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Cousteau to Begin Earth Month Events

Students, dressed in yellow vests, use brooms to clean up a path bordered with leafy green trees.

Students perform a routine cleanup in a neighborhood near campus. One Georgetown will continue that effort to keep neighborhoods clean by having another cleanup on April 10 in recognition of Earth Day.

April 4, 2011 – Georgetown will kick off its monthlong celebration honoring Earth Day with a lecture from environmentalist Alexandra Cousteau (C’98) on April 5.

Cousteau’s talk, sponsored by the Georgetown Lecture Fund and Science, Technology and International Affairs program, is the first of more than a dozen environmentally themed educational and service events that are taking place this month.

The granddaughter of famous explorer Jacques Cousteau, the Georgetown graduate is an advocate for the management of water resources and sustainably through Blue Legacy, her nonprofit organization.

Water Issues

“My work as a filmmaker and advocate for water issues is focused on helping people understand, value and talk about their everyday relationship with water,” said Cousteau, who will speak at 8:15 p.m. in the Bunn ICC Auditorium. “We spotlight the global interconnectivity of water issues along with innovations and people who are changing our water future one community at a time."

The Georgetown alumna has been honored as a 2008 National Geographic Emerging Explorer and as a 2007 United Nations Earth Trustee.

Getting Green

A closeup of Alexandra Cousteau.

Environmentalist Alexandra Cousteau (C'98) kicks off the university's monthlong celebration of events surrounding Earth Day, April 22, with an April 5 lecture on global water issues.

The month’s other events include an April 10 neighborhood cleanup by the student group One Georgetown.  An April 21 panel discussion, sponsored by the McDonough School of Business and the Cleantech Club, will focus on how to achieve 85 percent clean energy in the United States by 2035.

Another student group – EcoAction – will sponsor a Light Bulb Swap on April 26 and 28 for the university community to turn in old incandescent bulbs in exchange for more energy-efficient fluorescents.

“On Earth Day and the entire month of April we are trying to engage the Georgetown community in a dialogue concerning the issues that currently define our environment,” said Caitlin Karniski (C'11), head intern for the Georgetown Center for the Environment. “ Alexandra Cousteau will bring water issues to the forefront on April 5th, and as a Georgetown alumna, will provide a great global perspective on water when she returns to campus.”

Human-Challenged Planet

“We should all know as much about our environment and Earth as we can and be excellent Earth stewards – which includes green living and voting wisely,” said Edward Barrows, a professor of biology whose Georgetown Ecology class will present research during a symposium April 26.  “With a population of more than 7 billion, we live on a small, fragile, highly human-challenged planet – our only home.”

Barrows’ G-Ecology course requires students to devise a solution to help reduce an aspect of Georgetown’s carbon footprint by conserving energy, paper and water.

“I think all GU students should have a course on human ecology to help prepare them better for the alarming global change that is currently happening and evidently will get worse in the near future,” he said.

Into the Fold

Timothy Beach, the Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environment and International Affairs and a professor of geography and geoscience at the School of Foreign Service, was pleased about Cousteau kicking off the Earth Day events at Georgetown.

“I think focusing on water problems in rural and urban areas is something that she does well,” he said. “Through filmmaking, she's able to bring together her own interests and bring scientists into the fold."

To view a calendar of events, visit the Sustainability at Georgetown home page.