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Earth Day is More Than Tree Hugging

This week, you’ll see a lot green, celebrating the earth. Businesses will promote their purported eco-friendly products wrapped in plastic, plastered with pictures of happy trees. Corporate greenwashing, or the practice of dispersing misleading claims about a product; service; or company to create the impression that it is more “environmentally friendly” than it actually is, has infiltrated Earth Day.

However, Earth Day did not begin with an obligatory promotion of trees. After Rachel Carson’s publication of Silent Spring, in 1962, an enormous oil spill in Santa Barbara in 1969, and greater awareness about the links between pollution and the health of living organisms, Senator Gaylord Nelson established the first Earth Day in 1970. Protests rallied “against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife,” according to Earth Day Network’s website.

These issues are relevant, even today, and show that sustainability is important in many parts of the world, not just in exclusive forests. While paying tribute to our trees and natural ecosystems is incredibly important today (and every day), we also need to recognize that our environment is intimately connected to justice and equality. Inevitably, climate change will make the Earth unlivable, especially for communities where people do not have the resources and are not allowed the agency to move away or curtail the effects of global warming. These are the same communities who have contributed the least to causing climate change, disproportionately communities of color and low-income areas. Seeking justice and equality is just as much a part of environmentalism as tree hugging.

Remember, on this Earth Day and every day, that environmental justice, climate justice, the ocean, the trees, the people, and the algae, are all important to protect and are all dependent on each other.

Watch this Grist.org video to learn more about environmental and climate justice:

 

 

Urban Farms and Food Deserts

Farmers’ markets and organic grocery stores help local farmers and promote sustainable eating practices, but are often geographically and financially inaccessible to many. Poorer communities across the United States often have few healthy, fresh, and affordable food options, making them “food deserts.” The lacking access to healthy options in corner stores, liquor stores, and fast food restaurants can lead to serious health problems, including  heart disease and diabetes. Urban farms bring together these communities to grow food, health, and justice.

Check out these local urban farms:

ReVision Urban Farm

“Victory Programs’ ReVision Urban Farm is an innovative community-based urban agriculture project that grows produce in its own fields and provides access to affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food to residents of our ReVision Family Home and our extended community. In association with ReVision Family Home, we also provide job training for youth and Boston’s homeless.”

Grow or Die

We deserve healthy affordable food.

Companies manipulate us into eating foods that lead to illness and death. All we have is corner stores, liquor stores, and fast food restaurants. As a result, we have higher rates of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The food system we know is rooted in racism, poverty, and corporate greed. Food should be about life, growth, health, community, and justice.

We need to grow our own food.

Many of our families have experience growing food. We should be proud of our own resources and provide for ourselves.

We will use vacant land to grow food.

Our neighborhoods are fully of empty lots that have been unused for years. The existence of so many lots is a result of Boston’s history of racism and classism. Neglected and empty land causes problems for our neighborhoods, but we can change that by building gardens.

We will grow food together, strengthen our neighborhoods, and improve our health now and in the future.

Learn more about Food Deserts from this TED talk:

 

Earth Month at Tufts 2018

Tufts has a month-long series of events planned to educate the community about sustainability issues. The month will culminate with an Earth Day celebration on the Medford/Somerville campus.

April 2nd
Tom Thumb Student Garden
Garden Club Tea Swap
8:00-9:00PM, Eaton 203

April 3rd
Tufts University Phone Bank to Defend Transgender Equality
6:00-9:00PM, LGBT Center

April 3rd
Talking 100% renewable energy w. State Reps. Connolly and Barber
7:00-8:00PM, Barnum 104

April 4th
Students for Environmental Awareness -SEA
Chasing Coral Screening and Discussion
7:00-9:00PM, Terrace Room

April 5th
Environmental Studies Program, Tufts University Lunch & Learn:
Land Cover in New Hampshire
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 5th
Tufts University Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Building Resilient Communities Networking Night
5:30-7:30PM, 51 Huntington Ave, Boston

April 6th
WSSS Symposium 2018: Water in Humanitarian Emergencies
8:30AM-4:30PM, The Fletcher School

April 6th
Tufts Food System Symposium
10AM-2PM, 51 Winthrop Street

April 6th
TCA x Polykhroma Present: Visions
8:30-10:30, 46 Quincy Street Basement

April 7th
Social Impact Ideation at Tufts
11:00AM-2:00PM, Robinson Hall, Rm 246

April 9th
An Evening with D’Lo
6:00-7:30PM, Crane Room

April 10th
Students for Environmental Awareness -SEA
Startups and App Development: A Talk with Soli’s CEO
7:00-9:00PM, Crane Room

April 12th
Environmental Studies Program, Tufts University Lunch & Learn:
Somerville Immigrant Worker Health Project: Seeing Environmental Justice Through an Occupational Health Lens
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 13th
Demain: Reimagining Community Systems For A Better Tomorrow
2:00-6:00PM, ASEAN Auditorium

April 19th
Environmental Studies Program, Tufts University Lunch & Learn:
The Road to Food Waste is Paved with Good Intentions
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 26th:
Environmental Studies Program, Tufts University Lunch & Learn
Environmental Justice in the City of Chelsea
12:00-1:00PM, Rabb Room

If you are planning any Earth Month events at Tufts that were not included on this list, please contact sustainabilityoffice@tufts.edu and we will add them.

Summer Graduate Student Policy Fellow, City of Boston, Boston MA

Job Description:

Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu serves as an At-Large Councilor representing all of Boston’s neighborhoods. Her office is offering a paid summer policy fellowship for a local graduate student to contribute a meaningful policy project in line with Councilor Wu’s focus on climate change, income inequality, and systemic racism. This fellowship opportunity is open to current graduate school students who will be residing in Boston during the summer. The fellowship may also include attending community meetings, managing and responding to constituent services requests, and providing staff support to the Councilor.

More information and application here

 

Summer Diversity and Inclusion Intern, Boston MA

Job Description:

Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu serves as an At-Large Councilor representing all of Boston’s neighborhoods. To support Councilor Wu’s work to promote diversity within local government, especially on her focus areas of climate change, income inequality, and systemic racism, her office is seeking a positive, passionate, hard-working, local undergraduate student to participate in a paid, 8-10 week summer internship. This internship opportunity is open to current undergraduate students who will be residing in Boston during the summer.

More information and application here

 

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