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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

We're cultural
July 11, 2012 - 3:38pm

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.

Our situation -- or at least that nutshell description of it -- is shared by a whole lot of other colleges and universities.  An institution with (largely) a cultural focus resists engaging a problem framed (largely) in terms which are presumed to be universal across cultures.  (And no, that's not a presumption I share, but still . . .).

So what if local framing of the sustainability issue were better to correspond to the technological/cultural academic mix at each institution?  What if folks who focused on social sciences were able to engage sustainability as a social problem while engineering students still focused on the technology side?  At most polytechnics, it wouldn't make much difference at all.  But for the rest of us, it just might.


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