With each year that passes, environmental catastrophe becomes increasingly more likely. The process of preventing and reversing some of these effects is arduous and requires cooperation on both the individual and institutional level. This year, members of the Knox College community are dedicating the entire month of April to raising awareness on some of these issues.
While the KARES-sponsored event has historically lasted one week out of Spring Term, the duration of this year’s Earth Month has extended to encompass the entire month of April and has gained more notice than in previous years. Because the month-long event has allowed more activities to take place, it has reached a wider variety of students and has increased the overall amount of involvement.
Senior and co-president of KARES Tommy Hintz hopes the hands-on activities scheduled for this year will grant Knox students and members of the community a new perspective on the environment. He feels too many people lack awareness of the small changes they can make to have an impact.
“On an individual level it’s very easy to make positive environmental changes, and I think about the companies who are putting out CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and that requires so much policy and so much institutionalized change,” said Hintz. “Whereas at the individual level you can change what you want to change.”
Some of this year’s activities, such as soap- and terrarium-making, were intended to remind students and members of the community of the power an individual has.
“We hope to get some people to get some experiences with sustainability or to have some experiences with the environment, or to just learn about the environment or to be a little more environmentally minded,” said Hintz. “There’s so many facets of life that you can change in order to become a little more environmentally friendly.”
Hintz expressed that one of the most important events of this year’s Earth Month is a lecture by biologist Dr. Tyrone Hayes on the pesticide Atrazine’s effect on the reproduction of frogs and on human health.
“His story is particularly interesting because it’s about him as an individual fighting a huge company that makes pesticide,” said Hintz. “Him kind of having this feud with them is one of the most well known feuds between a scientist and a big chemical company.”
KARES co-president Sophia Spooner, who graduated at the end of Winter Term, also emphasized the importance of the upcoming Earth Day festival. Attendees of the festival can expect food, games and booths run by members of both the Knox and Galesburg community.
Regarding Hayes’ lecture and this weekend’s festival, Spooner emphasized the efforts to bring Knox and Galesburg together, specifically by featuring vendors from local businesses.
“We wanted to make sure that all the events were free, that they were all really accessible to the community, faculty, staff, students,” Spooner said.
What was once solely organized by KARES has become a group effort through the participation of other clubs on campus. Organizations such as the Knox Food Recovery Network and Student Senate have aided in the organization of some events.
“It’s really good to feel like there’s more people kind of jumping on to this Earth Month idea and more people wanting to get involved with it,” said Hintz. “It’s really cool to see all these different groups and organizations coming together on something that they clearly show a focus on the environment and the Earth.”
The Earth Day festival will take place on April 23 after the Earth Day 5k, and will be located on the Gizmo patio and Old Main lawn from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.