forum titled "Roadmap to the Future - Tomorrow by Design"
was held at Elon University Oct. 8 for all students and members
of the community. Hosted by Elon's
Center for Environmental Studies, the forum included: two keynote
speakers, David Orr and Stuart Hart; an organic culinary cook-off;
an alternative-fuel vehicle show; and a film festival. Several smaller
informational sessions and discussion groups also focused on local
agriculture, "green" initiatives and regional planning.
big question in front of us is whether we will have a habitable
world in the 21st century," said Orr, professor and chair of
the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College.
the importance of teaching students to become mindful of the environment
no matter what field of study they pursue. "We need to be students
of how this Earth works. You can do it in any field, but you have
to learn to relate your work to the Earth."
the Samuel C. Johnson Professor of Sustainable Global Enterprise
at Cornell University, discussed the role of businesses in the future
of the environment. He pointed out several strategies that businesses
can take to move forward in sustainable product development.
not just improving things that already have problems, but having
to make things inherently clean," said Hart.
He also discussed
disruptive innovations, explaining the need to change certain business
practices and established habits. "Disruption
is where most of the growth happens, and it happens outside of the
mainstream markets, in the niche markets," said Hart. "We
need enormous companies to become incredibly successful and we need
to create the independent sense of hope in the future."
of the forum was an automotive exhibit which showcased several alternative-fuel
brought his biodiesel vehicle
to the show and discussed how it runs on modified vegetable oil.
"We get the fried grease from Zach's Hotdog Stand and Wings
to Go," said Martin. "There's an abundance of oil out
there right now."
run on a renewable resource and have lower polluting emissions compared
to petroleum diesel.
of Burlington displayed two Prius
hybrid vehicles that run on Hybrid Synergy Drive. The Prius uses
a combination of gasoline and battery power to get around, allowing
them better fuel economy and emissions benefits.
Sen. Hugh Webster
(R-N.C. Dist. 24), a self-proclaimed "long-time conservationist"
attended several of the events. "The goal of the forum is getting
ideas as to how we can have progress in the standard of living but
secure the world for the people coming after us," Webster said.
"We need to establish that we can all work together."
a member of Elon University's Environmental Studies Board of Advisers,
was pleased to see that both students and the community had taken
an interest in the events. "My observation was that people
were excited," Eldridge said. "There were a couple hundred
at least turning out. It was pretty equal community and student
To see more details on the Elon forum, go to: