by Riley Quigley (’23) | May 10, 2021
If you were in the Quad on Thursday, April 22—Earth Day—you might have noticed the table with dozens of sprouting plants. These seedlings were free for all students, along with compostable pots in which students could carry the plants home, encouraging students to learn how to garden and promote compostable pots. This was one of many activities and programs that the Saint Francis Environmental Club hosted this year for Earth Week. Environmental Club member Rachel Minden (’23) stated that it is “important to be able to connect students with nature so they can be inspired to make more environmentally conscious choices and learn the importance of caring for our earth.”
Additionally, the club composed text snippets for the daily announcements from April 19 to April 23, highlighting important and inspirational climate activists, including Nemonte Nenquimo, Kristal Ambrose, and Leydy Pech, who were all awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2020. Nenquimo, a 35-year-old indigenous Ecuadorian, was awarded the prize for her campaign to protect her people’s land and the surrounding Amazon rainforests from oil extraction. Her legal action resulted in a court ruling that now protects 500,000 acres of land from oil extraction. Ambrose, 29, convinced the government of the Bahamas to ban single-use plastic bags, straws, styrofoam containers and cups, and plastic cutlery. Her call to action was an experience of spending two days pulling plastic out of a sea turtle who had suffered internal blockage.
The blurbs in the announcements also included short infographics about various issues related to climate activism, including air pollution, environmental racism, and wildfires. One infographic highlighted endangered species, showing pictures of 10 “famous endangered species” accompanied with a link to a document sharing more specifics about the animal’s predicament. Another infographic explained the causes and effects of wildfires, and how the average person can make a difference with prevention measures. One section read “Climate change creates warmer, drier conditions, which lead to an increase in wildfire risk.”
Finally, the emails included the option to submit a video to the club, pledging to make a habitual change for Earth Day. The club compiled a video that included everyone’s pledges. Sophomore Lily Arangio (’23), who focused her efforts on the video, believed the video is important to the club’s overall efforts: “It was intended to inspire others to protect our planet and show each of the ways our community already does so.”
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