UW-Whitewater will recognize Earth Day with a week’s worth of events beginning next Tuesday.
This year, Earth Day falls on April 22, which is also Good Friday. Due to the mandatory State of Wisconsin furlough day, the campus will be closed. Events will take place April 19-21.
The theme of this year’s Earth Week celebration is “The Water-Energy Nexus.”
“It’s one of the most pressing issues that our globe faces right now,” Associate Professor of Business Law Linda Reid said. “I think a lot of people pay attention to coal and fossil fuels, especially now with the price of gas. They don’t realize that it takes water to produce energy and energy to transport water, and they’re just so closely connected that we need to start paying attention to that nexus and plan for it.”
Reid serves as co-chair of the Earth Week committee, along with lecturer Holly Denning.
Wesley Enterline, sustainability coordinator at UW-Whitewater, recognizes the need to address current and future energy and water issues.
“Energy issues are a really big part of our lives right now, and I think it’s really important to realize that [energy and water] are two resources that, as a society, we just take for granted,” Enterline said. “We just assume that they are going to be there indefinitely and in abundant and cheap supply and as we move forward into the future, that’s not going to be the case.”
The week of events will include presentations, guest lectures, films, an automobile show, and a green business and organization expo. Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to participate in any or all events.
Students Allied for a Green Earth will team up with the Green Business is Good Business Learning Community and the grounds department to plant 600 tree seedlings throughout campus during Earth Week and on Make-A-Difference Day.
Planting will kick off with the Earth Week 2011 Inaugural Tree Planting with Chancellor Telfer at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, with 20 burr oaks being planted by the campus Observatory.
Trees will be planted at various locations on campus throughout the week. Maps can be found at www.uww.edu/sustainability/earthday/2011treemap.pdf.
Car enthusiasts will have the opportunity to attend the advanced transportation vehicle show beginning at noon April 20 in the Upham Hall parking lot 14.
The event will showcase the latest technology in electric and alternative fuel vehicles. Hybrid electric and plug-in electric vehicles manufactured by Ford, Honda and Toyota will be on display at the show.
Kunes Country Ford from Delavan will showcase the Ford Fusion hybrid, Smart Motors Toyota of Madison will feature a model of the Toyota Prius, and Zimbrick Automotive of Madison will feature a Honda Insight hybrid.
Representatives and private owners will be present to answer questions about the vehicles.
Paul Rybski, associate professor in the physics department, has been involved with the vehicle show since the spring of 2007.
“If we can improve mileage, however we do it, of these vehicles, we will be making a huge dent in the United States’ contribution to the overall contribution to carbon dioxide worldwide,” Rybski said. “We’re 4 percent of the world’s population, but we’re 25 percent of the carbon-emitting potential, so we have a huge impact.”
The show will follow a lecture by Chelsea Sexton, a marketing expert and advocate of alternative fuel vehicles. Her lecture will focus on the film “Revenge of the Electric Car,” by touching on electric vehicles of the late 90s, the current market of alternative vehicles, and her personal experiences with alternative fuel vehicles.
Sexton will also present another lecture following the alternative vehicle show that will focus on past, present and future generations of electric vehicles.
Addressing Local Issues
Though many of the events will focus on global issues, local concerns regarding the Rock River Basin will also be addressed during the “Rock River Basin Issues” symposium at 6 p.m. April 20.
The event will be presented by the UW-Whitewater Water Council and the College of Business and Economics.
A variety of films showcasing energy, water and environmental issues will be shown throughout the week.
“Play Again” is a documentary addressing the role of virtual technology in the current generation. According to the UW-Whitewater Earth Day website, the film “explores the changing balance between the virtual and natural worlds.”
“Tapped” is a documentary that visits the unregulated bottled water industry and the communities affected by it.
Students Allied for a Green Earth will present two showings of the documentary “Tar Creek,” based on the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeastern Oklahoma.
The film explores the effects of one of the largest lead and zinc mines in the world, including contaminated creek water, lead poisoning in children, and sinkholes throughout the neighborhoods.
The UW-Whitewater Water Council will address water issues with two showings of the film “Waterlife.” According to the UW-Whitewater Earth Day website, the film “tells the story of the last huge supply (20 percent) of fresh water on Earth.”
Earth Week Expo
More than 15 local businesses and organizations focused on sustainable practices will be present at the Earth Week Expo from noon to 3:30 p.m. April 20.
Reid’s student assistant, junior Maryam Polley, has been involved in planning this year’s expo.
“You think of [Whitewater] as a small town, but there’s so much going on, and there’s a huge push for sustainability … I think it’s really good to bring it to the forefront and make sure people … see the push for [sustainability].”
Earth Week will conclude with the Fourth Annual Whitewater Environmental Achievement Award from 3:45-5 p.m. April 21 in Hyland Hall.
Three awards will be presented to an individual, organization or corporation, and high school that have addressed environmental issues.
For maps, a schedule and more information about Earth Week, visit uww.edu/sustainability/earthday.