Earth Day, celebrated on April 22nd, is dedicated to sharing resources and information to promote environmental awareness.
This year’s theme is to Invest in our Planet through action-oriented solutions. The College of Science fosters the dedication to expand on environmental knowledge through many experiential learning opportunities and our Marine and Environmental Sciences programs. However, day-to-day practices for planet restoration are only possible with the many student/faculty-led organizations and research on our campus today.
We recently spoke with Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences (MES) Aron Stubbins, who shared his insight on being more environmentally conscious.
From water usage to Carbon emissions, daily activities hinder environmental restoration efforts. Alternatives like walking, biking, and public transportation could decrease Carbon emissions. Stubbins said that “the first of these strengthen the public transport network too, by increasing use we could make this low-cost transportation available to more people who need it. Biking and walking should also benefit individual health and well-being.”
Yearly, the same messages of reuse, reduce and recycle appear everywhere. However, the importance of reducing plastic usage could be misunderstood. According to Stubbins, with proper techniques, recycling could be very beneficial for our planet. Recycling “should reduce the number of plastics that ends up in the environment and also reduce Carbon emissions from making plastics as well as minimize the usage of some dangerous plastics,” he said.
Countless of organizations on campus are actively doing the work to encourage sustainability and environmental awareness. Sierra Muñoz, Outreach Program Coordinator for the Marine Science Center, named a few organizations which are making a difference on campus.
The Husky Environmental Action Team (HEAT) is an organization which raises awareness about sustainability issues at Northeastern University. The team works with the Administration of the University to develop sustainability initiatives on campus. They “host events that promote responsible use of energy and waste. They target issues such as food, waste, energy, product life cycles, divestment from the fossil fuel industry, and recycling,” Muñoz said.
EcoScholars is a student-led group on campus that work with a local elementary school and after-school programs in the Boston area, to provide climate change and environmental education. Victoria Mung, Northeastern ’25, Environmental and Sustainability Sciences Major, volunteers with EcoScholars and shared the following:
“We start by introducing climate change as a topic and what contributes to it, and then we talk about different kinds of habitats (e.g., the Arctic, forests, coral reefs, etc.) and how climate change and other human activities may impact them. We also discuss ways to help the environment that the kids can apply in their lives, and intersperse the lessons with different arts and crafts activities to keep students engaged.”
Victoria will bring her experiences with EcoScholars to her upcoming Fall ‘23 co-op with the MES Outreach Program.
A group of students through the Northeastern Climate Justice Fellowship have been utilizing their collaborations with Northeastern faculty and public officials to promote Northeastern’s Climate Action Plan. Their groups has advocated for climate equity for students and nearby communities by addressing Northeastern’s energy usage, Co2 emissions, food waste etc.
As the end of the school year approaches, many students are packing up to move into their new apartments or dorm, for co-op/ the new year. During this time, students tend to throw out items that they no longer need from their dorm. The Trash2Treasure organization helps reduce campus waste through events and yard-sale initiatives, where these items could be sold for extremely low prices.
Earth Day is Everyday!
At MES, “we celebrate earth day and environmental awareness every day,” said Muñoz. “In the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences, the undergraduate courses themselves build on the research and teaching capacity of those in our Coastal Sustainability Institute and the Marine Science Center, to empower the next generation of sustainability and conservation leaders.”
From our Environmental Studies major to the Geosciences minor, students could expand on their interests and participate in important research projects.
The Outreach Program shares hands-on environmental science lessons with thousands of Boston and North Shore area students each year, working to share the research at MES with students and communities. “Our High School Marine Science Symposium is a great example of creating access to environmental science as a way to encourage students to think about their local environment and become advocates for its protection,” she said.
“The co-op and summer internships in MES also enable students to gain hands-on experience in the lab and the field and to work towards solutions to environmental problems alongside our research faculty and graduate students,” says Muñoz. “We are especially proud of the students who represented MES during last week’s RISE Expo – 4 students from the Lotterhos Lab presented research.”
Here at the College of Science, opportunities to expand your environmental conservation and solutions are available to all. Whether it be through research or simply taking a class of interest, the resources are at your fingertips!