On our campus, we don’t just celebrate Earth Day, we have an Earth Week; students plan seven days of events designed to raise awareness about environmental issues. And today, on Earth Day itself, a student club I advise gathered for their annual meeting.
The weather was not ideal: a cold rain that kept turning to snow, and gale force winds. But despite the icy wetness, the day began with students heading outside to pick up trash.
The afternoon included writing letters of protests to our representatives.
And a collaborative art project.
We had food, of course, and music – mostly guitars and singing. We built bird houses.
The students held a serious discussion in which the outgoing seniors talked with the younger students about the history of the group and their vision for the future. They talked about different types of activism, and which types they felt comfortable with. Many kept saying that they want to figure out ways to avoid debates because the debate format just gets people more entrenched in the ideas they already hold. One young woman said she sees no purpose to arguments in which neither side is listening to the other, and students nodded in agreement. They talked about ways to make connections between campus and community, and to connect peace issues to environmental issues.
Despite the howling wind and the rain that kept pouring down outside, the students were upbeat and confident, and the room was filled with warm energy as they made plans for the future.