Ideas for a Cleaner Environment

Julia Mahoney

BY JULIA MAHONEYContributing Writer

Student awareness and student involvement is important when it comes to fighting for a cleaner environment for UMass Boston and beyond. The 35th anniversary of Earth Day was Friday, April 22, and John Pearson, founder of the Sustainability Club, hosted the Earth Day celebration. Pearson’s goal is to inform students of the environmental challenges facing UMass Boston and all of society and to be aware of environmental alternatives.

The Sustainability Club is a brand new club at UMB and promotes the idea that UMass Boston can become more environmentally friendly. Pearson’s goal is to make UMass Boston 100 percent energy efficient by utilizing either wind power or solar power instead of relying heavily on electricity. “Oil, our primary source of energy, is not infinite. We are going to hit a peak if we haven’t already,” Pearson says.

Pearson provided a petition during Earth Day asking students to sign in agreement to a voluntary fee, similar to the Mass Media and MASSPIRG fees, of $10.00 every semester so UMass can utilize and build alternative energy resources. Pearson feels that, “the best way to bring this campus, or the way students can become more effective in this process, is through a petition showing support for Alternative Energy at UMB.” Pearson hopes to get 1,000 signatures prior to submitting it to the Student Senate and the administration.

The event took place in front of the Campus Center and included music from Superlow, Covalence, and Dude Fuckin’ Yeah, and an Eco-mass that celebrated and honored creation through prayer. There were taste-testing tables with fruit and veggies; one tray was organic and the other non-organic, to show the difference in taste between the two. Students could even test drive a new Prius sponsored by UMB Green.

There were also informational tables advocating ideas for a cleaner environment. The Renewable Energy Trust had a table; they help businesses to become financially and structurally, either already in existence or still in the works, more energy efficient. They are concerned because according to their findings, ” about one-third of all energy consumed in the U.S. is being used for heating, cooling, lighting, and appliances in buildings.”

The Mass Climate Action Network was also there and they are concerned with the threat of climate change due to the emissions of greenhouse gasses like carbon-dioxide which comes from burning fossil fuels, primarily coal, gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas.

Their focus is to change or tighten existing laws in the municipal and state policies including local town governments to lower CO2 output and other greenhouse gasses.

Cape Wind was there endorsing wind power. They are hoping to put up wind turbines on the shores of Cape Cod and the islands in the belief that the turbines will, “reduce the amount of oil, coal and gas being imported,” “reduce regional pollution by almost five thousand tons of sulfur dioxide per year,” the main cause of acid rain, and create up to 1,000 local jobs.

There was also a table from the Urban Ecology Institute which is interested in improving civic and science education for middle and high school students and working within urban communities to help them protect and restore their natural resources.

Tables from UMass Boston students included the Women’s Center, Sustainability Club, and Golden Key, promoting their links for tsunami donations program.

If you did not make the Earth Day event and you would like to become involved, in the hopes for a cleaner UMass Boston and environment, e-mail John Pearson, president of the Sustainability Club at: [email protected].