Webster Hosts "Sustainability: Our Common Future"

Webster will host a two day discussion of sustainability and the social, economic, environmental and human rights issues surrounding it. Called “Sustainability: Our Common Future,” the April 12-13 conference will offer more than 40 sessions, covering everything from a debate about “what is green chemistry” to a look at the sustainable business practices of the Schlafly Brewing Company.

ST. LOUIS, March 29, 2013 - For many older adults, community recycling programs and reusable shopping totes are a sign of a relatively recent focus on the environment – just a decade ago, it was still not common to see a recycling can at the curb next to the trash can.
 
But for Webster's students who have grown up with these changes, sustainability is more than collecting cans and newspapers. It is a thread that weaves through their purchasing decisions, their mode of transportation, their education, and how they interact with society as a whole.

Webster will host a two day discussion of sustainability and the social, economic, environmental and human rights issues surrounding it. Called “Sustainability: Our Common Future,” the April 12-13 conference will offer more than 40 sessions, covering everything from a debate about “what is green chemistry” to a look at the sustainable business practices of the Schlafly Brewing Company.

This year's keynote speaker is David W. Orr, the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Senior Adviser to the President, Oberlin College in Ohio. Orr is the author of seven books, including “Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse.” The theme of the conference is “Sustainability: Our Common Future.”
The event is open to the public and costs $20 per person, $5 for students, and is free to members of the Webster community.

“I am a Watergate journalist who grew up in the era of finding the good guys and the bad guys, especially as it relates to issues such as environmentalism,” said Don Corrigan, a professor in Webster's School of Communication and a member of the University's Sustainability Coalition. “What is striking is that young people today are more interested in finding solutions and less interested in finding fault. They are looking at what they can do personally – and at the grassroots level – to make the world better.”

“And it is Webster students' interest in sustainability issues that were a major factor into why this conference is happening and why the topics represent such diverse approaches to the issues.”

Topics that will be discussed include a historical analysis of “Coal Ash in St. Louis,” a discussion of “Show me Enviro-Missouri: Toxic Legacy/Sustainability,” a look at the latest compostable toilets and whether they are more sustainable than sewage treatment plants, a discussion of recycling programs in resort communities, and an analysis of the “City of Alton Town Center Stream Restoration.” A full schedule of all events can be found online.

Orr, the Keynote speaker, will discuss climate change and why he sees it as one of the top issues of our time. The featured speaker at the event is Monty Hempel, a documentary filmmaker and environmental scientist. He is currently the Hedco Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands, in Southern California. He is also president of Blue Planet United, a small 501(c)(3) educational organization that produces environmental films and publishes a quarterly news journal about human population, consumption and sustainability.
Other speakers at the 2013 conference include Kathleen Logan Smith, executive director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment; Lt. Gen. Kathleen M. Gainey, deputy commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base; and Col. Christopher G. Hall, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District.

Ameren is the presenting sponsor of the event. Other sponsors include Mallinkrodt, St. Louis Business Journal, Laclede Gas, Sodexo, and Waste Management. Visit http://blogs.webster.edu/sustainability2013/ for more information about the conference.