April 22, 2003

Cornell Celebrates Earth Day

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Cornell students will gather today to celebrate the 34th annual Earth Day. Organizers have planned a number of events throughout the day, including music, lectures and demonstrations.

This year’s activities will focus on implementing environmentally friendly technology, protecting natural ecosystems and creating clean and sustainable communities.

“The goal is to make students aware of the different organizations on campus and the impact that just small numbers of students can have,” said organizer Erica Esser ’05.

The Earth Day festivities will open at 11:30 a.m. on Ho Plaza with a performance by the local band Purple Grip and free food offered by the Cornell Vegetarians. Shortly afterward, at 12:20 p.m., a pair of lectures will be given in the Straight Memorial Room by Prof. Jamie Lynn Vanucchi-Hartung, landscape architecture, and Prof. Kate Whitlock, molecular biology and genetics.

Athletes will have a chance to partake in the day’s events at 4:45 p.m., when they can join in the 5K Run for the Earth at the Plantation’s Arboretum. Those interested in registering for the run can do so online at www.geocities.com/earthdaybash. While there is a $10 registration fee, runners will receive a free t-shirt for their participation.

A variety of shows and demonstrations will be held on the Arts Quad and Ho Plaza throughout the afternoon, including an art show, musical acts and environmental technology demonstrations.

Closing out the event at 6 p.m. is a showing of the movie Pantanal: Lifewaters, a film which details the Pantanal wetlands and the threat they face from a planned industrial waterway. The showing and subsequent discussion will be organized by Tom Safford grad and will be presented in Warren 245.

The Earth Day activities will not end on Tuesday; a handful of lectures have been scheduled for later on in the week. These include talks by Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface Corporation, and Gregory Kiss of Kiss and Cathcart Architects. Anderson’s lecture will be held on April 25 at 2 p.m. in Uris Auditorium, while Kiss’s talk will occur on April 23 at 6 p.m. in Olin 155. They will address issues of ecological planning and sustainability in business and construction, respectively.

The Cornell Earth Day celebration is being sponsored by the Society for Natural Resources Conservation and Roots and Shoots, an environmental and humanitarian organization created by former A. D. White Professor-at-Large Jane Goodall. The Ecology House, Just About Music and Collegetown Bagels have all made small donations on behalf of the event.

Whitlock shared her reasons for supporting the event, saying, “I think it is important to bring people’s attention to the rather dire state that the environment is in right now: the pollution of land and water and also the destruction of species.”

Whitlock pointed out that a recent issue of the journal Nature warned of an imminent extinction of chimpanzees and gorillas.

“I teach biology, and students do not realize this,” she said. “We still have a chance to fix [these problems].”

Rob Garrity grad, a designer of renewable energy systems, hopes Earth Day will help students “to join in the momentum of a building consciousness and learn how human actions relate to the living systems of the earth.”

Archived article by Jeff Sickelco