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Earth Day spreads to week of events

Trees bloom around campus as MIT gears up to celebrate Earth Day on Thursday, April 27.
Trees bloom around campus as MIT gears up to celebrate Earth Day on Thursday, April 27.
Photo / Donna Coveney

The concerts, dancing, food and more that will mark MIT's annual Earth Day celebration on Thursday, April 27, in the Stata Center are just the tip of the iceberg this year.

This entire week has been rife with Earth Day activities.

"Earth Day 2006 -- and the compelling lectures and activities leading up to it -- will be a terrific showcase of the diverse environmental activities in the MIT community," said Steven Lanou, deputy director of sustainability initiatives in the MIT Environmental Programs Office.

MIT typically holds its Earth Day celebration on a day near the worldwide Earth Day, but when students will be on campus. "This year April 22 fell on a Saturday -- not a day when there's much traffic on campus," said Amanda Graham, education program manager in the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment.

But events began on April 21, when the Students for Global Sustainability and the Technology and Policy Student Society sponsored a "zero waste party" in the Stata Center. The party was designated "bring your own cup," as disposables were not available. Attendees were treated to food from organic and local sources.

On April 25, Lanou led his second annual walking tour of MIT's green campus initiatives, including the solar power system, the Stata Center bioswale (a landscaped area designed to remove pollution from runoff), the co-generation plant and the algae bioreactor. The same day, Caroly Shumway, the senior scientist for aquatic biodiversity at the New England Aquarium, gave a talk titled "Links Between Land, Freshwater, the Sea and You."

The water theme continues today with a noon talk in Wong Auditorium titled "The Charles River: Cambridge's Front Yard: The Transformation From Industrial Mudflats to Recreational Parklands" with Renata von Tscharner, president of the Charles River Conservancy.

The talk will be followed this evening by "Sea Change: Reversing the Tide," a play in Room 66-110 that was written by award-winning actress Lisa Harrow and her husband, Roger Payne, the founder and president of the Ocean Alliance, which is dedicated to the conservation of whales and the ocean environment.

Thursday, April 27 is officially MIT's Earth Day. The celebration runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Stata Center and will include free bike repairs, food, a calligraphy workshop and more.

Sponsors for this year's event include the Recycling Committee of the Working Group on Support Staff Issues, Share a Vital Earth, Students for Global Sustainability, MIT Environmental Programs Office and the MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment.

"This year is special because we have the highest number of exhibits and displays yet -- more than 30, including student groups, MIT departments and centers, and external groups -- and because we have the strongest collaboration among students and staff in recent memory," said Graham.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 26, 2006 (download PDF).

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