UC Berkeley community kicks off Earth Week celebration

Photo of students sitting on the grass on campus
Gavin Sagastume/Staff
Events including a climate strike, lectures about forestry and a virtual workshop were some events commemorating Earth Week on campus.

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UC Berkeley is celebrating Earth Week with events addressing a range of environmental topics including forestry, indgenous land and environmental justice throughout this week.

More than 20 workshops, lectures and activities are being sponsored by the campus Student Environmental Resource Center, or SERC, according to Jacob Dadmun, one of the lead organizers of SERC’s Earth Week events. Students received a complete list of SERC-held events in a campuswide email sent April 13.

“For SERC, what Earth Week is about is about putting the power back in the hands of students so that they can advocate for the things that they care about,” Dadmun said. “It’s really about creating that culture of activism that’s at Berkeley.”

Dadmun noted this is the first in-person campus Earth Week since the COVID-19 pandemic. The week will end with a climate strike organized by UC Berkeley Green New Deal Climate Strike on Upper Sproul.

Dadmun added SERC hopes to connect students with environmental groups that they may not have been aware of before.

In addition to SERC events, Cal Forestry Club hosted an introductory forestry lecture Monday to kick off the week. The lecture covered the significance of forestry and forest management, according to Cal Forestry Club President Emily Rogers.

Rogers noted one important objective of the lecture was to address misconceptions about forestry and its impact, especially when it comes to topics such as timber harvesting.

“When our members say that they are studying forestry, they are met with replies like ‘So you want to be a park ranger?’ or ‘You chop down trees? That’s not very environmentally friendly!’ ” Rogers said in an email. “These replies showcase the common misconceptions that many people on the UC Berkeley campus hold.”

Herbicide Free at Berkeley is a student organization dedicated to encouraging the UC system to eliminate their use of herbicides, according to Nyah Tisdell, a co-leader of the organization. The group held a community teach-in/weeding day Monday alongside campus groundskeepers to discuss the maintenance of an organic campus and environmental justice.

Tisdell added that Earth Day is a way to build community solidarity.

“Bridging the gap between the people who maintain our campus and the students that use it everyday is super important to the mission of Herbicide Free Berkeley,” Tisdale said in an email.

The Berkeley Student Food Collective, a SERC-sponsored student-run grocery market, held a virtual workshop about Airtable, their communication database, according to Megha Krishnan, board chair of the group, who used to work at The Daily Californian. Their hope is to introduce other organizers to the tool, Krishnan said in an email.

Krishnan said they hope Earth Day serves as a reminder of the importance of making environmentally sustainable choices.

“It’s a reminder to pressure our governments to put environmental issues on their policy agendas,” Krishman said in an email. “It’s a reminder to continue educating ourselves on our environmental impact and how different communities are affected by rapid environmental changes.”

Contact Claire Judson at [email protected].