By Pras Gustanto, Staff Writer

Earth Day this year will mark a special occasion for both the world and for George Mason University.

It will mark the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day, a day that is designed to inspire knowledge and recognition about the Earth’s environment.

Sunday, April 25 will also be Mason’s first official Earth Day trip to the National Mall. This will be the climax of a series of Earth Week events at Mason that started on April 6 and will end on May 1.

As it says on Mason’s Office of Sustainability (OS) website, “Earth Week in 2010 features many opportunities to learn about environmental sustainability as well as Mason’s commitment to leadership in environmental research and action.”

This past week had several events covering a variety of environment-related topics. On April 17, for instance, there was Mason Beautification Day, when Mason students were invited to make Mason more beautiful. Among other things, the event involved planting and painting around campus.

Upcoming events will feature Earth Day celebrations for just about everyday of this week.

On Tuesday, April 20, Dr. Geoffrey Birchard of Mason’s Environmental Science and Policy Department, will speak on the subject of dinosaur reproduction.

Thursday, April 22 will feature several events taking place throughout the day. E-Waste Recycling Day, for example, is when broken and used electronic equipment will be recycled.

Colin Bennett, sustainability assistant at OS, emphasizes the importance of recycling electronics.

“Properly recycling electronic waste is extremely important as electronics often contain heavy metals and other toxic materials that can contaminate our environment when the electronics are not disposed of properly,” Bennett said.

The Earth Week Green Team will also be spending much of Thursday’s Mason Day promoting Earth Week. They will be distributing various promotional material for environmental awareness. The team consists of volunteers and exists to help with any sustainability-related events when they are called for.

On Friday, April 23, a Coke Recycling Trailer will be in front of Southside Plaza to collect disposable containers such as soda bottles and cans.

Bennett, however, emphasized how the act of recycling itself should be a low priority in day-to-day environmental awareness.

“We strongly encourage people not to purchase products in disposable containers . . . although recycling is obviously extremely important, it’s actually near the end on the list of R’s, which goes in this order: refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle,” Bennett said.

Sunday’s Earth Day will coincide with an Earth Day Network-sponsored national climate rally. According to the event’s Facebook page, the rally is going to be held to demand that Congress support and enact a climate and clean energy legislation bill.

The march will feature speeches from celebrities such as director James Cameron and will have performances from artists like Sting, John Legend and The Roots.

Over a thousand guests have signed up for the march’s Facebook page.

“With hope, this event, along with other events all over the country, will show our elected officials that addressing the climate crisis needs to be a priority and can’t wait until after the elections in November,” Bennett said.

Earth Week-related events will continue beyond this week. For more information, visit the Mason Sustainability calendar of events at