for Environmental Studies at Elon University presented a sustainability
forum titled "Roadmap to the Future: Tomorrow by Design"
Oct. 8 in McKinnon Hall. The forum featured keynote speakers David
Orr, a professor and chair of the environmental studies program
at Oberlin College, and Stuart L. Hart, Samuel C. Johnson professor
of sustainable global enterprise and a professor of management at
kicked off the morning with a speech that focused on global warming
and the importance of sustainability in creating a safe world for
the children of tomorrow. He also emphasized the importance of students'
knowledge of the environment in the fight to maintain our dwindling
to get younger people in their 20's into leadership positions,"
Orr said. "You need to learn as students to role up your sleeves
and get to work becoming a presence on this planet."
what beginning step students should take in order to become more
aware of their environment Orr responded: "You have to begin
to relate your field of study to the environment. We need to be
students of how this world works."
can work toward sustainability
was titled "Creating Sustainable Value: Fusing the Business
and Sustainability Agendas," and it focused on balancing environmentalism
with the corporate world. "The
world of commerce is the single most important vehicle to becoming
a sustainable community," he said.
explained that the reason sustainability is so difficult for many
businesses to understand is because there are many meanings to the
his points in a way the audience could better understand, Hart drew
a matrix that split a company into four parts: today, tomorrow,
internal and external. In the four quadrants created by the matrix,
Hart separated a plethora of environmental buzzwords. Using this
matrix, Hart explained the processes and ideas a business must consider
to reach the goal of sustainability.
is no best way or one-size-fits-all solution. We hope the methods
that work will out-compete the ones that fail," he said, adding
that the best ways a business can do this are to stop being wasteful
in use of resources, to concentrate on recycling, to have discussions
about the situation of a product after its useful life, to be willing
to embrace disruptive innovations and to consider the welfare of
families "at the bottom of the pyramid" that have been
ignored by global conglomerates.
that businesses need to consider adopting disruptive innovations
that are more effective in maintaining the environment, and while
doing this companies need to consider more than just the upper classes
of the world. He cited as an example LED, or light-emitting diode,
technology; it is cheaper and more energy-efficient than today's
standard lightbulbs, but the companies that could be producing LEDs
are making a lot of money selling the old technology.
the new innovations will take hold, but unfortunately I'm afraid
we will be the last ones to change," he said.
Sen. Hugh Webster
(R-N.C. Dist. 24) spoke briefly at the conference, and compared
the actions and repercussions of being unfair to a minority group
to how we are dealing with our environment. "I don't know how
to get security, but I do know how to get insecurity," he said.
"Don't forget: if you mistreat and abuse a minority group enough
you will get your payday and you will see insecurity."
organic foods and more at forum
of the forum included a "Wall for the Future" and a fuel-efficient
automobile show in the Moseley Center parking lot.
for the Future" featured slips of paper, each with the profile
of a child's face printed on it. Event participants wrote the names
of children on the pages, which were then placed on a wall to represent
the children for whom we are working to preserve our resources in
order to sustain a beautiful world for them. Participants and visitors
to the forum had the opportunity to record the name of a child they
knew to place onto the wall in tribute to the children of our future.
car show was sponsored by the Elon Safety and Police, and featured
biodiesel and hybrid cars from Volkswagon and Toyota.
an Elon biology professor, said he attended the forum and car show
because he is looking into putting solar accessories on his home,
and wanted to check out the technology. He had enjoyed another conference
event at Harden Dining Hall earlier in the day.
"I went to the Battle of the Chefs Goes Organic and I found
it enjoyable," he said. "The food was all locally grown
which was cool, but the real highlight of my day has been checking
out the alternative fuel vehicles."
proved to be an audience pleaser, which is no surprise, due to the
impressive technology incorporated into them. Jack Martin, a representative
of TS Designs Inc. explained
the complex engineering on some of the vehicles. The Volkswagon
TDI 2000 model owned by Eric Henry, president of TS Designs Inc.,
runs simply on vegetable oil. "Alcohol and lye are added to
the oil, mixed, settled and out of that you get biodiesel and glycerin,"
he explained. This product is completely compatible with diesel
and can be refilled for 25 cents a gallon.
Prius is a gas/electric hybrid vehicle that runs on batteries
that are placed at the back of the vehicle. If it is charged overnight,
the car can run on electric power to last a weekend trip. "Electric
vehicles are going to make a big comeback for short trips,"
said Martin. The
Prius retails for $21,415 and gets up to 50 miles to the gallon.
forum was a big success, drawing both students and non-students
to Elon's campus to listen to the informative speakers, eat organic
food and view environmentally friendly products. Other events featured
at the forum included an environmental film festival and afternoon
breakout sessions titled "Academia By Design," "
Food By Design" and " Communities By Design." For
coverage on the events check out Elon's Web site.