Earth Days 2015 at Salem State

Whose Earth Is It? Climate Change, Biodiversity and the Future

The theme of this year’s Earth Day celebration at Salem State University is “Whose Earth Is It? Climate Change, Biodiversity and the Future”

Inspired by Conservation International’s “Nature is Speaking” campaign, Earth Days Week this year will focus on human interactions with nature and the consequences of these interactions for the future. We believe that global warming, over-development, environmental degradation, over-consumption and over-population are central challenges to the survival of the planet and its human and non-human inhabitants. The costs of climate change include conflict, poverty, inequality, hunger and species extinctions. How we interact with nature will determine our future.

The Earth Day Planning Committee invites you to participate in this year’s Earth Days events to learn, contemplate, discuss and share ideas to protect and preserve the earth, oceans, atmosphere and biodiversity and to foster coexistence with nature. To encourage discussion of these important issues within the campus community, we encourage the campus community to watch the “Nature is Speaking” short films – The Ocean, Mother Nature, The Soil, Water, The Rainforest, The Redwood and Coral Reef – at


Monday April 13, 2015

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: Professor Jayashree Ranga, Chemistry and Physics Department


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: Professor Kevin Beckwith, Economics, and Librarian Carol Zoppel

Panel: "Should Salem State Divest From Fossil Fuels?"

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

In this open forum, panelists will discuss the idea of divesting Salem State University from university-held fossil fuel portfolios. The debate will be moderated with audience Q&A.

Panelists: Dr. Noel Healy - Assistant Professor of Geography, Founder of Salem State Faculty For Divestment
Jessica Debski – Salem State student (double Major of Geography and English), Representative for Divest Salem State From Fossil Fuels
Tom Francis - Director, Oil and Gas Research, Fossil Free Indexes, LLC
Michael Tyler CFA, Chief Investment Officer, Eastern Bank Wealth Management
Karen House, CPA - SSU Vice President for Finance and Business 

Organized by Professor Noel Healy, Geography, and Karen House, CPA -  SSU Vice President for Finance and Business


Tuesday April 14, 2015

Breakfast Reception with artists of the Earth Days Art Installation 9:25 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Berry Library Quad, North Campus.

Join us on the grassy quad of the Frederick E. Berry Library to meet the artists of the Earth Days outdoor installations and hear how their work connects with the environment and this year's Earth Days theme. 
Organized by Professor Ken Reker, Art + Design.

Film: "Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?" 10:50 a.m. – 12 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

Our story follows Jeb Berrier, an average American man who is admittedly not a "tree hugger," but makes a pledge to stop using plastic bags. His girlfriend, Anne, joins him in the challenge to decrease their use of plastic at home. This small action gets Jeb thinking about plastic; not just about plastic bags, but other kinds of plastic. "What is plastic made of? Is it recyclable? Does it decompose when it ends up in the landfill? Does plastic have negative health effects?" Jeb wants to learn more, so he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. 
Sponsored by the Biosociety.

Panel: "The Fight Against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline: The Moral Significance of Environmental Protection Awareness, Involved Citizenry and Eminent Domain" 12:15 – 1:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

Panelists: Suzanne Sullivan, Ipswich River Water Association Board of Directors; Frank Gullotto, Director of the North Reading/Wilmington Pipeline Awareness Committee; Severin Kitanov, Associate Professor, Philosophy Department; Liz O'Leary, Philosophy Club President; William Cornwell, Professor, Philosophy Department. 
Organized by Professor S. Kitanov, Philosophy. Sponsored by Philosophy Club


Wednesday April 15, 2015

Talk: “Understanding Human-Wildlife Conflict: Human Dimensions of Wildlife Research”, 9:25 - 10:30 a.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Jerry Vaske, Professor of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and founding co-editor of the journal Human Dimensions of Wildlife.

Organized by Professors KC. Bloom, Sport & Movement Science, & Jennier Jackman, Political Science. Sponsored by Department of Political Science, Department of Sport and Movement Science, Bates Center for Public Affairs and American Democracy Project

Panel: “Collaborations for Wildlife: Research and Volunteer Needs of Wildlife Organizations in Massachusetts”, 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus.

Organized by Professors KC. Bloom, Sport & Movement Science, & Jennier Jackman, Political Science. Sponsored by Department of Political Science, Department of Sport and Movement Science, Bates Center for Public Affairs and American Democracy Project

Earth Days 2015 Evening Program, 4:30 - 8 p.m., Meier Hall 444

Introductions & Opening Remarks

Keynote speech: Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University. Author of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming and The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future. See her 2014 TED Talk "Why we should trust scientists"

Presentation of "Friend of the Earth" Awards:

Announcement of student Poster and Art Competition winners

Reception and Book Signing

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

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


Thursday April 16, 2015

Tours of Salem State’s Cat Cove Marine Laboratory, 10 a.m. & 3:30 p.m., 92 Fort Avenue, Salem [just past the Salem power plant]

Participants in the Cat Cove tour will observe aquatic organisms being produced and grown for restoration, enhancement, and commercial initiatives. A brief history of the facility and how it has evolved will be provided. Projects from Cape Ann to Cape Cod will be discussed and linked to securing a safe and dependable supply of high quality seafood (whether from the ocean or freshwater; such as largemouth bass being grown in cranberry bogs). Tours will be led by Drs. Mark Fregeau and/or Joe Buttner, with assistance provided by Hatchery Manager Scott Weston and student workers.

Contact: Professor Joe Buttner, Biology Department

Panel: Careers in Sustainability, 10:50 a.m.- 12 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.  

Organized by Kaitlin Hurley, Career Services.  Refreshments will be provided.

Sponsored by Salem State University Career Services.

Talk: "The Fierce Urgency of Now" 12:15 - 2:55 a.m., MLK Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus

Speaker: Dr. Raymond Bradley, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst and Director of the Climate System Research Center.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the earth has undergone unprecedented changes. But in the last few decades there has been a rapid acceleration of humanity’s impact on our environment, driven by a world population that now exceeds 7 billion people. Humanity’s impact can been seen in even the remotest parts of the planet, exceeding the natural limits within which life on earth has evolved over the past few million years, at least. Exploitation of natural resources and unregulated disposal of waste products into the “global commons”—our oceans and atmosphere—poses serious challenges for the future. We must adopt solutions that lead to a more sustainable future, while raising the standard of living of those who are impoverished and increasingly vulnerable to environmental instability. This requires foresight and leadership at an international level, qualities that are sadly lacking in the political leaders of today.

Organized by Professor John Hayes, Geography Department

Sponsored by the Earth Day Planning Committee, Darwin Festival Committee, and the Geography Department

Friday April 17, 2015

Film: "Virunga" 8:50 - 10 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall, Meier Hall 444, North Campus

In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers - including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a dedicated conservationist - protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo's rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they've worked so hard to protect, with the filmmakers and the film’s participants caught in the crossfire.

Organized by Professors Ryan Fisher, Biology, & KC. Bloom, Sport & Movement Science. Sponsored by Biology Department and Department of Sport and Movement Science

Films: "Gasland" and "Gasland Part II" 12:15 - 3:30 p.m., MLK Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus

Gasland: "The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown."

Gasland Part II: In this explosive follow-up to his Oscar®-nominated film GASLAND, filmmaker Josh Fox uses his trademark dark humor to take a deeper, broader look at the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil, now occurring on a global level (in 32 countries worldwide).

Organized by Professor Marcos Luna, Geography, and Librarian Carol Zoppel.


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
  • Salem State University Student Government Association
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