Do we want to be Neon? LikePomona, Oberlin, Middlebury….. Do we just want to blend in? I’M NOT SURE IT MATTERS UNLESS WE RETHINK SUSTAINABILITY
What is Sustainability The capacity to endure and/or remain in balanceSustainable development is a pattern of resource usethat aims to meet human needs while preserving theenvironment so that these needs can be met not onlyin the present, but also for future generations. -Brudntland Commission 1987
In order to build a sustainable society, diverse groups will need tobe able to come together and work collaboratively to addresssustainability challenges. People of color and low-incomecommunities tend to suffer disproportionate exposure toenvironmental problems. This environmental injustice happens as aresult of unequal and segregated communities. To achieveenvironmental and social justice, society must work to addressdiscrimination and promote equality. The historical legacy andpersistence of discrimination based on racial, gender, religious, andother differences makes a proactive approach to promoting aculture of inclusiveness an important component of creating anequitable society. Higher education opens doors to opportunitiesthat can help create a more equitable world.Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education - AASHE
Sustainability is NOT a normal problem, it is a game changerNormal Problem: can be addressed with familiar toolsand strategies because it does not call into questionfundamental assumptions (e.g. DDT)Game Changer: questions fundamentalassumptions, institutions, and cultural values(worldview), and so requires very different tools andstrategies
A Hard Truth“Almost everything being done in thename of sustainable developmentaddresses and attempts to reduceunsustainability. But reducingunsustainability, although critical, doesnot and will not create sustainability” --John R. Ehrenfeld, Sustainability by Design
Green Roof atSomeFord Plant in Michigan a Problems Deliberate worldview change is 1) Unprecedented 2) Not widely desired 3) Fraught with paradoxesLess Unsustainable
Our students and our society as a whole recognize these curves
Keeling CurveLess than 5% of our students recognize this curve
CIRP DATAEducational Research Institute Cooperative Institutional Research Program – HigherAnecdotal Evidence: Students in the FYS Class Energy and the Environmentadmitted that they didn’t know what petroleum was used for
How in Tune are Your Students?Do your students connect with your sustainability efforts?What projects and activities resonate well with them?Do they relate well with outdoor sustainability themes?What are some of those outdoor initiatives?
Where to?Because sustainability is a fundamentally different kindof challenge, it requires a very different strategy with a different objective. Our aim is not to win the old game, but rather, to help catalyze a new game and culture. To get off track! While progress in institutionalizing sustainability is satisfying, these “little successes” risk distracting attentionfrom the primary conundrum: Reducing unsustainability will never create sustainability. - Dr. Paul Morgan – West Chester University
What better place to begin to address thecomplex issues surrounding sustainability thanon college campuses?
NEON or Camo ?At Denison we are trying to find a different path
Shifting the FocusTree Campus USANative PlantsBuilding partnerships with the localcommunity to promote and protect treesCampus ArboretumLocal CO2 Offset Program goes directly to our treesCampus Community GardenThe Denison Homestead – Alternative living communityDeveloping Sustainable Agriculture programs and experiences
Campus Arboretum http://www.denison.edu/sustainability/denison_university_arboretum.htmlStrategic Native PlantingsMemorial TreesEducational ResourceEnvironmental AttributesCO2 OffsetsComprehensive Inventory to track our trees The Arboretum is creating a buzz both on and off campus
How to Move Sustainability Outside –Reconnecting with the Natural World• Sustainable Sites Initiative• Finding friends in unfamiliar places• Connect with teaching faculty• Alumni love preserving the college “look”• Strategic planning that allows for multipurpose use of spaces and places