BY TORI GRAY- STAFF WRITER
Earth Day is a time to celebrate the environment, support its protection and bring communities together in the process. Founded in 1970, Earth Day is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. On 22nd of April, there are events taking place all week in different communities. Long Island University Brooklyn will show its support with its own Earth Day events, bringing back old activities from previous years and sharing new ones. From staff to faculty to students, many people from the LIU Brooklyn community will be coming together for the event.
Deborah Mutnick, a professor in LIU Brooklyn’s English department and a leader of the Campus Community Urban Sustainability Program (CUSP), is helping to organize the Earth Week events. Activities like the Empty Bowls Project have been popular in the past. For this year’s Earth Day, she plans to integrate new ideas like panel discussions, an opportunity to make homemade instruments out of recycled materials, and possibly screening a film for the public.
“It’s still in the planning stages but we are hoping to hold two or three days of activities starting on Tuesday, April 21, with a Ted-talk like panel of faculty who are engaged in various kinds of community-engaged research, including CUSP.” Mutnick said. Each day will have at least one activity planned, but one or more of the days could have two activities for the community to attend. Earth Week 2020 is still in production, but should be finalized within the next few weeks.
Addison Donahue, 21, a nursing student is in her third year at LIU Brooklyn, is up-to-date with the climate change issues in New York. Donahue was on LIU’s swim team in her first two years, but now that swimming is behind her, she is looking for a new passion. Donahue is interested in visiting the Earth Day celebration this April after hearing the past successes and potential activities that are planned.
Donahue loved the idea of art and music being involved, and believed that more activities could help bring in young people. “Our generation hears about the impact that climate change is having on our environment everyday,” she said. “But sometimes it feels like there aren’t events out there for us to participate in that are also fun and entertaining for people our age. People are naturally competitive, so anything along those lines would definitely bring everyone together.”
Sophomore Ava Zabielski, 20, also thinks that music and art activities could bring people together to celebrate the event. Zabielski is studying health science and working two jobs, leaving her with little time for extracurricular activities. This was especially true around exam week last April, but Zabielski planned her time so she could participate in an activity that would be low-stress, about something she was passionate about: the environment. Growing up in Washington State, Zabielski had always wanted to see a New York Earth Day event firsthand. Her favorite part of LIU’s past Earth Day was the Empty Bowls Project.
“It was pretty cool,” Zabielski said. “I’m really into pottery, so the idea of people making bowls for us to use instead of buying news ones or using disposable ones was great! It actually inspired me to take LIU’s pottery class this semester so I can do it myself.”
Zabielski also talked about the music, garden-grown food and interacting with new people as great memories from last year’s Earth Day event. “People may not know it, but all we want to do is feel like we belong to something bigger than ourselves. We want to be part of something fun and good for the world we live in.”