In celebration of Earth Week, the Phillips Academy Sustainability Coalition (PASC) has planned a variety of events for the month of April to educate and involve the Andover community. Read below for some thoughts from students who helped to plan this month’s activities.
Why do you fight for environmental protection? What is the importance of Earth Week?
Lena Ciganer-Albeniz ’25: I fight for environmental protection because climate change is the most dire issue the world is facing right now. If we continue to abuse and deteriorate our planet, we will have no place to live and no place to display new human innovations. During Earth week, everyone is made aware of the ongoing issues regarding the environment. Even those who continue to be ignorant cannot avoid this. In contrast, Earth Week is also a week to celebrate our planet and the environment. We can take time to appreciate the little things in our daily life that are provided by nature. All in all, it is a week for us climate advocates to spread awareness, create change, and celebrate our planet.
Catherine Ma ’25: I enjoy going on walks with my family and being surrounded by nature, which motivates me to fight for environmental protection to preserve as much of the beautiful outdoors as we can. Earth Week is celebrated with the hopes of raising awareness for climate change and the harm that we can do to our planet. It’s important to allocate this time of year to have conversations, workshops, and events (which you should attend here on campus this Earth Week!) with an emphasis on how we can be more conscious of our choices. This can hopefully inspire long-term change in ourselves and in our communities while encouraging everyone to be more committed to environmental advocacy.
Karen Wang ’24: I fight for environmental protection because I believe that sustaining and improving the environment is the most important thing for ensuring a tangible future for us and generations to come. Fighting for institutional change and environmental justice at Andover is something that I believe will eventually lead to a greener and brighter world. Earth Week is important because of all the opportunities it gives people to start learning about climate change! From a hands-on art workshop in the Addison Gallery of American Art to a Climate Festival, people can get involved in new and unique ways that may be more interesting and approachable to them.
Rhine Peng ’24: I never thought about climate change as something close to me until the West Coast wildfires in 2020 (remote freshman fall), including in my home state of Washington. For days, the sky was a heavy shade of gray, and the sun was a glowing reddish orange color. It meant waking up every day and being reminded that something’s wrong, and that it’ll get worse if we do nothing. I realized how fragile our environment is, and I thought about communities that are more vulnerable. And it all began there. I hope that by raising awareness, Earth Week can also become a climate wake-up call for many others.
Carlos Cepeda-Diaz ’23: I think Earth Week is important because it sets a real date on a calendar where we can specifically and precisely address the problems we face and consider the opportunities we have now to do something about them. Even though every week should be Earth Week, observing Earth Week on campus allows Andover’s community to acknowledge that, even though we all lead very busy lives, it is critical that we look up every once in a while to notice this huge issue and make a commitment to ensuring a livable world for generations to come.
Frank Zhou ’22: Environmental justice isn’t about just what we put in our laws, oceans, or stomachs; it’s about what we set aside for our future. In an [Oliver Wendell Holmes Library]-sponsored Climate Cafe this school year, author Daniel Sherrell observed that every tick on that thermometer is millions of lives. We all have a collective obligation to safeguard the Earth we cherish; we cannot just stare and hand wring as it floods and burns under our watch. Earth Week—and the program of events that the PA Sustainability Coalition has organized with the enthusiastic activism of dozens of lowerclassmen, upperclassmen, and staff alike—calls on us to heed our charge. Join your classmates. Your friends. Your students. Your peers. The time is now.
Alexa Vinton ’22: Climate Action really became a focus of mine during the 2020 California fire season. I had known about the importance of climate change before that, yet I hadn’t fully felt the urgency of it until I couldn’t go outside due to fire smoke. It was a reality check and I feel that Earth Week is a great way to bring awareness to that urgency. We need more people to feel the urgency I felt during fire season.