'Sustainable Value'
discussed at conference


By Rasmi Gamble

The fourth annual Environmental Forum was held Oct. 8 at Elon University. The forum, titled "Roadmap to the Future: Tomorrow by Design," covered issues essential to the environment. Speakers included David Orr; professor and chair of the environmental studies program at Oberlin College, and Stuart Hart, the Samuel C. Johnson Professor of Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University.

Hart addressed students, faculty and people from around the region in his talk in McKinnon Hall. His seminar, titled "Creating Sustainable Value," focused on the topic of sustainability in the environment and how businesses can build it into their planning.

"Sustainability is one of those terms that means so much, but we don't know how to describe it," Hart said. Hart also highlighted other issues such as eco-inefficiency, clean technology and capitalism. Hart spoke passionately about all of these subjects, especially capitalism, which he said could benefit everyone in this country and the world.

"There is nothing written saying capitalism only works for rich people," Hart said. "Capitalism can work for anyone, rich or poor."

He touched on renewable technologies such as LEDs (light-emitting diodes, used for inexpensive, energy-efficient lighting ). Hart also presented diagrams explaining the "Dimensions of Shareholders Value" and "The Sustainability Portfolio."

Alternative-fuel vehicles on display

Another attractive event at the workshop was the "Alternative Fuel Vehicle Automotive Show" held in the Moseley parking lot at Elon University. This car show featured vehicles that used alternative fuels, including gas/electric hybrids and a vehicle powered with biodiesel fuel.

The public was given the opportunity to view inside these vehicles and test drive them. Biodiesel is a type of fuel used from renewable sources. Many types of fuels and oils can be used for biodiesel, including soybean, 100 percent biodiesel, used vegetable oil and glycerin.

Biodiesel may be new to the United States, but other countries have used this fuel for some time; Europe has used the alternative fuel for more than five years.

Jack Martin, an advocate for alternative-fuel vehicles explained the benefits of biodiesel fuel. "High-compression engines, automatically fire up. Biodiesel turns into beautiful fuel," said Martin. "We can just use used vegetable oil for diesel tanks."

The Toyota Prius is a hybrid that costs around $20,000, with an average annual fuel cost of around $400. Carlos Nieto, an employee from Cox Toyota in Burlington, explained how solar-powered cars will have a bigger impact on Toyota cars in the near future.

"By the year 2010, all Toyota cars will have the option of being equipped with an electronic battery," Nieto said.

Other events at the seminar included an organic"Battle of the Chefs" held in Harden Cafeteria, and breakout sessions consisting of three segments: Food by Design, Academia by Design and Communities and Business by Design.

The conference was hosted by Elon's Center for Environmental Studies.



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Last Modified:  10/08/04
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