Last week, over a thousand scientists staged a protest in over 25 countries in response to a new report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report warned that cuts to greenhouse gas emissions were necessary by 2025 to avoid catastrophic climate effects.
At the University of Arizona, Earth Week festivities hope to bring awareness on campus about the effects of climate change while also fostering community.
“[These are] very much a student-run for student events, but obviously everyone in the community is welcome,” said Jack Haskins, the senator of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona from the College of Fine Arts, who spearheaded the Friday event. “It's all about fostering connections and creating opportunities for students.”
The week is packed with activities students and people in the community can participate in, free of charge. The event has been months in the planning and has been a community effort between student organizations and administrative bodies on campus. It has also come in the form of borrowed space from the Center for Creative Photography, where Friday’s event will be held.
But much of this work has been produced by students who dedicate their time to this cause because they believe it is important. The Students for Sustainability have had the largest role in planning this week’s events.
SFS is an ASUA student government program that works to engage the student body to cultivate environmental literacy, according to the ASUA website. This is done by empowering student leaders, advancing social justice and equality, and pursuing institutionalized sustainability at the university and in the Tucson community.
The following sections will take you through the events happening on campus for the rest of this week.
Wednesday, April 20 brings students the opportunity to decorate a reusable tote bag, plant succulents in glass jars (glass jars will not be provided, so make sure to bring your own) and participate in an open mic to foster discussion among students.
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On Thursday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Alumni Heritage Plaza and the UA mall stage will host a variety of environmental groups who will talk to students about the environmental initiatives being taken on campus and around Tucson.
Various student organizations, institutes and community groups will be tabling, eager to talk to anyone interested in getting involved or in simply becoming more educated about the conversation surrounding climate change and the environment.
The week will end at the Arts District at the Center for Creative Photography in a culmination of events.
Before the event at the Arts District, students can go on a guided nature walk in front of the UA Museum of Art at 4:30 p.m.
After, students will be able to celebrate environmental art at the Arts District at the Center for Creative Photography from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. There will be live and digital art, food, free merchandise, club tabling and a chance to paint a canvas. There will also be a live drag performance and an eco-friendly fashion show.
“I want people to recognize the role of artists in our discussions of the climate crisis,” Haskins said, adding that for decades, politicians have been unable to enact change. “Artists have a perfect role to play in creating a culture of sustainability that drives the willpower to get people to act and think beyond themselves and come to really amazing solutions. We have the energy, we have the resources, but it's that culture. And that's where I think the arts had to play.”
Friday’s activities will also include an Earth Day Panel Discussion at 1 p.m. with Martha Redbone, a multi-award-winning musician and educator, and Karletta Chief, the director of the Indigenous Resilience Center. The two will discuss “Social Justice: Elevating Indigenous Voices and Connecting Across Cultures Through Research, Music and Storytelling.” The panel will be in Room S107 in the UA’s Environment and Natural Resources 2 building.
The last event celebrating Earth Week are several neighborhood clean-ups at Armory Park, Las Vistas, Rincon Heights and Sam Hughes. Students can sign up for these clean-ups by scanning a QR code on the Students of Sustainability’s Instagram page, @uasfs.
“We have really fun events going on right now, and please partake in them. But again, going back for longevity, this can't just be this week. It's great to have dedicated time and focus and to be able to concentrate our resources, our efforts at this one point, but we need to have our long-lasting continued solutions,” Haskins said. “These things are going to require us to radically adapt the way we live to meet the crisis, but that can be extremely productive.”
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