By Monica Chapman
Run a Google image search for "environmentalist," and one of the first items to come up is a cartoon of a long-haired, barefoot hippie affectionately embracing an oak tree. Another depicts a raised, green fist under the words "Earth First!''
For those eager to expand the stereotype, Ohio University's Earth Month 2009 will offer a welcome opportunity.
Organized by the Office of Sustainability, Earth Month 2009 will offer more than 30 conservation-themed venues throughout April. The series seeks to broaden the definition of "environmentalist" through a lineup of unconventional Earth activists, ranging from evangelicals to employees of American Electric Power. The nontraditional approach pays homage to the event theme: "Bold & Uncensored: Not Your Mama's Environmental Movement."
"We want to expose people to the diversity of voices, opinions and projects that constitute the contemporary environmental movement," said Sustainability Coordinator Sonia Marcus. "Traditionally, we didn't think of the environmental movement as including minority, inner-city communities. We didn't think of the environmental movement as including evangelists. We didn't think of the environmental movement as including concepts like carbon capture and storage. But here we are."
Highlights of Earth Week 2009 include speaking engagements by climatologist Jason Box, South Bronx advocate Majora Carter, New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin, and evangelical leaders Matthew and Nancy Sleeth. Event offerings are punctuated by a local foods cooking class, the "World of Waste" tour, clothing swaps and a green market.
All events are free and open to the public. For more information on Earth Month 2009, including a complete list of events, visit www.ohio.edu/sustainability/earthmonth2009.htm.