Earth Days 2016 at Salem State

Elections and the Environment: What’s At Stake?

April 11 - 15, 2016

The theme of this year’s Earth Day celebration at Salem State University is “Elections and the Environment: What’s At Stake?”

With the conclusion of the successful climate change talks in Paris and the federal U.S. elections looming next fall, the future of the environment is at a crossroads. Global commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use create the potential to limit increases in temperature and lessen impacts of global climate change. Concurrently, the fossil fuel industry, climate change deniers and misinformation campaigns prevent enactment of meaningful public policies and hinder constructive discussion about how to address this environmental crisis, particularly in the United States.

We believe that climate change, over-development, environmental degradation, over-consumption and over-population are challenges to survival of human civilization and non-human inhabitants. Costs of climate change include conflict, poverty, inequality, hunger and species extinctions.

Our theme looks at these issues in the context of the 2016 elections. The election of a new president and Congress will determine how effectively the United States confronts climate change and transitions away from fossil fuels to alternative renewable energy sources. The election will also decide the future of clean water laws and other environmental regulations. Wildlife face enormous threats from sustained Congressional attacks on the Endangered Species Act and the opening of national wildlife refuges to hunting and resource exploitation. Our goal is to help ensure that concerns for the environment and climate change will be on the minds of voters when they step into the voting booth in the fall.

Earth Days Week 2016 will explore and highlight the role of environmental issues in the elections and the role of the elections in deciding the future of planet Earth and its environments. The Earth Day Planning Committee invites you to participate in this year’s Earth Days events to learn, contemplate, discuss and share ideas on this theme.


Saturday April 9, 2016

Service Saturday Farm Service Project with The Food Project in Lynn. 9am - 1pm.

Did you ever want to work on a farm? Volunteer at The Food Project on Saturday, April 9, 2016, from 9am to 1pm.

The Food Project is an organization that grows food in sustainable farms and distributes it through community supported agriculture programs, farmers markets, and local hunger relief organizations.

Email to sign up! Please arrive at Marsh Dining Hall on Central Campus at 8:30am to volunteer! Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to get dirty working in the fields, weeding and harvesting, etc.

Download a flyer (pdf)

Organized by Cynthia Lynch, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement, and sponsored by the Community Service Club and the Center for Civic Engagement.


Monday April 11, 2016

Environmental Involvement and Career Forum, 10:30am - 12:30pm, Veterans Hall, Ellison Campus Center

Representatives from state and federal government, environmental organizations, activist groups and more will attend. Students should come to network with environmental professionals, to investigate summer and academic year internships, and learn about potential jobs.

Faculty coordinator for this event: Dr. Jay Ranga, Chemistry & Phsyics


Earth Day Poster Competition. Check in for Student Posters, 10:30 - 11:00am, Lobby, Ellison Campus Center

Student Poster & Art Competition, 11:00am - 12:20pm, Ellison Campus Center

The Earth Day Student Poster Competition is the only judged poster competition on campus and features cash awards to the top ten percent of submitted posters. Any class at 200-level or higher is able to submit posters on the Earth Days Week theme. Approximately 100 research posters, submitted by SSU students in many disciplines, will be judged in the morning. Visitors are encouraged to view the posters and speak with the students who created them during the competition phase and until 12:20pm.
Coordinators for poster competition: Dr. Severin Kitanov, Philosophy, and Dr. Marcos Luna, Geography

Panel: Why Carbon Pricing is Good for Your Health: Putting a price on carbon emissions is the next step in climate leadership for Massachusetts.

12:30 - 2 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus

Come hear from a panel of climate and health experts on how pricing carbon emissions will tackle climate change, reduce air pollution, and grow our local economy. Panelists will include:
Richard Clapp is a Professor Emeritus of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health and Adjunct Professor at U. of Mass. Lowell. Professor Clapp is an epidemiologist with over forty years of experience in public health practice, research, teaching and consulting. He is with the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Cindy Luppi is the coordinator for the MA Campaign for a Clean Energy Future, a national effort dedicated to replacing toxic chemicals in personal care products with safer alternatives. Cindy is also the New England Director of Clean Water Action.

David Radue leads the North Shore chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL). CCL is a nonpartisan, grassroots, nonprofit organization advocating for national and state carbon pricing legislation. In Massachusetts, CCL is active in the Campaign for a Clean Energy Future.

