MAPLEWOOD, NJ- Students from the CHS Environmental Club are celebrating Earth Day (April 22) with a virtual week full of fun, engaging activities for all ages of the town. Every year, the club celebrates Earth Week with the students of CHS with in-school events, from demonstrations to trash pickups to art projects. This year, amid a global pandemic, the students felt it was important to find a way to still share these activities, so they digitized them. Now the events are not just open to students of CHS but the entire community and beyond.
On Monday April 13, the Environmental Club began sharing daily actions that students and adults can participate in to live more sustainable lives. Every day until April 26, the club will post on their Instagram (@chs_environmentalclub) and Facebook (@chsenvironmentalclubmapso) and will send updates through their email list (tinyurl.com/ewemaillist) with themed actions that anyone can easily do to help become more environmentally conscious.
The students have also organized an art contest! Community members can submit paintings, pictures of sculptures, poetry, literally anything that is creative and answers the question “how has the climate crisis affected you?” at tinyurl.com/ewartcontest for a chance to be featured on their Earth Week website (mapsoearthweek.org) and in a local gallery when it is safe to do so.
In addition to daily panels and presentations, the CHS Environmental Club will be hosting a Benefit Concert on Saturday 4/25 at 9 pm on Zoom to fundraise for the Newark Water Coalition. The Benefit Concert itself will feature four back-to-back sets by artists at CHS and anyone is invited to dance into the night with the community at the final event of Earth Week. Leading up to the big event will be 5-10 minute musical performances by different student artists streamed live through the Environmental Club Instagram (chs_environmentalclub) every night from Tuesday 4/21 to Friday 4/24 at 9 pm.
To go into more detail about the daytime events during Earth Week:
On Monday 4/20, the group will kick off the week with 9 am, 1 pm, and 5:30 pm vegan meal demonstrations on their Instagram (chs_environmentalclub), as well as a 3 pm presentation titled “Climate' Lexicon 2020: Is ‘Use Less, Share More: a path to health and sustainability?” with CivicStory’s Susan Haig on Zoom, and a 7 pm screening of the kid-friendly movie WALL-E which will be followed by a short group discussion.
On Tuesday 4/21, Deanna Taylor-Heacock from Good Bottle Refill will present on “Good Bottle's Refill Revolution” at 3 pm, Rachel Garcia from Dry Goods Refillery will present “Let’s Do This Together” at 4 pm, and SOMA Action Climate co-chair Jennifer Nielsen with present on “Zero Waste Solutions” at 6 pm.
On Wednesday 4/22, Amy Biasucci, a CHS teacher, will give a presentation titled “A Watershed Moment: How we all affect life downstream” at 3 pm, and at 5 pm, the Environmental Club will host a “Climate Crisis" Panel with Tracey Woods from the Maplewood Green Team, Bill Haskins from the South Orange Environmental Commission, Anthony Diaz from the Newark Water Coalition, and Susan Haig from CivicStory.
On Thursday 4/23, CHS teacher Kate Dodd will present “Too Much Stuff: Sustainable Art” at 3 pm, and at 5 pm, the club will host a panel on “A Teacher’s Perspective on the Climate Crisis” with Amy Biasucci from CHS, Stephanie Rivera from CHS, Thomas Whitaker from CHS, and Julia Sommer from Tuscan Elementary School.
On Friday 4/24, the presentation “Why You Should AND How You Can Recycle Your Food: the Basics of Composting” will be given by Michelle Bradley from Java Compost at 3 pm and the presentation "Where Does Our Food Come From and What this Pandemic Means for the Future of Our Food System" will be given by Danielle Schwab from Illuminate Foods at 5 pm.
On Saturday 4/25, the last day of Earth Week, at 3 pm, the group will host a panel titled, “What is the Green New Deal and why is it essential to addressing the Climate Crisis and the COVID-19 Crisis” with Bob McCoy from the Maplewood Environmental Advisory Committee, Greg Gorman from the NJ Sierra Club, a representative from the Rutgers Sunrise Movement, and Dr. Mia White from SOMA Justice. To close out the more formal events of Earth Week, at 5 pm, the students invite everyone back to a community talk entitled “What Comes Next” to reflect on the week's events and discuss what they mean for the future.
All of the “Earth Week” panels and presentations (with the exception of the vegan meal demonstrations, which will be on Instagram Live) will be hosted by the Environmental Club through Zoom. The full schedule can also be found in the attached flyer. To sign up for these events, please sign up for their Google Calendar or visit mapsoearthweek.org
These events have been organized by the students of Columbia High School’s Environmental Club. The organizers are very grateful to the many individuals and groups who have graciously volunteered their time to present, speak, help organize, play, and participate. These events reflect on the importance of community and education during these trying times.
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