Onondaga County, City of Syracuse declares Earth Day as SUNY ESF Day

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — No matter what your race, religion or wealth status is, the one thing that unites us all is that we live on planet earth. Wednesday, April 22, 2020, is the time we get to celebrate and appreciate our planet, with Earth Day.

“For us at ESF, pretty much every day is Earth Day,” David Amberg, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) President, said. “It’s sort of the perfect holiday for one of the premiere, entirely environmentally-focused, colleges in the country and the world.”

The team at SUNY ESF has led and contributed to numerous environmental projects across Central New York, and for their efforts, the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County declared, on Wednesday, that all Earth Days moving forward will also be known as SUNY ESF Day.

“It also, I think, recognizes the values behind creating Earth Day, and that they are at the very core of ESF’s mission,” Amberg said. “As our students like to say, they’re here and they’re getting trained at ESF to improve your world.”

For an Earth Day present, SUNY ESF received approval for their $5.75 million grant to take over New York State’s education recycling campaign called “Recycle Right.”

“ESF with a bunch of partners, including Syracuse University and a number of others are going to help the state with, ‘How do we reinvigorate the recycling industry?’ but it’s not just recycling,” Mark Lichtenstein, SUNY ESF’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said. 

Lichtenstein said it’s also about creating jobs.

“Recycling is a huge job creator,” Lichtenstein said. “Recycling creates ten times more jobs than landfilling and waste energy. So, we see it as a big economic boost, which is going to be critically important in this post-pandemic world.”

The chemical engineering department at ESF is also working on a project to break down different types of paper to their original chemicals in order to develop the next generation of biodegradable plastics.

While ESF is working to save the planet on a large-scale, there are many things you can do in your own home to make a difference.

“It’s easy to buy a reusable water bottle,” Amberg said. “We have some of the best water in the nation here in Syracuse and Central New York. It’s just crazy to buy bottled water, which is being shipped in from somewhere else. It has a huge carbon footprint not to mention the plastic.”

For more ways on how you can help the Earth, click here.

SUNY ESF typically celebrates the entire week of Earth Day with events on campus, but due to COVID-19, many of those events were moved online this year. SUNY ESF looks forward to Earth’s half-birthday when students and staff can celebrate on campus on October 22.

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