By Melody Parker and Jessica Parral
When UCSC Chancellor Blumenthal took the stage at the 7th Annual Earth Summit, an event dedicated to sustainability and preventing climate change, he was met with boos and mixed applause. Before the Chancellor even began speaking, one audience member shouted, “Why do you want to destroy upper campus?!” The audience member, who was referring to the LRDP, was part of an organized group of students who continued to voice disapproval throughout the Chancellor’s speech.
However, some participants thought that the outbursts concerning the LRDP were out of place.
“I don’t think a few redwoods on Science Hill are the most important things to focus on,” Daniel Press, an Environmental Studies professor, said. “I’m much more concerned about the carbon we put up into the air.”
Press said he felt that the protestors had every right to speak out, but said, “When you study the environment critically, you have to look at what’s most urgent.”
Press, who gave a speech about environmental action at UCSC, delivered one of the most powerful lines at the conference. “A generation is literally staring at us, waiting to see what legacy we will leave them,” he said.
Despite the chancellor’s lukewarm reception, Vlad Metrik, co-chair of the Student Environmental Center, said, “This is one of the smoothest-run Earth Summits I have seen in six years. It looks like 2007 was a kick-start year and we are just starting to feel the effects.”
The event featured speakers and educational workshops, which emphasized campus sustainability and developing green practices.
Amber Schat, a fourth-year UCSC environmental studies major and planning committee member for this year’s Earth Summit, attended the event. About environmental issues, she said, “Sometimes I’m distracted by the ways these issues are packaged, but I think the underlying message is strong. I know because I am a part of this movement. I’ve gotten to know the participants and their challenges and it’s exciting to see how everyone is finding ways to be strategic with their efforts.”
Earth Summit attendees were given compact fluorescent light bulbs, complements of PG&E, and reusable stainless steel coffee mugs from the Student Environmental Center.
The event also included an all-organic lunch, which was made possible by the UCSC Sustainability Office and the Student Environmental Center.
Aurora Winslade, UCSC’s new campus sustainability coordinator, spoke on how the focus is not to take action to stop climate change, because it is already occurring, but to prevent further damage from sea level rise, prolonged flood and drought, and catastrophic population displacement.
Winslade said, “We are creating a world that we cannot live in.”