‘We’ve got your back, Earth’ — PSU

We like to say that at Portland State, Earth Day is every day. 

PSU was a pioneer of sustainability and it is a key part of our identity and culture. Centering the needs of the earth and its inhabitants, thinking about the needs of future generations and being smart with the resources we have access to — this is just the way we do things here.

And there’s no one department that’s in charge of our Earth-centered work, it’s spread across the entire university: from research labs working to improve access to water to the Office of Sustainability overseeing efficient campus operations and many places in between. 

And PSU is still looking for new ways to make every day Earth Day. Coming up May 12, faculty, students and staff will gather in the Smith Ballroom with community partners and policy makers to talk about ways we can — together — make progress on climate justice. 

Here are a few more ways we’re celebrating ACTUAL Earth Day.

The Learning Gardens Laboratory celebrated Earth Day with the Earth People’s Fair

Earth People’s Fair

PSU’s Learning Gardens Laboratory, a garden-education site embedded in Southeast Portland, rekindled their Earth Day celebration last weekend with the Earth People’s Fair, a community gathering with activities, food and fun. The weather was wild; the mood was festive; and participants closed the day with a feeling of warmth and connection.

The Learning Gardens Laboratory (LGL) was established in 2005 as a partnership between Portland State University (PSU), Portland Public Schools (PPS), the City of Portland’s Parks and Recreation, and Oregon State University Extension Service. The LGL works with the community in regenerative agriculture, science, and research; leadership development; nutritional education; and asset-based community development. 

For more than 15 years, members of the Learning Gardens Laboratory have been strong advocates and dedicated allies to our BIPOC community partners, and continually examine our biases and work to dismantle systems of racial injustice. Their ongoing community-engaged work in the Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood has contributed to community revitalization, and has been especially significant these past two years as the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted food systems and community wellness. 

Climate action efforts around PSU

The spring issue of the Portland State Magazine showcases many efforts around PSU focused on climate change.

From raging wildfires to record heat, “climate change has gone from something in the future to something that’s happening right now,” says Jennifer Allen, environmental and natural resource policy faculty. “This is a focusing moment.” As students and campus leaders grapple with how to translate urgency into action, a theme is emerging: The need for new, transformative connections — between PSU and communities outside of campus, especially those that have been harmed and shut out of decisions for generations; among researchers across PSU’s many schools and colleges; and between students and the knowledge they need to live in and sustain a warming world. Read the cover story.

The 2nd Annual Portland Youth Climate Summit will be held at OMSI on April 23 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The youth-led summit will present on issues such as Environmental Justice, Food Justice and Urban Development. INFORMATION & REGISTER

Sustainability at PSU centers around three anchor organizations. Their work is highly collaborative, with each department playing a unique role in Sustainability at PSU. Sign up for the sustainability Newsletter to learn more and to find events and opportunities centered around Sustainability.





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