Stony Brook University’s Earthstock celebration, a much anticipated campus tradition since 2002, is taking place in a much different format this year.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is entirely virtual.
Stony Brook’s first-ever virtual Earthstock is providing a safe way for people to celebrate the planet and advocate for environmental health. The University’s Earthstock committee sourced and/or put together programming that everybody can enjoy from the comfort of home.
On Wednesday, April 22 — the 50th anniversary of Earth Day — “Earth Day Live” offers messages of hope, optimism and calls to action from an array of activists, environmentalists and personalities, including former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, actor Zac Efron, former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
Also on April 22, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) — a global initiative for the United Nations — is holding a 24-hour webinar event titled Happiness & Sustainability Around the Earth. Experts from SDSN’s global network will speak about how various sustainable development initiatives across the globe are creating a more just and thriving society, how the UN sustainable development goals are being met across 13 regions and networks, and how happiness can still exist during a global pandemic (unsdsn.org).
On Thursday, April 23, an interactive Zoom event titled Voting with your Dollars: An Environmental Advocacy Event, will take place. This presentation and panel will be an RVSP by invitation only event and encourage increased environmental advocacy among the Stony Brook University student body. In celebrating our environmental progress thus far, the event will focus on how students can become more active on the political scene and more sustainable on an individual level by deploying financial and political power. Viewers will have the opportunity to participate in fun environmentally-based trivia and will leave with the resources to continue making small environmentally positive changes in their life and participate in environmental advocacy from home.
On Friday, April 24, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) will celebrate Earthstock with a Facebook Watch party featuring a documentary about Lee Koppelman, an influential Long Island urban planner and Stony Brook professor who was active in public service from the 1960s through the early 2000s.
Titled Koppelman, directed and edited by SoMAS students Megan Gallagher (environmental humanities) and Anna Smith (atmospheric and oceanic sciences), the documentary explores Koppelman’s vision for a plan to ensure that Suffolk County would have “enough open space for everyone to live comfortably.”
On Friday, WUSB radio will host a program Friday from 12:15 pm-1:30 pm titled Coronavirus and Climate Change, hosted by Distinguished professor of Ecology & Evolution, Jeffrey Levinton. He will be interviewing SoMAS Dean Paul Shepson and noted author, conservationist and endowed SoMas Professor Carl Safina.
At virtually anytime, take an online stroll through one of the University’s most treasured spots and view Stony Brook Celebrates Ashley Schiff Preserve at 50. Some students know it as a scenic shortcut from the Main Campus to South Campus and back. Others use it as a “living laboratory” to study its geographical features and learn about its rich plant and animal life. For the whole community, it’s a place of enduring natural beauty.
For more details on all events, visit the Earthstock page.
An important part of Earthstock is a focus on being green, and this year’s event was no exception, despite campus festivities being cancelled. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take Stony Brook University’s Green Pledge, which recognizes individuals who promote environmental sustainability.
Said SoMas Lecturer Tara Rider, “With so many people around the world quarantined, we are witnessing a unique moment with nature often taking back the streets of urban areas even as we see a lessening of air pollution in various parts of the world. Yet, we need to continue to act to protect our world, even as we fight this pandemic. I’ve encouraged students to flood the digital world with environmental action and awareness.”