Did you know Earth Day is the largest secular holiday on, you guessed it, “earth,” celebrated by more than a billion people every year? Well the Marlboro microcosm is no exception, and our mighty population of 300 some-odd students, faculty and staff, some of them odder than others, have been out in droves for the last week to celebrate the ol’ earth in one way or another. I mean, it started with Work Day, when people got out and enjoyed what felt like the first warm, sunny day since last August. They were all building benches and making tile walkways and cleaning up and weeding gardens and doing trail work and splitting rails and doing all kinds of down and earthy things.
But that was just the beginning, the Big Bang, so to speak, of this particular Earth Day genesis. On Thursday there was a Sustainability Fair in the dining hall, and on Friday there was a mini-symposium on environmental initiatives called Expeditious Earthworks. Then on Sunday there were nature walks with the earthy folks from Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center, who led hapless hikers down the garden path and into the woods in search of porcupines and woodfrogs. Sunday night was the first half of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, six scintillating films about wildlife conservation. The second half continued on Monday, with seven films focused on environmental activism that got the audience totally up in arms and ready to storm the Bastille, or at least Monsanto.
Also, the Food Committee chose Earth Day to “release into the wild” a huge collection of colorful mugs that they have been ferreting away from tag sales, flea markets and consignment shops. Seriously, the hope was that this new population of mugs would interbreed with the struggling native population, leading to a heartier hybrid variety of mugs that would be easier to find when one wants want a cup of tea. But perhaps the one thing that got people most in touch with their inner earthiness was on Monday afternoon, when politics professor Meg Mott brought in a bevy of baby goats to snuggle with. Studies have shown that “therapy goats” can lower blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels, and reduce levels of aggression. Judging by the number of students peacefully crowding into the little pen with the goats, cooing and laughing, plotting peace on earth, I’d say it works.