By Sarah Cooksey, Chattanooga, TN—Although the official Earth Day is April 22, UTC is starting the celebration early. UTC Earth Week will be April 6 through April
Lisa Darger, sustainability coordinator, said her position was requested by students to be created in October 2011 and is an integral part of Earth Week celebrations.
The position is in charge of “maintaining an optimum learning environment, while maximizing energy efficiency and sustainability” throughout our campus, Darger said.
The April 3 edition of WUTC included an interview by Richard Winham with Lisa Darger, Jim Pfitzer and Amelia Harris, and they explained the week and the reasoning behind the events.
Earth Week is a combination of many groups coming together to make small steps to improve our campus and community, Darger said. Starting Saturday, April 6, the Clean and Green team collected trash through Chattanooga.
Storyteller Jim Pfizer is a Chattanooga native and self-proclaimed scholar of Aldo Leopold, father of American conservation. Pfitzer presented his one-man play “Aldo Leopold: A Standard for Change” on Wednesday, August 11.
In the interview, Pfizer said, “We are still trying to catch up with his [Leopold’s] ideas—his ideas about conservation and balanced ecosystems.”
The innovative Leopold was years before our time, Pfitzer said. In his groundbreaking book, A Sand County Almanac, he writes, “Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television.”
Leopold passed in 1948, but the first proclaimed Earth Day was in 1970.
Amelia Harris, a graduate student studying botany and environmental science, is an intern with the sustainability program. She said the negative criticisms of those who think there is nothing we can do and the problem is too big to combat is an issue.
She said those disapprovals are sometimes tough to fight through, yet the University has a growing group of people who want to see the world a little greener.
Lindsay Roden, a senior from Dayton, Tenn., said Chattanooga’s negative environmental past and its optimistic present and certain future is encouraging.
“In 1969, Chattanooga was the most polluted city in the country and no one spent much time outside, but that all changed and now Chattanooga is a very outdoors-oriented city,” Roden said.
As Vice President of EDGE, Ecological Decisions for a Global Environment, Roden said she is encouraged by the growing efforts the school is putting forth to become more Earth -riendly.
Yasmeen Abdulazeez, senior from Chattanooga, said, “I’d like to see students and faculty learn more on how to become involved in way that are sustainable to our environment—to see our campus grow to become a better sustainable environment and just not by recycling but by actually taking in an effort in volunteering.”