The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh community will start the month of October focused on the Earth and climate change.
Earth Charter Community Summit 2021: Climate Action in Wisconsin is the theme of a week of events intended to teach, inspire and rally the campus community.
“The Earth Charter is an international declaration that provides shared values for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society,” said Stephanie Spehar, director of the Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations at UW Oshkosh. “UWO endorsed the Earth Charter in 2001, and its principles are meant to guide how we implement sustainability in all aspects of our institution.”
This year’s theme is climate change and Spehar said she hopes the week’s events will encourage people to consider what is at stake, what kind of world they want to live in and what they can do to help bring that about.
“We know that issues like climate change, and sustainability in general, are of major concern for young people,” she said. “This is no longer peripheral for them. This is something we see across the political spectrum with Gen Z. For example, even students who are more conservative will say that climate change is real, human-caused and must be addressed.”
A goal of UWO Earth Charter summit organizers is to connect people with ideas, resources and organizations that can help them to get involved.
- Saturday, Oct. 2, features a prairie walk from 9 to 11 a.m. on the Fond du Lac campus. A casual but informative walk through the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum is planned. Guides will discuss the history of the Gottfried and identify native plants, insects, birds and other animals. The Fond du Lac campus is located off State Highway 23/Johnson Street at 400 University Drive. Parking is at the east lot near the Prairie Shelter.
- Tuesday, Oct. 5, will be marked by a visit by Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Earth Charter keynote speaker. Barnes will talk on climate change and Wisconsin, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Culver Family Welcome Center, 625 Pearl Ave., on the Oshkosh campus.
- Wednesday, Oct. 6, is earmarked for a sustainability showcase and open house, planned for 3 to 5 p.m. at Sage Hall on the Oshkosh campus. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about UWO sustainability and how to be involved with research clubs and organizations and volunteer activities.
- Thursday, Oct. 7, UWO Climate Rally will culminate the week on the lawn of Culver Family Welcome Center, 625 Pearl Ave., on the Oshkosh campus. Eight local and regional climate activists will speak about climate action in Wisconsin, including Oshkosh common council member Michael Ford; and Oshkosh Mayor Lori Palmeri, who will be keynote speaker. Local environmental club and organizations will be represented with informational tables and people attending will hear how others are combating climate change and learn how they can get involved.