Earth Day Film Festival This Weekend

Friday, April 22, marks the 35th anniversary of Earth Day - a landmark celebration for everything accomplished environmentally since its conception in 1970 and a heads-up for everything that is still needed for an environmentally sound future.

Here at Santa Monica College, students are encouraged to get involved by participating in several environmentally friendly events.

First off, Environmental Issues Lectures presents Water Resources in Southern California, featuring Heal the Bay's Dr. Shelly Luce, who will address topics surrounding California's water quality.

To kick off Earth Day itself, SMC introduces 10 hours of films in the first SMC Earth Day Film Festival. Twelve films will be presented on April 22-23 on topics such as global warming, war and oil politics, corporate interest and many others.

Eleven out of 12 filmmakers will be present for questions and answers after their movies are viewed.

Ed Begley Jr., actor and environmentalist ("Best in Show," "The Mighty Wind"), is scheduled to appear as a special guest speaker on the second day of the event.

"I channeled my anger and frustration about the environment through my films," said documentary filmmaker and SMC adjunct cinema professor, Sheila Laffey.

An updated version of her documentary entitled "The Last Stand, Heroes at Ballona Wetlands," will be shown in the festival and was previously aired by PBS as part of a "Natural Heroes" series.

"In every step we take we can be reminded that we are dependant on and nurtured by mother earth, and yet we take that for granted," Laffey said. "It's also really fun to get involved."

Along with these Earth Day highlights, SMC students can make environmental contributions all year long.

In fact SMC has its very own Environmental and Urban Studies Center located on Pearl Street, which houses compost workshops, sustainable works programs that marry urban living with environmentally sound practices, a proactive on-campus recycling program and the opportunity to work with, as Laffey said, "many professors in many disciplines with a major interest in the environment."

Even while SMC students are at lunch they can contribute to helping the environment, since, situated beside the cafeteria is a Vermiculture, a compost system that takes food scraps from the cafeteria and transforms them into mulch for landscaping around campus.

Earth Day was founded by former Senator Gaylord Nelson, coined by Dennis Hayes, former president of the Stanford University student union, and was established in response to widespread public protesting for environmental reformation.

In turn, President Richard Nixon responded to Earth Day by conceiving the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Sixth, seventh, and eighth-graders asked more perceptive, penetrating questions about the environment than college seniors and college graduate students did in 1970," Nelson said during an interview with National Public Radio in April 2000 .

Please check the Calendar section for Earth Day celebration times and days.