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IUPUI Professor Says Earth Month Events Brings Needed Focus to Environment


April 16, 2012

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For those who think designating April as Earth Month is a quaint tradition, Pamela Martin says think again.

The focus that Earth Month events bring to the environment is needed now more than ever, said Martin, associate professor in the Departments of Earth Sciences and Geography and the director of the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

IUPUI has a list of nearly 40 Earth Month events or its own or sponsored by others in the community, including an IUPUI ToxAway Day and a panel discussion of IUPUI experts on current and future sustainability initiatives at the university.

Many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement to have begun with Earth Day, first held in April 1970.

“We are faced with a growing population, limited resources and concerns about our climate,” Martin said. “All of these factors point to the necessity of taking action. We don’t have the room or resources to ignore sustainability.”

While terms like “trade off” and “balance” are often used to talk about sustainability, Martin said she views sustainability as “smart solutions that take us to a place where we can support a high quality of life with the limited resources that we have.”

Martin points to food as an example.

The food system in the U.S. relies on industrial agriculture, which is precarious in many ways, she said. An alternative food system characterized by low application of pesticides, more natural fertilizers and farming on a smaller scale can not only be more sustainable, but may produce healthier and tastier food, Martin said.

“It is beneficial across the board. It results in richer biodiversity, strengthened local economy, good food and a healthy environment, with birds chirping,” Martin said. “That is what we consider quality of life.”

Among Earth Month events scheduled at IUPUI are:

April 20

IUPUI ToxAway Day (on-campus)

Dispose of personal and household toxic waste safely and responsibly by bringing your unwanted electronics, paint, fire extinguishers, propane tanks and more to IUPUI’s ToxAway Day. We’ll be collecting items from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot at the corner of Indiana Avenue and Blackford Street. A list of acceptable items is available online.

Volunteer Event: Beautify IUPUI (On-campus)
Volunteer project with the IUPUI Grounds Department and the Office of Sustainability.
Volunteers will assist with mulching various plant beds on campus. Volunteers should wear old clothes and provide their own work gloves. No previous experience necessary. Volunteers meet at the main entrance of the University Library.

April 21

Volunteer Event: Garden Fun Days (On-campus)
Help plant IUPUI's new Urban Farm and learn how to start your own garden. 11:00 a.m.-1 p.m., Michael A. Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium, west of the softball fields, inside the fence where New York Street intersects with the White River Wapahani Trail.

April 24

Science on Tap: Farming and the City - Connecting Links between Urban Food System & Environmental Outcomes

Presented by Dr. Pamela Martin, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, and Director, the Center for Earth and Environmental Sciences at IUPUI

Local, sustainable food production is cited as one strategy for addressing urban health and environmental concerns. Local food has the potential to reduce the energy needed to grow and transport food – but does it actually do so? In this presentation Dr. Martin will share research exploring the environmental costs and benefits of local, urban agriculture, and share tips regarding how can we make urban gardens -- and our food choices -- more efficient in their environmental outcomes. The event, presented by the School of Science Alumni Association, will be held from  5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Tavern on South. 

For more information, a map and to register, visit:

April 26

Sustainability Panel Discussion (on-campus)

A panel of IUPUI experts will discuss current and future sustainability initiatives at IUPUI. from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at University Library’s Lilly Auditorium, Room 0130.

To see more of IUPUI's Earth Month events, see