This content was published: May 10, 2018. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.
Earth (Extended) Week 2018 Recap
Posted by joe.culhane
For being mid April, we sure found ourselves with an unusual abundance of sunshine and hot weather here in the Pacific Northwest. Sure there were the occasional swift and abrupt breezes that tickled n’ chilled our skin, which also ruffled and tossed pamphlets about while tabling outside. Really though, overall it was such delightfully mild weather we’ve experienced these past couple weeks that it didn’t leave much room for complaining. The illusion of these “perks” of climate change can play some confusing (and pleasurable) short term tricks on us from time to time…
Well, it’s official. Portland Community College has completed another year of engaging, entertaining, educational, and even challenging events for this year’s Earth (Extended) Week. If you happened to be on the grounds of our four major campuses or out at Newberg Center between April 16th – 27th, there’s a good chance you got a small (or large) dose of Earth Week vibes!
This year, like last, was filled with sustainability, climate action and environmental justice-focused events. It was great to once again see students, staff, and faculty engaged in these activities across the district. There was also a decent turnout from the surrounding community members as well (which is always nice to see)! Throughout the nearly two weeks of programming based around Earth Day there were also a number of volunteer opportunities and service learning projects. PCC loves to help create ways to come together and explore what collaboration, celebration, and community can look like as we help work towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and diverse reality here at our college and beyond.
As has been our tradition here at PCC, we again offered free educational events including documentary screenings, tabling fairs, workshops and talks on #ecosocialjustice, gardening, seed and start sharing, climate change discussions, civic engagement, and your usual suspects of sustainability education awareness: tips on waste reduction, recycling, composting, and energy conservation as well. This year we broadened the dialogue by bringing artists and other leaders who play great contributing roles in environmental and social activism or “artivism” as it has been referred to. There were also a number of classes who incorporated this year’s events into their curricula and came out to make their lessons be a part of some of these great events.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Earth Week here at PCC without getting our hands in some soil! There were a number of opportunities for the PCC community to get those healing effects from playing in the dirt with plenty of action at our learning gardens! The Sylvania QRC hosted a “trans”-plant event at the learning garden and welcomed our new honey bee friends to the apiary. Rock Creek kicked off Portlandia Farmstandia and their annual garden work party was a huge success! Out at Newberg, they had some more cob construction action going on as they look to finish their cob shed which is a whole other way to get good and messy working with the earth! There were also ways to bring this goodness home with free plant starts and Pacific Northwest native seeds for our friends the pollinators.
Off campus we also had some great events this year. There was a huge turnout for the beach cleanup that Rock Creek ASPCC organized. Volunteers learned about the harm plastic is doing to marine ecosystems and human health. Then, the lovely areas around Cannon Beach got some good care and loving from over 100 “trash warrior” volunteers! The 3rd Annual Kelley Point Park Clean Up was also a great event that was coordinated out of Cascade campus. This year it was a collaborative event between the Environmental Justice Club at PCC Cascade and the Environmental club at PSU. The cleanup ended up having volunteers from PCC, PSU, OHSU, and our good friends at Portland Parks & Recreations and the support of SOLVE. There was an English Ivy invasive species removal session that went down which became a glorious stress relieving exercise for those folks who hadn’t been too pleased with this particular unwelcome guest taking over their yards and landscapes.
This year we were very fortunate to have some really great guest speakers come join us to once again explore the relationship between environmental sustainability and social justice. At Sylvania Dr. Breeze Harper provided a thought provoking lecture and workshop sharing her work exploring food justice, racism, and the intersectionality of these systems of oppression in “ethical” foodscapes such as veganism. She spoke truth to a packed house and curated insightful discussions about necessary action for food and racial justice. This event was a collaborative effort between the Sylvania Multicultural Center, Sylvania and Environmental Center and District Sustainability.
At Cascade Campus, the student leadership across the district had the opportunity to both listen to and create a lively discussion with Tara Houska, a native Indigenous tribal rights lawyer who has worked within the White House under Barack Obama and was a special council for Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Tara shared her wisdom and stories with us and we left this experience motivated and ready to take more actions to support divestment and using our money to support local businesses and enterprises that truly care about our earth. Tara also encouraged us to make it a priority to collaborate and bring diverse groups together to create meaningful and lasting change as we work towards reducing our excessive use of fossil fuels. This event was funded by a student grant co-written by the Native Nations Coordinator, Black Student Union Coordinator, and Environmental Justice Coordinator through the Eco Social Justice Grant. The district wide gathering was a zero waste event and was aptly called #ecosocialjustice.
It’s honestly hard to describe just how much we appreciated all the effort that has gone into making all these activities and events possible across the district. Students, staff, and faculty all played integral roles to make this all happen. We only highlighted a handful of the goodness here and honestly, so many more events and moments deserve some time in the spotlight as well! Below we’ll add one more gallery from many of the events that happened during our extended Earth Week. It’s great to be a part of a school that devotes time, focus, and energy to these sustainable pursuits and it is also encouraging to know that they happen all year round at PCC and not just around this one day a year we’ve come to call Earth Day.