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Environmental Sustainability, Events

Northwest Celebrates Virtual Earth Day

The Northwest School community celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day online, starting with a moving and powerful concert by Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter MILCK, and engaged in a day of reflection surrounding environmental justice, education, and climate change, on Wednesday, April 22.

MILCK delivered a personal performance via Zoom, with 476 members of the school logged in and watching. She performed three songs, “If I Ruled the World,” “Quiet,” and “Gold,” and then engaged in a Q&A with students afterward. MILCK introduced the set by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to perform in the special Earth Day celebration.

“I am so grateful for the people who came before us and started this Earth Day 50 years ago and continue to speak up about the importance of thinking about our environment for the past 50 years,” said MILCK. “I am also grateful for the indigenous people who have been here and built a beautiful relationship with the land, we must acknowledge that, who have inhabited this land before us.”

Northwest School’s Director of Environmental Education and Sustainability Jenny Cooper planned the day with the help of a group of faculty members and students. Their planning focused on curiosity, joy, and justice. Jenny said they were compelled to elevate those three points specifically because of the imperative to act on climate change, the connections between COVID-19 and environmental justice, and the upcoming 2020 election.

Says junior Iliana G., who helped with planning the day’s events: “2020 has highlighted that many of our systems (speaking from a U.S. perspective) are inadequate and not constructed around quality of life. It is a topic that has repeatedly come up in the past months and it is important that we come together as a community and do our part to create change where we can.”

Throughout the day, students convened in their advisories and engaged in a multitude of activities that had them observing their surroundings outside or researching such topics as access to freshwater, citizen science, and plant anatomy. Students posted their findings, thoughts, and artistic interpretations of the day’s prompts on Padlet, a digital bulletin board. One school-wide activity involved creating a drawing with a dominant color scheme, which will later be stitched together to make a collage.