The American University in Cairo (AUC) celebrated Earth Week, marking the University’s annual participation in international Earth Day on April 22. This year’s festivities focused on cleaner and greener ways to live on a day-to-day basis, while simultaneously celebrating the Earth’s natural beauty. The theme for the week was inspired by the three main pillars of sustainability at AUC: operations, research and academia. Combined, these pillars encapsulate an appreciative attitude toward the environment, and Earth Week’s activities aim to demonstrate this appreciation and awareness.“Earth Week provides the AUC community the opportunity to better inform themselves and participate in activities that increase sustainability awareness,” said Yasmin Mansour, AUC’s sustainability officer. “Every little effort we make contributes greatly toward our sustainability progress. Earth Week gives us the chance to be more conscious of our impact on the beautiful world around us.”
“Egypt is facing an inevitable water, energy and food crisis,” added Peter Nasr, adjunct faculty at the Center for Sustainable Development. “Approaching each problem individually will not provide a sustainable solution given their interconnectedness. The Center for Sustainable Development’s activities and research aims to provide sustainable solutions contributing to solving present and future challenges of water, energy and food.” In addition to research, the Center for Sustainable Development’s strategy has two other main dimensions: education and community service.
This year, for the first time ever, AUC’s Earth week is a collaboration between the Office of Sustainability, Center for Sustainable Development and the Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment (RISE).
This year’s Earth Week kicked off with an urban agriculture demonstration in New Cairo campus to encourage people to green their homes.
Last Wednesday, AUC hosted a session titled “It’s Not About Infrastructure; It's About You! How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, Save the Earth and Save Money.” The session featured a presentation by RISE researchers about research on sustainable cities in Egypt and in Dubai, in addition to a game to estimate our carbon footprints.
A panel titled “Addressing the Water-Energy-Food Nexus,” was held last Thursday. The panel was followed by a tour of the Center for Sustainable Development Water-Energy-Food Nexus lab. Peter Nasr also moderated a panel with three sustainable development graduate students presenting their research work related to water, energy and food.
Throughout the day today, members of the AUC community took a short survey for the Go Green Go Bus initiative. The AUC community also had a chance to learn more about the University’s carbon footprint at “Tracking AUC’s Climate Impact: Five Years of Data.” Khaled Tarabieh, assistant professor of sustainable design in the Department of Architecture and co-author of the report, moderated a panel on climate change in Egypt and AUC’s role. Panelists included Hassan El-Fawal, dean of the School of Sciences and Engineering; Salah El-Haggar, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and associate professor in the Social Research Center; and Hania Sholkamy, associate professor in the Social Research Center.
Concluding this year’s Earth Week will be a sunset safari today with Richard Hoath, senior instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition and supervisor of the Core Curriculum, through AUC’s gardens, stopping along the way to tell the story of the local plant and animal life on campus.