Forum speaker provides sustainability solutions
September 29, 2011
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The 70th season of The Forum kicked off with a presentation by Debra Rowe, who focused on outlining the sustainability problems facing our world and the solutions we can use to fix these problems.
She led a presentation titled “Creating a Sustainable Future: Education, Actions and Resources for All” in the Council Fire Room of Davies Center.
Sustainability can be a difficult concept to define, but Rowe explained a definition that she prefers. She said that sustainable development can be defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Rowe criticized businesses that look at a bottom line that’s only concerned with money. A triple bottom line that’s concerned with “a flourishing environment, social well-being and a strong economy” is best for sustainability, Rowe said.
It’s not enough to be a good critical thinker who’s good at talking about what needs to be done.
“It’s about being an effective implementer,” Rowe said. “We have too many armchair pontificators.”
One of Rowe’s more hopeful points was that there are really only two things that need to change in order to have a more sustainable society.
People simply need to change “our habits and our out-of-date laws” in order to create more sustainable economies and communities.
Rowe made it a point to address the critics who say that climate change isn’t real. She said the effects of climate change are observable in that “rivers are becoming polluted and drying up. This can result in civilization disruption.”
Sustainable abundance was a concept introduced by Rowe that deals with sustainability creating an abundance of resources for people. We can accomplish this by being “conscious about the impacts of our decisions,” she said. We need to take future generations into account when it comes to making decisions.
Freshman James Eichmann-doud attended the Forum for a class, and came away with an important realization.
“It’s good to know that there’s a solution to our problems,” Eichmann-doud said.
Rowe mentioned using the website www.myfootprint.org to measure your carbon footprint. The site tells users how many Earths we would need if everyone consumed like the user did.
Rowe said we would need four to six earths if everyone consumed like the average American.
Sophomore Katie Gillman hadn’t had much experience with sustainability before the Forum.
“The part about myfootprint.org was a shocking statistic,” said Gillman.
The Forum series continues on October 19, where Jamie Tworkowski will speak. Tworkowski founded the nonprofit group To Write Love on Her Arms, which helps people suffering with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicidal by helping them find hope, support and love.