Picnic for the Planet
On Friday, April 19, all students, staff, and faculty at Washington College are invited to a free picnic lunch outside of Hodson Hall to culminate a week of events celebrating Earth Day. The dining hall will be closed from 9:30 to 4, and instead everyone will find in their mailbox a ticket for a “green-to-go” reusable container with a picnic lunch: Spinach salad and spring mix topped with mandarin oranges, blueberries, strawberries and feta; grilled veggie salad; bread stick and a gourmet cookie. Chefs will be outside grilling up salmon, andouie sausage and chicken to round out the meal.
By closing Hodson and enjoying the Lights Out Lunch, Zena Maggitti, director of Dining Services, estimates the College will save about 390 metered hours of electricity and 610 gallons of water. The lunch will reintroduce the green-to-go reusable containers with a new bonus; now, you can use them in the retail dining areas like Java George and Martha’s Kitchen, and get 25 cents off cash and dining dollar purchases when you do. The world’s problems are big, but these kinds of small steps lead to the greater goal of sustainability both on the campus and around the globe.
The Lights Out Lunch is being presented in partnership with the Center for Environment & Society, which is bringing local food vendors to the picnic, too—a smaller version of the terrific farmer’s market that happens on Saturdays downtown. Relay for Life will be fundraising by soaking people in a dunk tank, and there will be a DJ mixing music.
CES is also sponsoring a series of public talks during the week that will examine our connection to our home planet through spiritual as well as practical perspectives. To kick off the campus’ Earth Week events, on Monday, April 15, Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, director of the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network, will speak about “For the Love of God: Responding to the Call of the Earth.” On Wednesday, environmental writer Joan Maloof, founder and director of the Old-Growth Forest Network, will deliver a lecture titled “Talking about Trees: How Are We All Connected and How do We Respond?”
On Friday, the same day as the Lights Out Lunch, urban forager Nance Klehm will make a presentation about sustainable living in the middle of Little Village, a densely populated neighborhood in the heart of Chicago. Her work has received national attention from Time Magazine and the Utne Reader, among others. And on Monday, April 22, Earth Day itself, CES will host a screening of the feature-length documentary In Organic We Trust, followed by a Skype discussion with its director, Kip Pastor. The film takes a critical look at the organic food movement and asks if organic food really is an effective way to save our environment and improve public health.