Aug 8, 2008

'Putting Sustainability to Work'

By Reginald James

For some, ‘environmental sustainability’ and ‘going green’ is just a fad. For others, it is a way of life.
Over a thousand students, faculty and staff of the University of California (UC), Californa State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC) systems gathered at CalPoly San Luis Obispo “Putting Sustainability to Work.”
The 7th annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference focused on the role of educational institutions in combating climate change while championing social change, addressing global warming while alleving global poverty, and reducing California’s carbon footprint so others can follow the state’s footsteps.
Keynote speaker Jerome Ringo of the Apollo Alliance, one of a few African Americans present, wasn’t shy about noting the absence of “those most adversely affected” by global warming.
“The green movement is the civil rights movement of our time,” said Ringo. “We have an opportunity to bring the world together.” Ringo worked for over 20 years in the Louisiana petrochemical industry before realizing the negative impacts of the industry’s pollution on local communities, especially poor and minority communities.
The conference featued workshops on energy, green building construction, operations, and maintenance, as well as transportation. A new educational track at this year’s conference focused on social equity and a “green economy,” about the role of a green jobs industry that will providee living wages while stimulating the economy and helping the planet.
The conference also featured a student affairs track highlighting the role of students in campus sustainability. Following the conference, there was a student convergence where student’s shared their various campus experiences on sustainability. •H•
The 8th Sustainability Conference will be held June 2009 at UC Santa Barbara. Harambee Online for info. for more info.

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