CHICAGO – Earth Week has kicked off with many events around the Chicago area leading up to Earth Day on April 22.
With raging wildfires, rising floodwaters and destructive storms, the world keeps seeing worsening effects of the climate crisis.
But instead of getting overwhelmed, this week is about getting to work.
“We need to get beyond gloom and doom into things that are very simple. Sometimes that can make a difference,” said David Husemoller, Sustainability Manager, College of Lake County.
At the College of Lake County, they brought in a rap activist to kick off Earth Week as one of many new ways to talk about issues such as plastic use.
“Not everybody wants to hear a chemist talk about that and some people are more artistically inclined, so we’re reaching vastly different audiences,” said Husemoller.
At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one Earth Week event brings home an alum who is now a Harvard law professor, and has argued several climate change cases in front of the Supreme Court.
“If you want to really find the source of the problem. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the Supreme Court. I think the real source of the problem is Congress,” said Professor Richard Lazarus, Harvard Law School.
Lazarus says the high court wants Congress to change laws, but that deadlocked body hasn’t passed an air pollution law since 1990.
The theme of Earth Day this year is “Invest In Our Planet” and Lazarus says many businesses are doing that by moving away from coal and gas because it’s good business.
“Why were the companies doing it? Because they’re a big environmentalist? No, they were doing it because it was where the bottom line was.”
Friday is Earth Day, but there are events all week from spring-cleaning in Waukegan to a seed give away at Pullman National Monument.
Plus, there are many clean-ups for communities, parks and forest preserves.