Earth Day 50th

Panelists (above) for “Environmental Action for Survival: The History and Legacies of U-M’s 1970 Teach-In on the Environment”: George Coling, Elizabeth Grant Kingwill, Doug Scott, David Allan, Arthur Hanson, and Barbara Reid Alexander. Watch the full “Environmental Action for Survival” event here:

On March 11, 2020, the Environmental Justice HistoryLab partnered with the Ecology Center and the School for Environment and Sustainability to bring back six U-M alumni–five former student leaders of Environmental Action for Survival (ENACT) and Barbara Reid Alexander, the Midwest coordinator for Earth Day 1970–for a panel commemorating the 50th anniversary of the four-day Teach-In on the Environment at the University of Michigan and the April 22 Earth Day movement that followed.  Professor Matt Lassiter, the director of the Environmental Justice HistoryLab, moderated the panel featuring these student activists from 1970 and also publicized their legacy in a Washington Post feature on the day of the event.  After the first Earth Day, all of the panelists continued to contribute in significant ways to environmental activism, policymaking, and/or research in their careers and lives (learn more in the second half of the video and at this link to the panelist bios).  The Environmental Action for Survival panel was part of a larger Earth Day 2020: Rise Up for the Environment commemoration, although many other events were unfortunately canceled by the looming public health emergency.

Youth Activism, Then and Now

The March 11 commemoration included a second panel, “Youth Activism, Then and Now: Student Activists from Several Generations on Youth Activism and Environmental Justice.”  Watch the full Youth Activism and Environmental Justice dialogue here:

Panelists (from left): Tracey Easthope (Ecology Center), Leelawadee Grimsby (Ann Arbor high school student active in Sunrise Movement), Dhruv Tatke (UM student and Climate Action Movement organizer), Dim Mang (UM student and Climate Action Movement organizer), George Coling (UM alum and a student leader of 1970 Teach-In on the Environment), Barbara Reid Alexander (UM alum and Midwest coordinator for Earth Day 1970).  Read the panelist bios here. Learn more about the Climate Action Movement at U-M here.  Panel sponsored by the Ecology Center, Environmental Justice HistoryLab, and School for Environment and Sustainability as part of Earth Day 2020: Rise Up for the Environment.

Photographs from the ENACT Commemoration

ENACT veterans join Ecology Center leaders and student researchers from the Environmental Justice HistoryLab for lunch on March 11 at the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor headquarters.

Five former Ecology Center History Fellows (from left: Basil Alsubee, Meghan Clark, Amanda Hampton, Naomi Fergusson, Hannah Thoms) at the ENACT lunch.

David Allan (right), ENACT co-chair and Professor Emeritus in the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, entertains ENACT co-chair Doug Scott (second from right).

ENACT co-chair Doug Scott (center) also served as a liaison to Environmental Action, the national steering committee for Earth Day 1970, and went on to work for the Wilderness Society and Sierra Club.

Elizabeth Grant Kingwill, one of only two women on the ENACT steering committee, played a leading role in founding the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor in spring 1970.

George Coling, the ENACT liaison to the School of Public Health, co-founded the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor and spent a long career working on environmental justice issues nationwide.

Arthur Hanson (second from right), ENACT’s treasurer, is a Canadian ecologist and former president of the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Read more about Hanson’s memories of ENACT here.

Barbara Alexander, the Midwest coordinator for Environmental Action, the steering committee for Earth Day 1970, has spent decades working on consumer protection and energy issues.

Doug Scott, Art Hanson, and David Allan with the original podium seal from the 1970 Teach-In on the Environment (seal courtesy of ENACT steering committee member and retired Ann Arbor schoolteacher John Russell)

ENACT panel photographs by Dave Brenner of SEAS and used with permission.