of Education professor Jane Fowler Morse, Distinguished Service Professor of Geological Sciences Richard Young, professor of biology Gregg Hartvigsen, lecturer in political science and international relations Jeremy Grace and associate professor of psychology James Allen.

The group spoke about their backgrounds in sustainability and social justice on a global scale and “really explored the different and perhaps unnoticed relations that those issues have in the courses that we take at Geneseo … [and] the common assumptions, practices and ways of living that we take for granted in our society, how those choices and decisions have an environmental and social impact,” Phillips said.

Intersectionality was the focus on Tuesday April 22. There was also an off-campus living fair providing information on living sustainably off-campus. Guest speaker Esteban Kelly spoke in Sturges Auditorium about anti-oppression training. Kelly is a community organizer and radical geographer who works with Philly Stands Up and Philly Dudes Collective. The workshop included information on standing up to environmental injustice.

According to Phillips, “the dynamic and participatory workshop explored how systems of oppression indisputably shape the environment, including crises and inequalities around wilderness, trade, fuel and energy, landscapes, climate, waste and access to clean water, air and food.”

Earth Week’s Consumption day was on Wednesday April 23. There was a dumpster dive on the Union patio where students dug through the garbage of each building to see how much could have been recycled. The water bottle display in the Union represents the 750 bottles used in the United States every half-second.

Earth Week also included a screening of the film No Impact Man. The documentary showcased a New York City family attempting to make no net environmental impact for a year.

Divestment was the focus on Thursday April 24. According to Phillips, divestment is “an initiative to take investments out of companies that support fossil fuel industry and support more environmentally and socially responsible ones.” There was a screening of the documentary Do The Math, titled in regards to the terrifying numbers behind climate change and the growing international move to stop it.

Phillips described the film as “explaining all about the divestment movement.” Bill McKibben, the founder of, submitted a personal message to the Geneseo community about the film and divestment.

On Friday April 25 there will be a visual petition in the Union lobby and a carbon-free concert on the ISC patio at 5 p.m. to conclude Earth Week.