Salem State University will celebrate the 51st anniversary of Earth Day with a series of virtual events beginning on April 12 and running through April 27, 2021. The events will feature a wide range of talks, panel discussions, films, and interactive activities including the Earth Days research poster competition, which draws entries from students across all disciplines. All events are free and open to the public. The full schedule can be found here: https://www.salemstate.edu/earthday.
“This year’s event is themed ‘There is no Planet B,’” states Tara Gallagher, Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator at Salem State and one of the event’s organizers. “Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. Our theme and its related events reflect the urgency of the need for action.”
In addition to the student poster competition, programming highlights include a talk about environmental injustice and its impact on vulnerable communities led by Professor Marcos Luna; a talk on pandemics, climate change and social and racial justice led by Professor Avi Chomsky; and two panel discussions: Organizing for the Environment with organizers from Sunrise, GreenRoots, African Wildlife Foundation and Ocean Alliance, and a Green Careers Panel with Salem State alumni working in the environmental field who will discuss their career paths and offer advice to those interested in pursuing jobs in sustainability. For those looking for a more hands-on experience there will also be opportunities to participate in organized clean-ups at Forest River Park and at the Central Campus Bike Path.
As part of the celebration the Earth Days Planning Team will present two Friends of the Earth Awards in recognition of outstanding environmental stewardship. This year’s honorees are Professor Marcos Luna, for his long-time advocacy of environmental justice and his work in using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to understand and address social and environmental inequities; and Professor Emerita Patricia Gozemba, for her ongoing local activism and work with Salem Alliance for the Environment (SAFE).
Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970, when 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate against the impacts of environmental pollution. This national protest is widely cited as the catalyst for the modern-day global environmental movement.
Salem State University is committed to sustainability year-round. In May 2018 the university announced its divestment in Carbon 200 (fossil fuel) companies and added investments in solar and renewable energy companies. Five campus buildings have solar arrays and another five have achieved LEED-certification. Other campus initiatives include a food composting program, textile recycling, and 34 water bottle refills stations in buildings throughout campus that have helped to eliminate over one million single-use water bottles. To learn more about sustainability at Salem State visit https://www.salemstate.edu/sustainability.