'Roadmap for Future'
is the topic at Elon


By R.J. Fenn

Elon University's academic halls, dining quarters and parking lots were transformed into a "Roadmap to the Future" Oct. 8, as environmental-friendly guests took place in a day dedicated to a cleaner and healthier future.

The day's activities revolved around the idea of sustainability, and the early morning panels from David Orr and Stuart L. Hart, both nationally known experts in environmental studies, included educated and bright plans toward a continued sustainable movement.

Hart, an award-winning writer who specializes in the sustainability of business and the environment, spoke about what he has come to learn about the current state of our environment, and how he thinks it can be improved.

"What we need is disruptive innovation at its best," Hart said. "We need our environment to create smaller, cheaper and understandable products that can contribute to capitalism."

Hart shared a list of all of dozens of environmental "buzzwords" he has come by during his research, and he mapped them by dividing them into four quadrants on a page, dividing them under the labels internal, external, present and future.

"It does not say anywhere that capitalism needs to be only for the wealthy," Hart said, "We need new forms of capitalism that help the poor. We are missing out on a huge potential opportunity here. The poor people are genuinely badly served in society."

Hart made sure to say that even though capitalism has failed to work toward a sustainable future in the past, "capitalism does have the capacity to reinvent itself, and that's one of the things that make it so great."

As he worked through explaining the work that can be done toward sustainability in business, he worked in the four main goals for a healthier tomorrow: pollution prevention, product stewardship, clean technology and sustainability vision.

All of his goals working towards sustainability follow the same plan. "Take the waste out, improve the product before it can be reused, clean the environment, and increase the value for shareholders," Hart said.

As the day progressed, the Mosley Center parking lot was transformed into a display for an alternative-fuel vehicle show. There were numerous cars, with experts on hand to explain how the modern vehicles were constructed and what ideals they stick to that will benefit the environment through cheaper and safer fuel usage.

Harden Dining Hall also was host to a culinary clash featuring food from local farmers prepared by Aramark chefs. Other environmental forum events included screening of films and a series of afternoon panels centered on discussions of ways to create a more sustainable environment.



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Last Modified:  10/08/04
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