Greening Mesa hopes to ‘green’ Mesa College

Joe Vilayrath, News Editor

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The San Diego Mesa College Biology Department has organized Greening Mesa: Engaging students in the social, political, and economic dimensions of environmental sustainability, a film festival to enable students to make a positive environmental impact. This event started on Feb. 14 and will be held in G101 from 4-6:15 p.m. on selected dates throughout the semester until April 18.

Greening Mesa is a series of free presentations showcasing award-winning documentary films, speakers, and art events to raise awareness about the various dimensions of environmental sustainability, underlining the ability of the participants to make a positive impact.

Professors Leslie Sieger and Paul Detwiler of the Mesa College Biology Department, with sponsorship from the San Diego Mesa College Humanities Institute and help from the Environmental Stewardship Committee, organized Greening Mesa.

The festival is focused around the wasteful use and distribution of water, with the goal of inspiring students to be proactive in improving the environment, as well as preserving natural resources and understanding the severe damages of prodigal use.

“Professor Detwiler had heard about various campuses going bottle-free because of the enormous adverse environmental impact of single-use plastic water bottles. He thought it would be something Mesa students might be interested in if they knew more about it… Paul and I made a plan of how we might raise awareness through film and art…” Sieger said.

By emphasizing on water, the presentations will also be able to illustrate the consequences of the production, distribution, and corporate interests of the bottled water industry to enlightened students of the effects of consumer choices, according to the press release.

The event started on Feb. 14 with the showing of the film “Bag It,” which centers on the various environmental and health hazards caused by plastic, has already generated talk of environmental change among the Mesa students that attended.

“Last week we showed “Bag It” a very powerful film about plastics in our environment. People responded strongly to the film and we had some great discussion afterwards and lots of super ideas, mostly from Mesa students,” Sieger said.

Sieger hopes to inspire participants to think creatively and collaboratively to resolve the issues. Sieger also encourages students to take control of the situation and address the issues directly to better the environment.

“We hope to generate enough interest among students that a student group might develop to continue to help ‘green’ Mesa as well as to make changes in their personal lives and in society as a whole,” Sieger said.

Students will also be able to exhibit inventive resolutions to these issues through contests that will be held during the event, with a $50 gift certificate for the Mesa Bookstore as the grand prize. These contests are designed to help students be more positively active in environmental change. The contests are:
• 30-Second Film Contest: Create an online video with an environmental message
• Chandelier Challenge: Fabricate a functional chandelier made from plastic water bottles
• (Re)purpose Fashion Fair: Make a reusable shopping bag/accessory from recycled materials or fabrics for auction, with proceeds donated to environmental causes

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Greening Mesa hopes to ‘green’ Mesa College