In 1969, a blowout on an oil platform off the coast of Santa Barbara sent 3 million gallons of crude oil into coastal waters, catalyzing an environmental movement and Earth Day. This Monday, April 20, hundreds throughout the Stanford community and beyond will join a virtual discussion celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, kicking off Earth Week at Stanford.
First organized in 1970 by a young Stanford graduate named Denis Hayes, ’69, JD ’85, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22. It marks major environmental milestones, such as the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, and draws millions to speak, teach, advocate and raise awareness of critical environmental challenges.
Earth Day Future 50, hosted by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will include remarks from Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne on the university’s commitment to sustainability, and feature a conversation with Hayes, who serves as president and chief executive officer of the Bullitt Foundation, a Seattle-based environmental advocacy foundation. A panel focusing on what the next 50 years hold for action on environmental challenges will feature Stanford alumni Ken Alston, Director of Mobility and Energy Storage at New Energy Nexus; Molly Morse, CEO of Mango Materials; and Terra Weeks, a senior advisor at the California Energy Commission. Chris Field, Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will moderate.
The event will also include a discussion between Perry McCarty, professor emeritus of civil engineering and pioneering researcher of water treatment and environmental contaminants, and Stanford political science undergraduate student and sustainability advocate Olivia Ames. The two will reflect on the first Earth Day at Stanford in 1970, and the hopes their generations have for the future.
Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and offer their own reflections on Earth Day and what it means to them, some of which will be shared during the event. This event will kickstart Stanford’s Earth Week activities, which include a virtual learning summit, film screening, lab tour and more.