SMC welcomes Earth Week

Earth Week is happening this week at Santa Monica College's main campus, allowing students the opportunity to become more educated on the environment and sustainable lifestyle choices. The Earth Week events are put together by SMC's Center for Environmental and Urban Studies (CEUS), SMC's Associated Students, SMC's EcoAction club, and Sustainable Works.

On Monday the Zimride Carpool Program at SMC's library walkway educated attendees on the benefits of carpooling. On Tuesday, Richard Kahn spoke about EcoPedagogy, which was followed by the "EcoHero Awards" ceremony.

On Wednesday, there will be a screening of "The Garden," a film about the lost preservation of a piece of land in east L.A. that farmers hope to get back, from 2:15 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. at the HSS building, room 165. After, the "Organic Learning Garden Ground Blessing" will take place at 4:30 p. m., across from SMC's bookstore.

The quad will host the "Earth Day Festival" Thursday, from 11:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., which will be catered by Native Foods, and include green nonprofit businesses, a photo booth, games, raffle prizes, and music by Archie Love Jones, SMC's EcoAction club member Austin Ford's band.

And on Friday, everyone is welcome to meet at the CEUS on Pearl Street at 12:30 p.m. to participate in the "Beach Clean Up" with Heal the Bay.

SMC's Sustainability Coordinator, Genevieve Bertone, serves as the faculty adviser for SMC's EcoAction club, made up of SMC students who meet to discuss environmental issues.

"Earth Week is all about raising awareness and finding innovative ways for the students to engage in environmental education that might be outside of the classroom," said Bertone.

To Bertone, the role of campus sustainability is important. "We are in the business of the futureā€”I mean, we're training our future generations, and training our future leaders, and really, we're responding to the interests of our students; I mean our students are the ones who are going to inherit these problems," she said.

"I heard once that as a generation, you don't get to choose your cause," said Bertone. "In the 80s, the cause was HIV, in the 70s it was the Vietnam War, in the 60s it was the Civil Rights Movement," she said. According to her, this generation's cause is environmental issues.

"The city of Santa Monica is one of the greenest cities in the nation," said Bertone. "As a community college that is located in a green city, it's important that we respond to our community."

Lisa Burns, SMC's Environmental Services Administrative Assistant, said she has always been aware of the environment and trying to do her part, which is why she applied to work for CEUS.

"It wasn't until I got a full time job here that I've just been 'bitten by the bug,' so to speak," said Burns, "I'm just trying to change everything in my life to be a more sustainable person in every way, shape, or form."

Burns said she jumped at the opportunity to be a part of Earth Week because she loves working with students. "I'm learning so much from them, they just really have opened my eyes to a lot of the things that I could be doing differently," she said.

She said Earth Week is an attempt to make people aware of everyday things they can do to make a difference in the environment. "It's about opening the eyes of people that are just not aware," she said.

"People just don't understand the effects of throwing a plastic bottle in the trash versus recycle," said Burns, "Just that one little change can make such a huge difference."