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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

The history of Earth Day: SJU GreenFund encourages climate activism


Every year, Earth Day is recognized on April 22 and involves more than a billion people in more than 190 countries. It began in 1970 as a response to industry pollution and lackluster concern for the environment. The first Earth Day movement united political opponents, students, business leaders, and farmers under a common issue to address environmental issues. This movement helped establish important environmental agencies and policies that are still in effect today, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Air Act.

On a global scale, the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals shines a spotlight on the growing issue of climate change and other ecological issues. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released extensive reports on the effects of human-induced climate change for over thirty years. The IPCC reports, “Global warming of 1.5°-2° will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.” Without rapid action, the already narrowing window to mitigate the effects of climate change will permanently close.

The results of activism have helped draw attention to environmental issues and undoubtedly helped save a variety of species’ lives. However, we need to continue striving toward being more sustainable and environmentally conscious. St. Joe’s mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution is to “pursue social justice” and “make ethical decisions.” With this in mind, we have frankly not done enough as an institution to uphold our mission statement with regard to the ecological crisis. 

We have a duty to pursue sustainability and uphold the integrity of God’s creation as a devoted Jesuit institution. Without becoming more sustainable, we fail both our ideals and those who attend SJU seeking a true Jesuit education. To raise awareness and inspire our community, we at Green Fund are hosting an all-day event on April 23 called GreenFest in the Cardinal Foley Center with guest speakers and free activities. 

Following the example of the first Earth Day, we call on the senior leadership and members of the Saint Joseph’s community to pledge and actively work toward a campus with net-zero emissions by 2040. For our campus, we propose a panel composed of senior leadership, faculty, staff and students that are committed to making campus more sustainable as soon as possible. 


SJU Green Fund

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