From Left to Right: Brendan Dowd with the excellent selfie skills, Eleanor Peck, Hannah Ward, our Writing and Reporting intern and author of this post, and Diri Davis!
Today is Earth Day! It’s one of the days of the year that we make a conscious, collective effort to create a more positive impact on the world and the millions of ecosystems in it. Earth Day projects, speakers, and events build awareness of the many aspects of our planet and humanity’s effect on it. By educating people about the environment and creating opportunities for people to get involved in hands-on ways, Earth Day inspires us to lead more environmentally conscious lives.
Here at Niagara we are concerned with interreligious dialogue, building communities, and creating a more peaceful world, and the environment is a common denominator among even the most diverse groups. The environment is one of the many aspects of our lives that can be positively impacted by building communities and creating dialogue between different groups. We need these international conversations to occur because everyone has an impact on and investment in the world, and the environment isn’t sectioned off by borders. We all live on the planet regardless of other differences. By fostering a sense of community in religious, political, and historical realms, we can create a more positive, open space for conversations about the condition of the Earth and our impact on it.
So what’s going on at Niagara for Earth Day?
Melissa Muth, one of our Public and Global Affairs Interns, is focusing on increasing her knowledge of the world so that she can act in a more informed way. She said, “I think earth day is an opportunity for us to think about what we have and what we can utilize to better our world.” Immediately after asking her about Earth Day, she told me of one of her favorite quotes. It is a quote from Mother Teresa that is perfect for today:“I only feel angry when I see waste, when I see people throwing away things we could use.”
Brendan, Director of the Center for Cultural Exchange and Interfaith Collaboration, although ashamed of his non-reusable coffee cup, sees Earth Day as a way to expand on his interest in and knowledge of overfishing. He continually strives to stay updated on the problem of overfishing so he can act responsibly and educate his friends. Today, he passed around pocket guides of what types of fish are okay to eat and which types are overfished or farmed in concerning ways. Here is the link to a seafood app and pocket guide if you’re interested:
Eleanor, Communications director, is celebrating Earth Day by focusing on the ways she impacts the environment in her daily choices. Today, she is choosing to keep the lights off in her office and allow the natural sunlight to come in. She is also choosing to follow a vegetarian diet.
Diri, Communications Officer, is also focused on acting in an environmentally sustainable way through her daily choices. She took public transportation to work instead of driving a car, and she is focusing on using reusable items such as coffee mugs instead of a disposable cups and borrowing books from the library.
I am going to a variety of events this week to both educate myself on the different obstacles facing our world and to put those ideas into practice through hands-on projects. DePaul is hosting many events and speakers, so tonight I’m going to listen to Stacey Alaimo, a University of Texas at Arlington professor, present her new book Sea Creatures and the Limits of Animal Studies: Science, Aesthetics, Ethics. I’m also going to see a screening of the documentary Green Fire by Aldo Leopold, who will be present to discuss his work. This weekend I’m planning on going to an event hosted by Loyola University to garden, clean, and generally improve the public spaces of the Edgewater and Rodgers Park neighborhoods.
It’s never too late to participate in Earth Day! Here are a few ways that you can celebrate Earth Day around Chicago this week.