Cousteau lecture, rally highlight UM’s ‘Earth Day at 50’ celebration

ANN ARBOR—A free public lecture by environmentalist Philippe Cousteau Jr. and a “Rise Up for the Environment” rally featuring author Naomi Klein and other climate activists will highlight a weeklong series of events, March 9-14, to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the University of Michigan’s role in that seminal event, as well as the urgent need to address climate change.

In March 1970, University of Michigan student leaders convened the first “Teach-In on the Environment,” which formed a model for the first Earth Day five weeks later. UM is commemorating the 50th anniversary throughout the year, and that celebration will reach a crescendo starting March 9 with a series of teach-ins, seminars, online teach-outs, panel discussions, lectures and other activities across campus and at various Ann Arbor venues.

A highlight of the commemorative week will be a double event March 12. First, the annual Peter M. Wege Lecture will feature Cousteau, a multi-Emmy-nominated television host, author, social entrepreneur and grandson of French explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau.

The Wege Lecture will be followed by “Earth Day 2020: Rise Up for the Environment,” which will feature musical performances and speeches by leaders in sustainability, environmental justice and climate action. Participants include Klein, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Heather McTeer Toney, Mustafa Santiago Ali, Abdul El-Sayed, U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, Bryan Newland, Mari “Little Miss Flint” Copeny and composer Patrick Harlin.

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. There is a single ticket for the March 12 double event. Reserve free seats.

The Wege Lecture and the “Rise Up for the Environment” rally will be held at UM’s Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave. Public parking is available nearby at the Maynard Street parking structure, 324 Maynard St.

Co-sponsors of the week’s events include the University of Michigan, the Ecology Center, the National Wildlife Federation, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, the city of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Climate Action Network.

Read “U-M to celebrate role in first Earth Day, address ever-urgent crisis” in the Feb. 24 University Record. A complete list of the March 9-14 activities is available at




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