Following on from yesterday's post, and reflecting on posts dating from February, it strikes me that Greenback U's overriding concept of sustainability frames it as a technological problem. But, while we have a number of very-good technologically-oriented academic programs, we have far more departments, faculty and students who focus on the arts, the humanities and the social sciences. Maybe that's part of the reason that the sustainability issue has such a hard time getting traction around here.
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July 11, 2012
July 10, 2012
Subscribers to the Green Schools Listserv recently got invited to participate in a sustainability survey. And while the opportunity to fill out yet another fool survey is not generally attractive, this one was from a grad student at Erasmus U in Rotterdam. I have a soft spot for Rotterday (Frau R says I have a lot of soft spots, mostly north of my neck), so I decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did.
July 9, 2012
Recently, I was talking to a friend of the family. A middle-aged woman with a PhD, she's fluent in three languages and has spent a reasonable portion of her life in Europe. One question that came up was why, in certain countries, people might be disallowed from spending their own money to buy health care that the relevant national health care system might deem to be unnecessary or of low priority.
July 5, 2012
When I first got professionally involved with campus sustainability, there was really only one first principle: greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming, and the higher education sector needed to show America how to correct that. Call it First Principles v1.0.
June 20, 2012
Right now, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development's Rio+20 meeting is in full swing, with the concentration of its collective mind that typically comes from knowing you're to be hanged in the morning. Meanwhile, the ACUPCC is celebrating it's fifth anniversary with pretty much the opposite set of emotions (at least in public).
June 6, 2012
I happened to be listening to the second hour of the Dianne Rehm show on NPR this morning. Dianne's guest was Callum Roberts, a marine conservation biologist, oceanographer, author and research scholar at the University of York, England. Roberts was on to promote his book "The Ocean of Life", a discussion of how important oceans are to human survival and what sorts of major stresses oceans are currently undergoing.
June 3, 2012
As the unrest in nearby Quebec continues, I continue to be amazed, although not surprised. The initial proximate cause of what are now nightly public demonstrations (albeit, greatly amplified by the provincial government's passage of a law severely curtailing civil liberties) was a decision to virtually double university tuitions over a ten-year period.
May 17, 2012
As noted by The Atlantic, the group behind the TED conferences -- of which I'm generally a big fan -- has decided not to post video of a recent invited talk by Nick Hanauer. Hanauer is a businessman -- a multi-millionaire, courtesy of a long entrepreneurial career and an early investment in Amazon. He's also a realist and one of those Warren Buffett-like folks who think the middle class is getting a raw deal.
May 16, 2012
One of the difficulties of promoting economic sustainability at Greenback (or, I suspect, on most US university campuses) is describing what it might look like without seeming to be some sort of pie-eyed socialist. Given the overwhelmingly prevalent civil religion of consumer capitalism and the de facto dominance of Chicago School neoliberalism, it's challenging to try to explain to that our economic system is nothing Adam Smith would recognize nor particularly approve, and that during the most recent generation when the USA was really on the economic upswing (think 1945 - 1975) the rules were entirely different than what we now take for granted.
May 15, 2012
A friend of mine has pointed out repeatedly that, while Environmental Studies graduates can talk about the environment, Environmental Science graduates can actually do something. (Of course, the guy's an Environmental Science professor. No surprise, there.)