Earth Day activities to highlight sustainability, student projects, lecture by retired Joint Chiefs of Staff assistant

April 16, 2013  

retired U.S. Marines Col. Mark Mykleby

Retired U.S. Marines Col. Mark Mykleby 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's Earth Day 2013 activities will feature a carnival of exhibits, games and demonstrations as well as campus and community project presentations and a lecture by retired U.S. Marines Col. Mark Mykleby.

Mykleby, who served as special strategic assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from July 2009 to April 2011, will speak at 5:30 p.m. Monday (April 22) in Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering, Room G140. His talk, titled "Sustainability: Our National Strategic Initiative," is free and open to the public.

"This year's Earth Day activities on campus and in our community are designed to promote interactions between our leading research and learning efforts and the prominent role our undergraduate and graduate students play in building a stronger Purdue environmental research community across colleges and departments," said Jon Harbor, director of Purdue's Global Sustainability Institute.

"We're also excited about the opportunity to host the Discovery Lecture by Col. Mykleby, who has stressed that the United States apply a more ambitious and almost revolutionary approach to our foreign policy efforts and strategies with an emphasis on strategic sustainability."

Mykleby (pronounced Mike-el-bee) and fellow Navy Capt. Wayne Porter, writing under the shared pseudonym Mr. Y, co-wrote the 2011 paper "A National Strategic Narrative." Commissioned by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the report received international attention for suggesting that America's future rests not with its robust military force but with strategies for sustainable energy and agriculture, fair social policies, and a strong educational system.

Purdue also is partnering with Evonik Corp.'s Tippecanoe Laboratories to bring to campus Wind Explorer, a cutting-edge vehicle fueled by wind and solar power that traversed Australia on $15 worth of fuel. The vehicle incorporates many of Evonik's leading technology products - from tires and batteries to body components. Wind Explorer will be displayed during the carnival in Centennial Mall and near Armstrong Hall.

"Events are held worldwide each year on Earth Day to increase awareness and appreciation of Earth's natural environment, and Purdue once again this year is offering a series of activities, discussions and entertainment to mark its significance," said Michael Gulich, director of the Purdue Office of Sustainability. "We invite our Purdue family and members of our entire community to tap into the many events that celebrate this special day of learning."

Other Purdue Earth Day-related activities free and open to the public include:

* Earth Day Carnival, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday (April 22) on the Centennial Mall, will feature sustainability information, games, food, prizes, a Jeopardy-style trivia game, a recycled art activity and the Boilermaker Special. The Purdue Office of Sustainability is the primary sponsor.

* Sustainability + Security: A Symposium, sponsored by the Honors College, is from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Monday (April 22) in Stewart Center, Room 318.

* Earth Day Drama, featuring members of the Purdue Energy Forum acting out some of the defining moments and eras of energy production in the United States. The Monday (April 22) event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Centennial Mall.

* Global premier of "Thin Ice: The Inside Story of Climate Science," a documentary that follows 40 scientists at work in the Arctic, Antarctic, Southern Ocean, New Zealand, Europe and the United States. The film, which will be released on Monday (April 22), includes Purdue earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences professor Matthew Huber, who is director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center. To view the video, go to

* An Evening of Sustainability Chit-Chat. This features brief student presentations on design, engineering, agriculture, natural resources, culture, lifestyle and other areas. Using a PechaKuchu format, the presentations will include 20 images displayed for 20 seconds each (a total of 6 minutes, 40 seconds). The event is at 7 p.m. April 23 at the Clapping Circle in Academy Park. 

* Earth Day Hike, led by Purdue wildlife ecology professor John Dunning Jr., will begin at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday (April 24) at the Purdue Bell Tower.

* Student presentations on water projects for Cary Home, Oakland High School and Imagination Station, beginning at 5 p.m. April 24 in the Hicks Undergraduate Library, Room B853. With a $50,000 grant from the Ford Motor Co. College Community Challenge, students in classes EEE 495/FNR 498 used a transdisciplinary approach to complete the projects under the leadership of Ecological Sciences and Engineering doctoral candidate Lindsey Payne.

* Volunteer Tree Planting to mark Earth Day and Arbor Day from 9-11 a.m. and from noon to 2 p.m. April 25. A Tree Campus USA ceremony is at 11:30 a.m., with remarks by horticulture and landscape architecture professor Paul Siciliano and Bob McMains, Purdue vice president for physical facilities. For more information, go to

Evonik Wind Explorer

Evonik Wind Explorer 
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"We are proud to have the chance to host the Wind Explorer in conjunction with Purdue's Earth Day activities," said Clive Whiteside, vice president and site manager for Evonik's Tippecanoe Labs. "This innovative vehicle should be a big hit with the many students pursuing careers as engineers or scientists committed to the pursuit of alternative, sustainable and renewable energy sources to the traditional fossil fuels."

Known as "Puck," Mykleby currently is senior fellow of the Smart Strategy Initiative for the New America Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.

In their paper, Mykleby and Porter suggest that the United States should move from "containment" - the approach to foreign policy after World War II and during the Cold War - to what they call "sustainment" or sustainability. In May 2012 Mykleby and Porter received the Ellis Island Award for their efforts.

Mykleby was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps following his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987. During his career as a fighter pilot, he served in numerous operational and staff billets and participated in combat operations in support of operations Provide Promise, Deny Flight, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom.

From July 2007 to July 2009, Mykleby developed strategy for U.S. Special Operations Command, and from 2009-11, he served as a special strategic assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff developing grand strategy. He retired from the Marine Corps in July 2011.

Earth Day was first observed in San Francisco and other cities on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring. U.S Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin led a separate Earth Day effort as an environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970. While this Earth Day focused on the United States, Denis Hayes, the original national coordinator for the 1970 event, took Earth Day globally in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations.

Through a $1 million gift to Discovery Park from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, Purdue launched the Discovery Lecture Series in 2006 for bringing prominent speakers to campus.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources: Jon Harbor, 765-494-5146,

Michael Gulich, 765-494-2481,

Sarah Vaughn, 765 49-42481,

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