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Happy Earth Day!

Image by mmi9

This year, Wednesday, April 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. On April 22, 1970, 20 million people across the United States marched in recognition of the planet and the environment. This inaugural global event marked the beginning of a movement that has worked to implement massive environment change locally and globally, in our government and in our backyards. “The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.” - Earth Day website

While our Earth Day events and gatherings have moved to the virtual setting, our current situation serves to emphasize the fragility of our natural world and the impacts that human kind has on the environment. Go to the official Earth Day website to find events and learn more about Earth Day, why it is important, and what you can do to further the cause.

Here at the University of Vermont, a full slate of events for this year’s Earth Week will mark this historic anniversary, which arguably remains the largest global teach-in in history. The full list of UVM events, organized by EcoCultureLab and its partnering organizations, will be held online and open to the public. Here is more information on a few of these important virtual gatherings:

Sustainability in the Pandemic Era

TUESDAY, April 21: 2:30 – 4 pm EDT

Hosted by the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Environment, this Earth Week panel discussion will showcase perspectives on COVID-19 from Gund Fellows and Affiliates, including reports on preliminary research, and provide a forum for sharing promising ideas and opportunities for collaborative work. Topics include food insecurity, disease ecology, mental health, Sustainable Development Goals, rebuilding our economy and more.
To participate in the event, please register via Zoom. To suggest additional topics or speakers, please email Taylor Ricketts.

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Meredith Niles (Fellow, College of Agricultural & Life Sciences), who is co-leading a national survey on food insecurity related to the pandemic.
  • Chris Danforth (Fellow, Complex Systems) who has tracked coronavirus trends on social media, and the pandemic’s dramatic reduction of global happiness.
  • Stephanie Seguino (Fellow, College of Arts & Sciences), who is interested in equity issues regarding patterns of infection, as well as impacts of economic stimulus.
  • Brendan Fisher (Fellow, Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources), who is analyzing the pandemic’s effect on global progress toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Luz de Wit (Postdoctoral Fellow, Rubenstein School), who studies the ecology of novel infectious diseases, including how they jump from other species to people.
  • Jon Erickson (Fellow, Rubenstein School), who is working on economic inequality, rebuilding a sustainable economy, and the pandemic’s climate impacts.

When Corona Met Climate Change…What Changed?

EARTH DAY, WEDNESDAY, April 22, 12:00 noon-1:30 pm EDT  

EcoCultureLab hosts a series of live, short (under 3 minutes), and creative responses to the “meeting” of coronavirus and climate change. Think of them as two waves: a tidal wave we can more or less see on our horizon coming to meet an even larger, slower wave that has been arriving for decades. What happens when the first (which may or may not be a child of the second) meets the second? And think of ourselves looking back from 50 years on — from the perspective of Earth Day, 2070 (which we are christening Ecotopia Day) — and telling the story of how “everything changed” when this happened. A virtual human chain of “emotional weather reports” from the sagging century-midpoint between the first global teach-in on the environment (April 22, 1970) and an anticipated ecotopian world, optimistically dated to April 22, 2070… Spiked with visions of how to get from here to there. It’s not too late to submit proposals for “When Corona…” here. This event launches EcoCultureLab’s Feverish World: From Pandemonium to Ecotopia project. Follow this link to join the live event.

Disturbance, Recovery, Discovery: Lessons from Tropical Rainforests

EARTH DAY, WEDNESDAY, April 22, 4:30-5:30 pm EDT

This is the University of Vermont’s Earth Day Keynote Talk by rainforest ecologist, Guggenheim Fellow, and women’s science advocate Nalini Nadkarni. Nadkarni’s tree canopy research offers a unique perspective – ecological and humanistic – about life on Earth. Co-presented by UVM's Environmental Program and the Gund Institute. Learn more and participate online. Follow this link to join the live event.

“BOIL THE OCEAN” with Marina Zurkow and Una Chaudhuri

THURSDAY, April 23 - 4:30-5:30 pm EDT

EcoCultureLab’s Earth Week speaker, media artist Marina Zurkow, will speak on climate change, oceans, and the post-natural condition. Zurkow is one of the leading contemporary artists addressing how we think and feel about climate change and related ecological issues. In works like "Dear Climate," "Wet Logic," and "Oceans Like Us," she and her collaborators work with the tools of new media, virtual reality, video installation, and others to encourage personal engagement with the "wicked problems" of our time. This talk will feature a conversation with eco-theater pioneer and New York University professor Una Chaudhuri, whose books include "Animal Acts: Performing Species Today" and "Ecocide: Research Theatre and Climate Change." Follow this link to join the live event.

SEE THE FULL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS HERE. See also the Gund Institute Events Page. And feel free to join our partnering institution’s, the U. of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute’s, all day event on Monday, Earth Day@50: Aspiring for Sustainability, Striving for Justice, Crafting the Planet. Register here.