Come learn about ways you can get involved! Pizza and cookies will be provided.

Download the flyer

co-organized by Mass Campaign for Clean Energy Future and Earth Day Planning Committee


Tuesday April 12, 2016

Film: Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 9:25 a.m. – 10:45 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall, MH444, North Campus.

Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet its become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents. In this independent documentary film, journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover this mysterious phenomenon. Along the way she meets scientists, researchers, influencers, and volunteers who shed light on the effects of our rabid plastic consumption and learns the problem is more insidious than we could have ever imagined.

Organized by the BioSociety

Talk: "Wanderlost Documentaries: How We Craft Stories about our Environment." 10:50 a.m. – 12:05 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

Co-produced by SSU undergrad Christopher Hughes, Wanderlost is a documentary about the ways to live for a more sustainable planet. Come find out what it takes to tell stories about the environment and why sharing stories can play a vital role in revolutionary moments.

Hosted by Chris Hughes and Wanderlost creator Jesse Manfra.

Artists Reception: FISHBOWL. 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., Berry Library Commons, North Campus.

FISHBOWL is an outdoor public sculpture designed by Professor Ken Reker and students from the Art + Design Department. FISHBOWL consists of a large structure of plastic bottles that outline the form of a fishbowl. The fishbowl is occupied by fish and assorted creatures assembled from plastic and petroleum-based products that were fabricated by Spring 2016 students from Rekers’ three-dimensional design classes, FORM & DESIGN. FISHBOWL is a kinetic work that sets the inhabitants of its environment into motion using available wind and air currents. FISHBOWL was designed specifically for Earth Days Week and will remain on view in the library commons from Friday, April 8 until Friday, April 22. There will be a reception with the artists on Tuesday, April 12 from 11 AM to 12 PM. For inquiries contact Professor Ken Reker at

Panel: "Careers in Sustainability" 12:15 – 1:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

Professionals in the environmental field share their career paths and job search strategies.

Hosted by Josue Flores, Career Services Center, and the Earth Day Planning Committee.

Film + Q&A: The Trouble with Antibiotics. 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

Can you imagine a world where simple infections can be fatal? The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is causing our life-saving medicines to become obsolete. How? Let’s talk about it. A 30-minute excerpt of the acclaimed PBS film "The Trouble with Antibiotics", followed by a Q&A about antibiotic-resistant “Superbugs” with MASSPIRG student activist Kim Barboza and faculty speaker(s), TBD. 

FRONTLINE investigates the widespread use of antibiotics in food animals and whether it is fueling the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance in people. An exclusive interview with the family of a young man who died in a nightmare bacteria outbreak that swept through a hospital at the National Institutes of Health.

Hosted by MassPIRG

Talk: “The National Park Service 100 Years and Counting: A Look at Its Past, Present, and Future.” 2 – 3:15 p.m., Veterans Hall, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

A presentation by Paul DePrey, Superintendent, Salem Maritime National Historic Site and Saugus Ironworks. Before coming to New England, DePrey oversaw NPS operations in Pearl Harbor at WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, the most popular destination in Hawaii. DePrey has also served as the co-chair of the National Park Service’s Partnership Council, chief of natural and cultural resources at Joshua Tree National Park, and chief of natural resources and fire management at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in northern California. He has also worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the USDA Office of the Secretary on interagency natural resource and economic development efforts in the desert southwest and the Pacific Northwest.

Hosted by Dept. of Sports Movement Science, Bates Center for Public Affairs, Dept. of Political Science, and Human Dimensions of Wildlife Unit


Wednesday April 13, 2016

Panel: Sustainability at SSU: Now and in the Future. 8 - 9:15 a.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

The Salem State University Trustees Special Committee on Sustainability was formed in response to student and faculty petitions for divestment from fossil fuels to address climate change and to advance the University's commitment to sustainability. The Committee will make recommendations to the SSU Trustees and wants to hear from students and faculty. Learn about what the University is doing now and let your voice be heard about what it should be doing. Should the University divest from fossil fuels? What should sustainability at SSU look like?


