March 17, 1997

Earthstock '97

Student activists from throughout the east coast have organized a major environmental conference, "Earthstock '97," that will be held in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on April 4-6. An impressive roster of speakers and bands are expected, including Sierra Club President Adam Werbach and Physicians For Social Responsibility founder Helen Caldicott. The voice of the "Wonder Years" television series, Daniel Stearn, will also speak about the media and corporate responsibility.

"I am so glad to see the major student environmental groups working together on an issue," said Rick Taketa, who is director of Free The Planet!, the organization behind the conference. "Participants should get a lot out of the workshops and networking sessions that we have planned."

Over the last several months, the leaders of the student chapter of New Jersey Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG), the directors of Free The Planet!, and Sierra Student Coalition, have dedicated hours and dollars to making this event happen. Proceeds from the conference will benefit Free The Planet!, whose goal is to link student activists around the United States in a functional network.

"This could be the most important gathering of our generation," said Alexander Lee '97, the Middlebury College student who developed the concept for Earthstock. "It could be the Woodstock of the 1990s. The main goal is for everybody to help build unity among high school and college students who are interested in preserving the creation, and have fun at the same time."

Adam Werbach, the 24 year old president of the Sierra Club, will greet the crowd and Rick Taketa will also deliver a short speech.

The other speakers will focus on Free The Planet!'s five central campaigns. Dr. Helen Caldicott, the 1996 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, will speak on the failures of nuclear power and the importance of using and developing renewable sources of energy. Ed Rush, of the Citizens' Coalition Against Hazardous Waste, will speak about dioxins and the other dangerous chemicals penetrating our communities. Roger Featherstone, from Defenders of Wildlife, will speak about the Endangered Species Act. Bill McKibben, author of the best-selling The End of Nature, will speak about saving public lands, global warming, and his more recent book, Hope, Human and Wild. Daniel Stearn will lecture on "Corporate Welfare."

Music will include a set by Cosy Sheridan, winner of the 1992 Telluride Folk Festival and a popular Vermont student band called One Fell Swoop. There will be a multi-media presentation by Lou Gold.

For more information about how to register, please call Sage Rockermann or Kim Mowery at 401-861-6012 or send an e-mail to