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April 29, 2005

BC Celebrates Earthday in Spite of GW

Hyunjoo Lee

      I think GW would have enjoyed Earthday here at BC, since he managed to miss his scheduled Earthday stop at the Great Smoky Mountains due to "bad weather." It was probably Mother Earth protesting his ridiculously-named environmental plan, the "Clear Skies Plan." Clear skies indeed. . .

      He would have enjoyed BC's Earthday because we proved that although you can't move a mountain, you can move a Trashmore. This year, BC celebrated Earthday with a lot of trash, 100 bags of it in fact. Representing half a day's worth of trash from upper and main campus, students and administrators shuffled through Mt. Trashmore in search of recyclables to show by-passers, aka The Guilty Ones, that paper, bottles, and cans are unnecessarily being thrown away. By the end of the afternoon, over twenty bags of recyclables lined the dustbowl walk-way.

      Other activities also marked BC's Earthday, with a ClothesSwap where students donated clothes and also did a little bit of shopping themselves, with the rest being donated. And Ecopledge awarded BC officials with 105,000 kilowatt hours of free renewable energy. In case the readers don't know what "renewable energy" means, and I don't blame them because our administration seems to think "renewable energy" is drilling for domestic oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (which would only supply 6 months worth of oil, after a ten-year drilling period!) or giving tax breaks for the coal and oil industries, renewable energy refers to solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy. They are independent from market ups and downs and from unstable foreign regimes, limitless since there will always be the sun and the wind, and just simply smart.

      On second thought, if GW had come to BC this past Friday, he might have felt a bit intimidated. Because the truth is, the little enviro groups at this one school have done more than he has done in the past five years. To win the Renewable Energy Award, Ecopledge members canvassed all throughout October gathering signatures for the "Declaration of Independence of Dirty Energy" petition. With 837 signatures collected in two weeks, BC ranked in the top ten schools, winning the clean energy award. And the BC administration has been working with student environmentalists all year to better on-campus recycling and environmental awareness programs. With new indoor recycle bins in upper dorms, posters up in all the dining halls, and plans to institutionalize environmental education through orientation and dorm talks throughout the year, BC has achieved milestones in just one school year.

      It's unfortunate that progress is not seen on the federal level. In fact, GW has successfully managed to guarantee even greater environmental destruction. His energy bill, whose name I cannot even write without grimacing, would guarantee more polluted air, water, and land. The bill does little to promote conservation or alternate energy approaches. Instead, it gives more time for power plants, factories and refineries to reduce their air pollution, time that we don't have but which Bush is willing to sell for profit.

      Personally, I'm glad Bush didn't come to BC's Earthday. I don't know what I would have done if I saw him there, picking at Mt. Trashmore for a good photo op, eating the vegan snacks that the Animal Rights Organization made, or perusing the Clothes-Swap pile for a new shirt or tie. Because his environmental plans, from the Clear Skies to the "Healthy Forests" law (which lets companies log large, commercially valuable tress in national forests in exchange for clearing smaller, more fire-prone trees and brush. Healthy Forests indeed!) are direct insults to not just environmentalists but to all sentient beings able to think and reason, not to mention huge assaults on the earth. "We didn't create the earth but we have an obligation to protect it," he said at the airport outside Knoxville before climbing into his plane to Texas. You cannot be obligated to protect anything if you do not even see what that thing is or what it is worth. Sigh. I guess to tie this little article together, I would say that if Bush had come to BC's Earthday, I would have wished him a safe flight back to Texas, weather permitting.

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