photos by Bettina Johnson
Center for Environmental Studies hosted "Roadmap
to the Future: Tomorrow by Design," Oct. 8. The all-day
workshop was the fourth annual environmental forum hosted by the
university and was open to all members of the Elon community.
mix of speeches from environmental professionals, the tasting of
organic foods, test-driving of hybrid cars and the opportunity to
examine solar and wind energy, Elon University educated its students
and community about environmental issues and alternatives facing
our planet. Keynote speakers included Dr.
David Orr, professor and chair of the Environmental
Studies Program at Oberlin College, and Dr.
Stuart Hart, the Samuel C. Johnson Professor of Sustainable
Global Enterprise at Cornell University.
spoke about the critically important issue of saving our environment
for the future. He explained that global warming caused by pollutants
in the Earth's biosphere is making the planet suffer the same way
as a person "sitting in a parked car with the windows rolled
up in a suburban parking lot on a July day."
not an issue of conservatives versus liberals," said Orr, as
he tackled the idea some put forth that environmentalism is only
espoused by liberals. "I believe they are both flip sides of
the same coin. The issue is what kind of world we will leave behind
for future generations."
Orr went on
to say that Americans are the most wasteful people on Earth. He
said government agencies have reported that the largest security
issue facing the American public today is not terrorism but climate
change because of our mutilation of the planet.
One of the
alternative energy methods he described, the wind, is plentiful
right here in our own country. "There is more wind potential
in the Dakotas than there is oil in Saudi Arabia," said Orr,
adding that benefits
of efficiency and alternative power sources include employment opportunities
while also saving the environment.
Orr, the problem with today's leaders is that they talk down to
their citizens. "We are being dumbed down in an election year,"
said Orr. "We're being talked to as if the environment doesn't
matter, as if we're in third or fourth grade." Orr urges citizens
to rise up and care about our common wealth.
with a plan for a sustainable world
is an expert on fusing the business and sustainability agendas to
create sustainable value. He explained how the world of commerce
is the leverage to a sustainable world. When speaking about the
term "sustainability," Hart said, "All of us, at
a high level, understand it, but when reduced to practice, it gets
sticky." He said the term means so much that no one knows quite
how to operate it. And there is no "one-size-fits-all"
out that poor people in developing countries are generally badly
served by capitalism, and said they can be the key to building a
better world. "We need to learn more about sustainable living
from those at the base of the pyramid," he said.
Hart said he
believes technology such as windmills,
hybrid cars and LED
lighting will leapfrog us to the future; companies need to switch
to more sustainable methods in order to be successful. "This
is the only way to get to the future and create a more secure world,"
activists show their concern
John Sullivan, a philosophy professor at Elon University and a co-planner
of the environmental forum, said he was pleased with the turnout
for the event. "The talks were really eye-opening. I thought
they fit together very well," he said.
a CERES volunteer and representative, stood beside a display board
filled with accomplishments and newspaper clippings about his environment-friendly
organization. CERES is Alamance County's Coalition
for Environmental Responsibility and Education through Synergy.
"This group brought smaller groups together to fight for the
environment," said Bryant. He said he hopes the coalition will
inform politicians, students and average citizens to make better
choices that can make a difference in nature.
biodiesel on view
show featuring vehicles that use alternative fuels was swarmed by
interested students and members of the community. The cars, on display
in the Moselely Center parking log, were sponsored by Elon Campus
Safety and Police.
fire up quiet nicely," said Jack Martin, owner of a Golf TDI
VolksWagen that uses vegetable oil in combination with diesel gas.
"That's the beauty of these high-compression engines."
Martin suggested that drivers start out with biodiesel, and then
pour in the vegetable oil once the car has warmed up.
fuel uses natural, renewable resources such as vegetable oils and
recycled greases that can be chemically transformed into clean-burning
energy. It can be made from many oils and fats such as soy, canola,
tallow, mustard and restaurant greases. "It
turns into a beautiful fuel," Martin said.
Also on display
were two Toyota Priuses,
available for test drives. When driven, the gas/electric hybrid
machines seemed to float over the asphalt with no sound. The price
starts at around $21,000 and includes a federal tax deduction for
all new Prius buyers. This gas/electric hybrid offers amazing fuel
economy, all with the performance of a conventional car.
and wind power on display
in the grass, absorbing full sunshine was an array of solar panels
being demonstrated and explained by Chris Carter of Solar Village
Independent Renewable Power, a purveyor of solar
and wind-powered energy systems.
been self-sustained for 14 years as my own power company,"
said Carter, who spent much of the day wearing a Chinese-styled
cardboard hat he made himself to shield his face from the sun when
he's out on the job installing his solar units.
other power companies steal the environment from us," he said,
"and then expect us to pay for their lousy electricity."
solar energy panels are the most reliable energy sources ever created,
with no moving parts.
prices for complete home heating/cooling systems range from $15,000
to $20,000 for wind and $25,000 to $35,000 for solar, but he said
these systems work in a clean fashion, using renewable resources,
and make it so a homeowner should never have electricity bills to
Faces of the Future part of forum
toward lunchtime, one of Elon's Harden dining hall featured a "Battle
of the Chefs" using locally grown and organic foods, in keeping
with the sustainability theme of the day.
service chefs James and Menna competed using locally produced organic
foods supplied through the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.
Elon students on the meal plan could enjoy the organic meal without
an additional fee. Other event participants paid $6.50 per person
A wall in the
student union building, Moseley Center, was dedicated to an exhibit
featuring the "Faces of the Future. As conference attendees
arrived and signed in, they were asked to think of children who
are family members and/or friends or even children yet to be born
and write their names down to be posted on a wall dedicated to the
people also brought photos of children to be posted on the wall
prior to and during the conference as a reminder that what we do
today will be the legacy that we leave to those who follow.
sessions at the environmental forum included three choices of discussions
complete with guest panels:
by Design"was moderated by Rett Davis, Alamance County Agricultural
Extension agent. This session discussed sustainable agriculture
including panelists such as Tony Kleese, executive director of the
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, and Linda Niedziela, assistant
professor of biology at Elon.
and Business by Design" was another breakout session focused
on sustainable practices as a guiding principle. Facilitated by
Paul Kron, regional planner with the Piedmont Triad Council of Governments,
the panel included Anne Tazewell of Triangle Clean Cities; Rodney
Swink, director of the N.C. Office of Urban Development; and Nate
Bowman of Bowman Development Corporation.
The third breakout
session, "Academia by Design," was moderated by Orr and
Ralph Kirschner. This group featured representatives from local
universities with "green" initiatives and was cosponsored
by the Elon Student Sierra Coalition.