Green Corner: Earth Day: Raising the Value of Natural Resources

For our growing population of students interested in sustainability on campus, Earth Day is one of the most exciting parts of spring. This year, celebrations will take place on the nationally observed holiday, April 22, with fun activities in the seasonable sun from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students are also encouraged to attend this year’s keynote speaker, Tim DeChristopher, who is the subject of April’s Green Film: Bidder 70.

DeChristopher is the founder of Peaceful Uprising, a non-violent climate justice organization, which is currently active in many sustainability advocacy issues. His story of social change began nine years ago in Utah by reshaping the lives of at-risk adolescents, guiding a wilderness program. With strengthened ties to the Earth following this humanitarian venture, he set out to further protect our planet upon hearing about a land lease auction. The parcels were a part of the Arches and Canyons National Park, once protected in a land trust, and now faced clearance for oil drilling.

Recognizing the injustice of failing to protect this landscape for future generations and also the very low value being placed on these plots of land, DeChristopher participated in the auction as the now infamous bidder number 70. His involvement drove prices up from a mere $2 per acre to a much larger $240 for each unit, and he ultimately won nearly $2 million of land. His interference and lack of funds to support this purchase landed him a jail sentence and fine, but his actions did more good than harm.

This act of civil disobedience was nonviolent and extremely creative, making him a revered leader of the green movement. More importantly, he opened many doors for improving our current land conservation practices. At a daily loss of about 6,000 acres of open space in the United States, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, our constant expansion is moving at rapid rates. As a result of this, there is a great deal of biodiversity and resource loss occurring, which is nearly impossible to recover. Many organizations work diligently to fight this issue, such as the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which has kept almost 130,000 acres from development in the past 54 years. Individuals can help this cause by joining in on DeChristopher’s mission of increasing the value of these lands and pushing conservation to the top of public priorities.

For more information about DeChristopher’s peaceful activism, join us at Green Film Bidder 70 on April 8 – 9 in Sweigart Auditorium at 7 p.m., or on April 15 for an additional showing in the SRC Shapiro Board Room at 11:30 a.m. Be sure to come out and celebrate Earth Day with the Eco-Reps, the Office of Sustainability and DeChristopher on April 22 at 7 p.m. in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater. For more information about Bidder 70, go to www.bidder70.org.

-Lexi Reynolds

Lawrenceville Campus Eco-Rep

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