Major Earth Day Celebration at UA on April 22

More than 12 hours of activities will engage people to think about responsibilities and opportunities in a fast-changing world.
April 10, 2009
Earth Day 2009 at UA
April 22, 2009
UA campus locations, University Boulevard at Main Gate

The University of Arizona, joined by the city of Tucson, Pima County and local businesses, will mark April 22 with one of the biggest Earth Day celebrations ever held on campus.

"The UA has always served the people of Arizona by addressing the most critical issues facing our society," UA President Robert N. Shelton said. "I am proud of University students, staff and faculty who have joined with government and industry to create an Earth Day celebration that will engage people in thinking about their roles, responsibilities and opportunities in a globally changing environment."

The Earth Day celebration has been many months in planning. Last fall, the UA Campus Sustainability Committee successfully worked with the City of Tucson and Pima County to be recognized as one of only 10 locations for the Spotlight Conversation on Climate.

"Earth Day will further the development of the President's Climate Commitmant Plan for the UA by providing grassroots input from the entire community," said Glenn Schrader, chair of the UA Campus Sustainability Committee. "A campus sustainability walking tour also will be inaugurated, which embodies the vision of the campus as a laboratory for sustainability."

Earth Day also will mark the date for the UA Environmental Summit.

"Earth Day is a great occasion to confirm The University of Arizona's commitment to research, teaching and outreach on the environment, as well as to sustainability in our own lives and campus," said Diana Liverman. "Returning to the UA, I have been especially impressed by the quality and enthusiasm of recent faculty hires, many of whom will speak at the environmental summit, and by the breadth and depth of environmental expertise across the campus."

Formerly a member of the UA faculty and more recently of Oxford University, Liverman rejoined the UA this year as co-director of the Institute for the Environment and Society, which has since shortened its name to the Institute of the Environment.

About 40 UA students put in months of work contacting sponsors, partners and vendors and arranging Earth Day activities, said Lesley Ash, sustainability director for the Associated Students of the University Arizona, or ASUA. "Every aspect of the 'Carbon Down Arizona' block party is being developed and implemented by a student," Ash said.

"One thing we really want to emphasize is that we are promoting green jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities for students," she added. "We really want to build collaborations between students and the community to develop future leaders in this arena."

Earth Day 2009 Events

8 a.m.-noon, Spotlight Conversation on Climate Action, UA Student Union Grand Ballroom.

Tucson is one of 10 U.S. communities chosen by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability to be highlighted nationally in a community discussion called "Spotlight Conversation on Climate Action."

ICLEI, formerly known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, is an association of more than 1,000 local governments in 65 nations committed to sustainable development.

The city of Tucson, Pima County and The University of Arizona are hosting the Tucson Community Conversation on Climate Action. The public is invited to participate by registering online at Registration is free.

After opening remarks by Tucson Vice Mayor Regina Romero, Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Elias and Shelton, presenters will talk about anticipated local environmental changes, economic challenges and human health effects posed by climate change in southern Arizona.

Participants will then join one of five discussion groups that focus on climate change as it relates to human health and food security, drought preparedness, affordable housing and building energy use, mobility, and jobs and economy.

The community discussions will be used to update the city's general plan, the county's comprehensive plan, and the University president's climate commitment plan.

Contacts: Nicole Urban-Lopez, city Office of Conservation and Sustainable Development (520-837-6934; nicole.urban-lopez@tucsonaz. gov)

Tedra Fox, Pima County sustainability manager (520-740-8766;

Glenn Schrader, chemical and environmental engineering (520-621-2591;

11 a.m.-3 p.m. UA Block Party 'Carbon Down Arizona,' University Boulevard, Main Gate Square

UA students from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Arizona Public Interest Research Group have organized a street fair-style block party for anyone interested in creating a more sustainable environment in Tucson. Major sponsors of this event include the Tucson Pima Metropolitan Energy Commission, the Residence Hall Association, Aveda and the Marshall Foundation.

Entirely student-planned and student-run, the block party will feature green product and service vendors, activities organized by campus clubs and organizations, sustainable living workshops, a UA sustainability initiatives showcase, free yoga sessions, a clean car show, local band performances, a farmer's market and more.

Student organizers emphasize that they're not just holding a vendor fair, but are promoting green job, internship and volunteer opportunities, and also joint University and community efforts that can result in more sustainable lifestyles.

Ward 2 Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman will kick-off the "Carbon Down Arizona" block party with a keynote speech.

Contacts: Lesley Ash, ASUA sustainability director (520-850-0830;, Brendan Nuriddin, ASUA (520-245-6592;

11 a.m.-3 p.m. UA Campus Sustainability Walking Tour

Those who tour the UA campus are struck by its beauty.

What they might not realize is that attractive UA buildings also harvest rain and sunshine for water and energy, nurture Sonoran landscapes and a big turf roof, chill utility costs and provide space for students and faculty who are designing a more sustainable future.

Members of the UA community who see beauty in sustainability have now produced a "Sustainability Walking Tour" brochure that will guide visitors to 11 stops worth seeing.

Signs will also mark the walking tour stops, which include the UA Visitor Center, the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the Ice Plant, the Meinel Optical Sciences expansion, the Integrated Learning Center and the Student Recreation Center expansion.

Contacts: Glenn Schrader, chemical and environmental engineering (520-621-2591;, Gary Woodard, hydrology and water resources (520-626-5399;

1 p.m.-5 p.m. UA Environmental Summit, Student Union Gallagher Theater

The UA's Institute of the Environment will convene more than 35 faculty to present results of their latest cutting-edge environmental research at the summit.

Shelton and Provost and Executive Vice President Meredith Hay will give an overall perspective on UA environmental research, and each scientist will speak briefly about the results of a recent environmental research project.

The Institute of the Environment, co-directed by Jonathan Overpeck and Diana Liverman, will enhance the visibility, research competitiveness and effectiveness of scholars who embody the University's strengths in research, training and outreach on the environment. Environmental expertise at the UA ranges from the natural and physical sciences to the social and behavioral sciences, and from engineering and agriculture to business, health and law, and art and the humanities.

Contact: Lou Regalado, Institute for Environment (520-792-8712;

7 p.m. Screenings of "Planet Earth," Student Union Gallagher Theater

Three episodes of "Planet Earth" – "Deserts," "Ice Worlds" and "Shallow Seas" – will be screened at Gallagher Theater. The shows are free and open to the public on a first-come-first-served basis. Popcorn will be available for purchase.

Contact: Liz Zavodsky, Residence Life (520-626-9179;