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SMC student thanks celebs, organizations for going green

Jenn Metz | Thursday, April 19, 2007

On the heels of Earth Day, Saint Mary’s freshman Jen Fetchko is launching a project that will help raise awareness about the environmental realities of today’s society. She is starting a letter-writing campaign to thank the organizations and celebrities that have helped bring the problems of global warming into the public spotlight.

Fetchko, originally from Pennsylvania, said her letters are “universal thank-you’s,” meant to tell agencies, companies and activists like Whole Foods, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio and the Environmental Defense Fund that someone at Saint Mary’s appreciates their work.

Fetchko said she hopes their example leads “other people [to] hopefully see the importance of living in an environmentally conscious way.”

“These people are working to establish the foundations for future generations,” Fetchko said. “I don’t expect anything back from them. … I’m just thanking them for what they’ve done. Young people are especially thankful for what they’ve started.”

Fetchko said she wanted to protect the environment and work to make her impact on the planet green, choosing a major or a career involving energy consumption.

“I want to make sure it will be a safe place to live … this is just a start,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what political view you have, it’s about just doing things, small things even in your home, to make a difference.”

The first Earth Day, in 1970, began an annual campaign to combat environmental abuse, according to the Earth Day Web site. The main focus of this year’s Earth Day is to start a revolution that will find a solution for global warming, the Web site said.

Fetchko said most people associate Earth Day with planting trees and buying organic food, but the day is also about “getting the message out and being informed and aware.”

“It can make people think,” she said. “People need to keep in mind this message is about the earth and the future. You don’t have to actively plant trees.”

She said she hopes people will think about ways in which they can do small things to benefit future generations, like recycling and conserving energy by turning off lights and water. Fetchko recycles, uses cold water to do laundry and has a garden, among other small things she said can make a big difference.

“People should [be conscious] for both their own benefit and the benefit of the people they love,” she said.

Fetchko advises students to see films like “An Inconvenient Truth” and DiCaprio’s new documentary, “The 11th Hour,” due out later this year.

“Try to gather information from all political parties to create your own view about the problem,” she said, citing Myron Ebeoo, a far-right politician who has published that global warming is a hoax, as a lesser-known point of view on the situation.

“I think there’s a direct connection between humanity and the environment, and it’s one of give and take. Maintaining that harmony is key,” she said. “What you take from the earth you must give back, either with new clean technology or something as simple as growing a garden.”