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Climate Change Front and Center at Green Week 2021

This year, programming during EcoPledge’s celebration of Green Week centered around the topic of climate change, according to Autumn Hauser, president of EcoPledge

The theme for Green Week this year was intersectionality of the climate crisis, which emphasized the interconnectedness of environment, health, and justice,” Hauser, MCAS ’21, wrote in an email to The Heights. “Independent of an individual’s major or interests, there is an aspect of their life or future career that will be, or already is, touched by climate change.”

EcoPledge, a student-run sustainability coalition at Boston College, celebrated Green Week Monday through Friday last week with various events that encouraged sustainability and green practices. 

The week included both in-person and virtual programs, such as an alumni panel on green careers, a presentation on the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, and a movie screening of 2040, which discusses the impending effects of climate change over the next 20 years.

Hauser said that while planning for Green Week, she met with various sustainability leaders at BC, including Tara Pisani Gareau, director of the environmental studies program and faculty adviser of EcoPledge. 

At that time, we expected all of the events would be virtual,” Hauser wrote. “Once we returned for the spring semester, we organized biweekly Green Week planning meetings over Zoom in which eco-leaders at BC, including individuals from Real Food, BC Dining, CJBC, and the UGBC Environmental Division. …There are many moving pieces when organizing a combination of virtual and in person with numerous groups.”

EcoPledge also hosted various in-person events, including a tree-planting ceremony as part of the 4C Tree Project on Thursday afternoon and an Earth Day Fair on Friday. 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic presented some challenges, such as abiding by state and University regulations, it also allowed the group to be more creative when planning events, according to Hauser.

“For example, we featured Dr. Kumar, who does research on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and AY Young, a musician, climate activist, and UN recognized leader, together in a virtual webinar,” she wrote. “Under other circumstances, we may have been tempted to only feature one individual in a keynote speech.”

At the Earth Day Fair, various organizations presented on the green initiatives their groups were working on. 

Colleen Conley, a BC Dining representative and Lynch ’23, said that diet and sustainability go hand in hand.

“I feel like we’re kind of specifically here to spread awareness about how your diet and the way that you eat affects our environment and, like, how small changes to your diet can make a big difference,” Conley said. 

Lauren Anton, a representative from Outdoor Adventures and MCAS ’22, said exposure to wilderness makes the effects of waste more apparent. 

“When you’re out in the wilderness, it’s when you really get to see all of nature’s beauty and everything that the Earth provides for us that you sometimes forget about when you’re going through your normal college routine,” she said. 

Other aspects of the Outdoor Adventures presentation included discussion on how to promote diversity in the outdoors. 

“Often, it’s a very white place to be,” Ethan Daly, Outdoor Adventures representative and MCAS ’22 said. 

Hauser said she is proud of how the week was executed and of the teamwork involved in putting it on, and that she looks forward to seeing green initiatives at BC develop further after she graduates. 

“I am ecstatic that we were hopefully able to facilitate conversation surrounding inclusivity and intersectionality of climate change,” she wrote. “My hope is that individuals that attended the events throughout the week were able to gain a new perspective on environmentalism.”

Featured Image by Aditya Rao / Heights Staff

April 26, 2021

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