Earth Week attracted students who wanted to get into the “green” spirit with activities and movies.
People may think that all they need to do to contribute to Earth Week is to recycle their plastic soda bottle or pick up a piece of trash on the side walk. Certainly recycling and collecting trash is helpful, but there is a larger goal behind living green.
EMCC Sustainability Team Co-Chair, Nadine Johnson, believes that “Earth Week represents a time to celebrate environmental conservation and responsibility.” Earth Week is about taking control of situations that can be controlled if we put our minds to it. Additionally, EMCC student Kaitlyn Thompson is “glad that there are people who care”.
During the Earth Week festivities, a couple of movies were presented that expanded on the idea of what Earth Week and caring for the environment is really about. One of the films was “Sharkwater”, a documentary that followed Rob Stewart on his quest to save sharks being illegally fished and killed for their fins. Stewart ventured to Costa Rica with Paul Watson, a long-time defender of sharks. Stewart explained that sharks are not as dangerous as everyone believes. After spending many hours amongst sharks, his research shows that “It doesn’t want to hurt you and it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.” Stewart also goes on to say that the reason sharks have been depicted as such frightening creatures is because “The media […] loves to have a monster.”
Stewart and Watson went on a grueling journey, complete with danger and legal issues, discovered the scope of the undercover shark fin industry. They eventually had to flee Costa Rica to avoid being arrested on the charges of attempted murder after they ran into an illegal fishing boat.
Another film, “Otter 501”, followed Katie, a young woman striving to become a marine biologist. While vacationing in Monterey at her uncle’s house for six months, Katie comes to terms with the positive and negative aspects of being a marine biologist, after she finds a baby sea otter abandoned on the beach. This event pushed her to connect with members of the Monterey Bay Aquarium who are conducting studies on sea otters. Katie helps the animals by surveying them and recording information about what they are doing and when they are doing it. Katie creates a special bond with the otter she rescued, and in turn begins to love all of the otters and wants to help them.
The three main characters of these documentaries reveal the larger meaning of Earth Week: Make your voice heard. Do not be afraid to speak up about issues that are bothering you about the environment. Stewart, Watson, and Katie decided to speak up and be heard.