Mason Spotlights Environmental Issues during Earth Week

Posted: March 29, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

David Orr, a pioneer for environmental literacy in higher education and a groundbreaker in ecological design, will give three presentations during Earth Week, April 12-20, on the Fairfax Campus.

Professor and chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College in Ohio, Orr has been a leading, and sometimes controversial, spokesperson for the environment for many years. He is the author of four books: The Last Refuge: The Corruption of Patriotism in the Age of Terror (2004), The Nature of Design (2002), Earth in Mind (1994), and Ecological Literacy (1992). He raised funds for and spearheaded the effort to design and build at Oberlin College a $7.2 million Environmental Studies Center, which was selected as one of 30 “milestone buildings” in the 20th century by the U.S. Department of Energy.

In a daylong event on April 19, Orr will present his views on environmental policies. At 10:30 a.m., he will lecture on “Climate Change and Citizenship” in Harris Theatre. Then, in a town hall meeting at 2 p.m. in Mason Hall, Room D3, Orr will discuss “The What, How, and Why of Campus Greening.” The day will wrap up in the evening with his keynote speech, presented in the Johnson Center Cinema at 7 p.m., with “Climate Change: My World, My Response.”

Presentations, writing contests, and films will round out the rest of Earth Week. On Tuesday, April 12, an interdisciplinary panel will discuss climate change at 4:30 p.m. in David King Hall, Room 2074. The week will also feature two documentary film screenings. Oil on Ice: The Fate of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge will be shown on Wednesday, April 13, at 12:30 p.m. Sila Alangotok: Inuit Observations on Climate Change will be shown on Thursday, April 14, at 1:30 p.m. Both movies will be in the Johnson Center Cinema and will feature panel discussions afterwards.

The Earth Week Organizing Committee is also sponsoring a writing contest, open to all George Mason students. Essays can be no longer than 1500 words and should explore the theme “Climate Change: My World, My Response.” The deadline is April 11. For more details, including contest guidelines and prizes, visit the web site.

Students will also be getting into the spirit with eco-friendly volunteer work. First-year students in New Century College, under the guidance of professor Andrew Wingfield, will be participating in a service project for the course Self as Citizen. They will be picking up trash and removing debris from the campus streams. “One of the ways we consider citizenship is through the lens of ecology—citizenship in the natural world,” says Wingfield. “The idea is to get students to take ownership of the campus where they live. We also want them to see how the streams on this campus are part of the larger watershed.” The event will be coordinated with the waste management/recycling unit of Physical Plant.

The week will wrap up on April 20 in the Johnson Center, Room G, with a brainstorming session on strategies for making George Mason a “greener” campus. The event will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. and is hosted by the Earth Week Organizing Committee. It is open to students, faculty, staff, and administration. Coffee and dessert will be served.

Earth Week is sponsored by the Democracy Project, the English Department, Environmental Science and Policy, New Century College, the Office of the Provost, and University Life. For more information, contact Susie Crate, Environmental Science and Policy, at scrate1@gmu.edu, or Dave Kuebrich, English Department, at dkuebric@gmu.edu.

Write to at