  • John Keenan, General Counsel and Vice President for Administration
  • Ben Szalewicz, Assistant Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities Management
  • Karen House, Vice President for Finance and Business
  • Dr. Stephen Young, Professor of Geography

Hosted by the Salem Sate University Trustees' Sustainability Committee

Talk: “Tracking Volcanic Gases from Magma to the Atmosphere.” 9:25- 10:40 a.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

A presentation by Patricia Nadeau, Kathryn W. Davis Postdoctoral Scholar at the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Nadeau specializes in volcanology and focuses on studying the roles of degassing and outgassing in various types of volcanic activity.

Hosted by the Earth Sciences Association.

Film: Racing Extinction. 10:50 a.m.- 1 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

In Racing Extinction, a team of artists and activists exposes the hidden world of extinction with never-before-seen images that will change the way we see the planet. Two worlds drive extinction across the globe, potentially resulting in the loss of half of all species. The international wildlife trade creates bogus markets at the expense of creatures that have survived on this planet for millions of years. And the other surrounds us, hiding in plain sight — a world that the oil and gas companies don’t want the rest of us to see. Using covert tactics and state-of-the-art technology, the Racing Extinction team exposes these two worlds in an inspiring affirmation to preserve life as we know it. From the Academy Award® Winning Filmmakers of "The Cove."

Discussion hosted by Professor Andrea Zeren, Psychology.

Earth Days 2016 Awards Ceremony, 6 - 8:30 p.m., Marsh Hall 210, Central Campus

6 p.m.- 7 p.m.: Earth Days Awards Ceremony
Presentation of Friend of Earth Awards to:

  • Lori Ehrlich, Massachusetts State Representative for the Eighth Essex District, representing Marblehead, Swampscott, and Lynn.

Announcement of student Poster and Art Competition winners

7 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Reception

See a list of past Friend of the Earth Award recipients (pdf)

Press coverage for 2015 Earth Days Week.

See past press coverage: Earth Days 2011, 2008, 2006


Thursday April 14, 2016

Film: DamNation. 10:50 a.m.- 12:10 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.

Hosted by the Philosophy Club.  Refreshments will be provided.

Film: Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle. 12:15 - 2:30 p.m., MLK Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus

Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle is the surreal, fascinating, tragicomic tale of the battle over America’s largest clean energy project. When energy entrepreneur Jim Gordon first proposed putting 130 wind turbines in fabled Nantucket Sound, he had no idea that a firestorm would erupt. Cape Spin! tells the incredible tale of how America’s first proposed offshore wind farm triggered a schism in this idyllic coastal region, pitting neighbor against neighbor and environmentalist against environmentalist. The tale frames the battle over Nantucket Sound as a microcosm of America’s struggle towards energy sustainability.

Hosted by Dr. Marcos Luna, Geography Department, and sponsored by the Earth Day Planning Committee.

Friday April 15, 2016

Film: Merchants of Doubt. 10:50 a.m. - 12:10 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus

Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, MERCHANTS OF DOUBT takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin. Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver- tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.

Pizza at 10:30a.m.

Hosted by Geographical Society.

Film: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. 12:15 - 3:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged. As Andersen approaches leaders in the environmental movement, he increasingly uncovers what appears to be an intentional refusal to discuss the issue of animal agriculture, while industry whistleblowers and watchdogs warn him of the risks to his freedom and even his life if he dares to persist.

Organized by Political Science and the Earth Day Planning Committee.

Forest River Beach Clean Up and "Pizza on the Beach", 12:15 – 2 p.m.

The BioSociety has been conducting beach clean-ups for a number of years as a part of the “Adopt-a-beach” program created by Salem Sound Coastwatch. Join us in keeping the marine intertidal zone of a local beach clean.

Meet at Dunkin Donuts in Meier Hall at 12:15pm to walk over or meet us at the beach (by the boat ramp) off West Avenue, Salem (by Pioneer Village)
We will provide everything including plastic gloves, garbage bags and pizza/beverages for lunch but dress accordingly

Organized by the Scuba Society and BioSociety.


Financial Support for Earth Days Generously Provided By the following:

  • Tefferteller Foundation
  • Chartwells of Salem State University
  • Hayden-MacNeal Publishers
  • Pearson Publishers
  • Salem State University School of Graduate Studies
  • Salem State Univesity School of Continuing and Professional Studies
  • Salem State University College of Arts and Sciences
  • Salem State University College of Health and Human Services
  • Salem State University Bertolon School of Business
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