<p>A giant balloon to help visualize a ton of CO<sub>2</sub>, energy-saving acoustical music-making, smoothies prepared with pedal power: It must be the start of Earth Week.</p>

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University students celebrated Earth Day today (Monday, April 22) with some carbon-free fun on the College Green.

Students played acoustic instruments (no electricity required), drank smoothies from a bike-powered blender, and got information about how they can reduce their personal carbon footprints. Today’s event kicks off a weeklong celebration of Earth Week at Brown.

“It’s really an initiation to the entire week,” said Maria Bustos, a freshman at Brown. Bustos is a member of emPower, a student environmental umbrella organization that helped sponsor the event. “We’re trying to promote the idea that we can have fun in a carbon-free way and send a message of sustainability.”

Looming over the event was 32-foot-tall black balloon, a visualization of what one ton of CO2 looks like. According to a sustainability report released by Brown last fall, the University has reduced its energy-related emissions by the equivalent of over 20,000 big black balloons (20,811 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent).

Other Earth Week events happening at Brown this week include:

  • Tuesday, April 23: EmPower will screen the film The Garden at the Urban Environmental Laboratory room 105. The screening will start at 6:30 p.m. with dinner and discussion to follow.
  • Wednesday, April 24: Yup’ik Eskimo: Biologist and community organizer Carl Wassilie will discuss efforts to address "climigration" in Alaska, which threatens the cultural survival and bioproductivity of indigenous communities and whole global ecosystems. The talk will be in Barus and Holley Room 168 from 7 to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 24: Green your office: Empower members will be on the Main Green giving out free potted plants, energy-efficient lightbulbs, and tips on how to reduce energy use and emissions in an office setting. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 27: EmPower and Bikes@Brown will lead a scenic bike ride (about an hour) to Rosaharn Farm in Rehoboth, Mass. Riders will gather at Faunce Arch at 10 a.m.