April 19, 2002

Activists Prepare for Earth Day Festivities

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Cornellians will celebrate Earth Day, the annual day of environmental awareness, for the 33rd time this Monday.


Cornell’s Earth Day celebration is sponsored by SAECO, Center for the Environment, CRESP, Caritas, United Progressives, Peaceful Justice, Ursus, Roots and Shoots, SNRC, Phi Sigma Pi, COE, Kyoto Now, Greens, COLA, Amnesty International, Educate for the Earth and Earth Rise.

The celebration, started by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, is “usually marked as a time where organizations take the time to speak on the status of the environment and the progress they have made in preserving it,” said Yiwei Wang ’04, an Earth Day organizer. “It’s main goal is to promote awareness and instill a sense of love and respect for our planet and its inhabitants,” Wang added.

“The CU Earth Day 2002 organizers hope to raise awareness about diverse environmental issues and local community activism,” said Vanessa Ulmer ’02. “Crucial to this goal is promoting an expanded understanding of ‘environmentalism’ that reaches beyond elite concerns to include issues of social justice and equity,” she added.

This year, Cornell’s celebration of Earth Day will consist of three events. Kicking of Monday, at 11 a.m. A Celebration of the Earth and Community Activism activity will be held on Ho Plaza. The event will feature speakers, open-microphone poetry from various campus and off-campus activist groups as well as live music from the White Pines and Cornell Percussion.

“The speakers are truly excellent,” said Christina Schiavoni ’02. “We hope that individuals will leave Ho Plaza with an understanding of the urgency of the issues presented, a sense of the interconnectedness of these issues, and a feeling of empowerment, determination and hope,” she added.

At 5 p.m., following the celebration on Ho Plaza, students are encouraged to attend the Hunger Banquet in the Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room, sponsored by the Phi Sigma Pi fraternity.

“Current world hunger issues in the United States and abroad will be discussed, focusing on the ways poverty and malnutrition affect people in various regions of the world,” said Wang.

The dinner will feature food from local Ithaca restaurants and cost $4, proceeds of which will be used to attempt to eliminate world hunger.

The final event of the day will be the State of the Earth Address in Anabel Taylor Auditorium at 7 p.m. The event will feature five speakers: Anke Wessels, Phil McMichael, Jane Mt. Pleasant, Mahesh Rangarajan and Leland Glenna, who will speak from diverse perspectives and share their greatest current environmental concerns.

“It will be a look at the ‘big picture’ with topics ranging from globalization, to hunger and food security, to climate change and international agreements,” said Schiavoni.

“Celebration is the way we give gratitude for what the Earth gives us and what we give each other for contributing to an ecologically sustainable world,” said Tony Del Plato, an Ithaca resident and environmental activist. “As grim as the situation looks right now for a sustainable world, celebration recharges our need to hope for a better world,” he added.

All Cornell students are encouraged to attend this Monday’s festivities.

Archived article by Marc Zawel