Santa Monica College – which is fast becoming known as one of the “greenest” campuses in the state – will celebrate Earth Week April 18-22 with a wide range of activities, including the “ground blessing” of a new organic learning garden – a longtime dream of the SMC community.
The week will also include keynote speaker Richard Kahn, an expert in ecoliteracy and the teaching of environmental issues; the screening of the documentary, “The Garden;” an Earth Day Festival; and an “EcoHero” Awards ceremony. All events are free and open to the public.
“The purpose of Earth Week is to educate the community about the importance of reducing our ecofootprint and promote easy ways to live more sustainably,” said Genevieve Bertone, SMC’s sustainability coordination project manager. “However, through the years we’ve realized this week also provides an opportunity for the SMC environmental community to come together and celebrate the work we at SMC are collectively doing and all we’ve accomplished.”
The scheduled events, all of which take place on the main SMC campus, 1900 Pico Blvd. (except the beach cleanup), are:
- Tuesday, April 19 at 11:15 a.m.: “Can Ecoliteracy Solve Our Planetary Crisis?,” the keynote address by Richard Kahn, an education professor at Antioch University in Los Angeles who specializes in “ecopedagogy,” the teaching of environmental issues. SMC Theatre Arts Main Stage.
“The celebration of Earth Week gives a chance to reflect upon H.G. Wells’ great line, ‘History is a race between education and catastrophe,’ and to ask the question, ‘How are we learning (or not) to be sustaining members of the Earth community?’” Kahn said. “All around us we see growing social and ecological crises giving way to catastrophe – Japan being the latest example. In the 21st century, we are witnessing that the catastrophic outcomes of such events are increasingly global in nature, not provincial.”
- Tuesday, April 19 at 2 p.m.: SMC Facilities Planning Director Greg Brown and English professor Dana Morgan will be honored as “EcoHeroes” at the EcoHero Awards ceremony. They are being honored for working with students on the organic learning garden, the “ground blessing” of which will take place April 20. Such a garden has been a longtime dream of the SMC Associated Students and is considered an invaluable tool in achieving a new level of sustainability at the college. (To RSVP for this event, please call 310-434-3909.)
- Wednesday, April 20 at 2:15 p.m.: Screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Garden” about a community garden in South Los Angeles that had to be relocated to an urban farm in Bakersfield. The screening will be followed by a Q-&-A with Scott Hamilton Kennedy, the film’s producer and director, and Tezozomoc, a Southern California farmer. Humanities & Social Science Lecture Hall 165.
- Wednesday, April 20 at 4:30 p.m.: The groundbreaking and Native American “ground blessing” of the new SMC organic learning garden, located between the Bookstore and the Art Complex. The planting of the garden is expected to occur by the end of April.
- Thursday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Earth Day Festival & Teach-In, featuring eco-themed music and art, vegan food, and an eco-friendly digital photo booth. The Quad.
- Friday, April 23 at 12:30 p.m.: Beach Cleanup with Heal the Bay. The SMC community will come together in a day of service and cleanup of a local beach. Volunteers will meet at the SMC Center for Environmental and Urban Studies and carpool or take the bus to the cleanup site.
SMC is becoming increasingly known for its sustainable practices. It was named a winner of Santa Monica’s 2009 Sustainable Quality Awards for its progressive environmental practices and programs that range from education to recycling to transportation.
In particular, the college has been cited for its Center for Environmental and Urban Studies; its partnership with the non-profit Sustainable Works, which offers students extra credit by participating in extracurricular environmental workshops; its leadership in recycling, highlighted by its worm composting project that turns three tons of SMC cafeteria garbage each year into clean and organic fertilizer and pesticide; and its “Any Line, Any Time” program that offers free transportation to all students, faculty and staff on Big Blue Bus lines.
The college also has the largest solar panel installation in the city of Santa Monica and recently launched two “green” job-training programs – one in solar installation, the other in recycling and resource management.
SMC Earth Week events are sponsored by the EcoAction Club, Sustainable Works and the Center for Environmental and Urban Studies.
For information on Earth Week events, call (310) 434-3909.