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USC kicks off Earth Week

The university announced new environmental protocols, highlighted by their elimination of single use plastic bottles

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Earth Week 2022 is here. USC kicked it off today by announcing sustainability goals under a new project called Assignment: Earth. President Folt announced new eco-friendly initiatives such as plans to install 200 clean-stream recycling stations. The next seven days around here will be filled with events to celebrate Earth Week.

Patrick Warren has more on the story.

The first major announcement of the week came from USC President Folt who said the University will be eliminating single use plastic beverage bottles in favor of more environmentally friendly packaging -- a step she says is long overdue.

‘USC hospitality purchases for example around 15,000 bottles weekly, no longer going into the environment. so this is a big step forward in realizing our zero waste goal.’

Along with this initiative, Folt pledged that USC will be carbon neutral by 2025. In a university-wide email, Chief Sustainability Officer Mick Dalrymple said that this lofty goal will be achieved through increased energy efficiency, solar power, electrified transportation, and absorbing carbon emissions. In a video attached to the email, Folt spoke on the university’s commitment to the environment.

‘It’s a big assignment -- but we’re all in.’

USC will host over 30 events during Earth Week, from solar yoga to sustainability workshops. A schedule of the events can be found on

Former solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior John Leshy was on campus to launch Earth Week as the keynote speaker. Leshy spoke about his book “Our Common Ground: A history of America’s public lands.”

‘The book is a straightforward political history, starting in 1776 of how the United States over that long period of time came to end up. Right now, with more than 600 million acres in national ownership managed largely for conservation.’

Leshy talked about the threat that climate change imposes on national parks.

‘The New York Times headline not long ago said your children’s Yellowstone will be radically different . Public lands contain important reservoirs of biodiversity, much of it threatened by what we’re calling the sixth great extinction in the planet’s history.’

The event was hosted by the Gould Energy and Environmental Law Society. Member Chan Than and second year law student at USC Gould School of Law spoke on the goals of both the club and Earth Week.

‘There’s not a huge curriculum offered here at gold for that subject matter. So we’re basically trying to expose as much as possible to the school actual practitioners or in this case, just an expert from another school and just give them that exposure, let them know what the field is like and what the issues are’

USC environmental policy changes are critical and couldn’t have come at a better time. scientists continuously warn of the current and upcoming dangers of climate change. For Annenberg Media, I’m Patrick Warren.