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Education and Action for a Sustainable Future. Debra Rowe, Ph.D . President U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development www.uspartnership.org Co-chair Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium www.heasc.net Advisor
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Debra Rowe, Ph.D. President U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development www.uspartnership.org Co-chair Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium www.heasc.net Advisor Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education www.aashe.org Professor, Sustainable Energies and Behavioral Sciences Oakland Community College www.oaklandcc.edu/EST Thanks to John Richter and Anthony Cortese for some of these slides
Part I What is sustainability? • Part II What are our sustainability challenges? • Part III Solutions and National Trends • Part IV Resources for you!
“meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” World Commission on Env. and Development. (1987). Our Common Future. England: Oxford University Press. Sustainable Development is often defined as:
Social Well-being Flourishing Environment Strong Economy Sustainable Society Triple Bottom Line of Sustainability
The United Nations has declared a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development2005-2014
Education for a Sustainable Society:“enables people to develop the knowledge, values and skills to participate in decisions …, that will improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future.”
Ecosystem Ecosystem Sustainable Communities Public Choices and Behaviors-Laws Applied Knowledge/ Technological Skills Private Choices and Behaviors-Habits Sustainable Economies Ecosystem Ecosystem
Why is environmental responsibility such a high priority? • Freshwater withdrawal has almost doubled since 1960 and nearly half the world’s major rivers are going dry or are badly polluted (New Internationalist, no. 329) • 11 of the world’s 15 major fishing areas and 69% of the world’s major fish species are in decline (State of the World, Worldwatch Institute) • Climate change (global warming) exists, a major culprit is fossil fuels, and impacts are very serious. (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report: Summary for Policymakers: The Science of Climate Change)
U.S. EmissionsU.S. NOAA slides NOAA Slides by Forecast Systems Laboratory. 24
The U.S. has 4.5% of the world’s population and is producing over 23% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. For decades, the U.S. has been the #1 polluter. U.S. Contributions to Climate Change
Disruption of food production and the food chain More extreme weather events Disruptions of ecosystems and the food chain, including water supplies Spread of disease e.g. West Nile, Malaria, Dengue Fever Submersion of land masses – 1 to 4 foot sea level rise - now up to 80 feet 50% of world’s population lives on the coasts = Civilization Disruption Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Effects -Climate Change
Why is Climate Change Important? It is outside of the normal variability of climate. We are the first generation capable of determining the habitability of the planet for humans and other species. The decisions of this generation are crucial.
Why climate change and other environmental Issues are so important • Human presence on a global scale • All living systems in long term decline at unprecedented and accelerating rate • Unprecedented growth in population and consumption • Climate change Our decisions will create: more scarcity and suffering, or a future of greater abundance and higher quality of life
Global Perspective life supporting resources declining consumption of life supporting resources rising
Why is EFS such a high priority in the U.S.? • Much of the U.S. public doesn’t know that we are exceeding the carrying capacity of the planet. (www.myfootprint.org) • Public doesn’t know we can reduce human suffering, environmental degradation and social injustice now while building stronger economies • A rapid shift in mindset is needed andeducation to action is the key.
Solutions for climate change • Reduce energy use • Use renewable energies • Stop burning fossil fuels – oil, coal and natural gas • Prepare to adapt
Why should we reduce our consumption of fossil fuels? It is a national security issue causing the following threats to our well being: • Political Instability • Economic Instability • Environmental Instability
Political Instability = Dependency on foreign oil • The U.S. imports 54% of its oil consumption. • U.S. oil production has declined continuously since 1974. • Comes from some countries whose policies we don’t like Source: University of Minnesota
Economic Impacts "Paid predominantly by the US, the costs of protecting our Middle East oil supplies are as high as $15-25 a barrel - that is about a dollar a gallon.” Peter Hain, UK Europe Minister USS Stark, 1987
Economic Instability • Globally, the largest item in the U.S. trade deficit is our importing of foreign oil • Nationally, our economy is hampered by energy costs which decrease the bottom line of profits and economic health • Locally, people on stressed budgets - many have to choose between heating and eating
Environmental Impacts - Disease “… power plant particle pollution causes more than 603,000 asthma attacks per year..” Source: Abt Associates: Death, Disease, and Dirty Power Plants
Environmental Impacts - Death “Abt Associates finds over 30,000 deaths each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. power plants.” Source: The Clean the Air Task Force
From Fossil powered Take, make, waste Living off nature’s capital Market as master Loss of cultural & biological diversity Independence Materialism as goal To Non-polluting powered Cyclical production Living off nature’s income Market as servant Maintain cultural & biological diversity Interdependence Reduced human suffering and quality of life goal Global Transition – Paradigm Shift
Dominant Inaccurate Human BeliefsWhich ones do you have to eliminate? • Humans dominant species separate from environment • Resources free and inexhaustible • Technology the answer • Earth can assimilate all wastes • All human needs can be met by human means • Individual success independent of health of communities, cultures and ecosystems Old Worldview vs. Updated Worldview of Sustainabilty
Part III More on Solutions and Trends
Potentials for Energy Conservation and Renewable Energies Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization by Lester Brown Founder of Worldwatch Institute Downloadable at www.earth-policy.org
Potentials for Energy Conservation Conserve energy!! Can address all of our increasing demand for energy. Lighting alone can handle 12%. Easy to save 20-40% in building energy use. Don’t idle. Keep your tires properly inflated.
Potentials for Renewable Energies For wind energy, Stanford University team Archer and Jacobson: Harvesting 1/5 of the world’s available wind energy would provide 7 times as much electricity as the world currently uses. U.S. Department of Energy 1991 study: North Dakota, Kansas and Texas has enough harnessable wind energy to satisfy national electricity needs. (Given new technologies since then, can handle the U.S. total energy needs.)
Potentials for Renewable Energies Can we meet all our needs with renewable energies? YES
Source 2006 Goal for 2020 Wind 74 3,000 Rooftop solar electric systems 9 1,090 Solar electric power plants 0 100 Solar thermal power plants 0 200 Geothermal 9 200 Biomass 45 200 Hydropower 850 1,350 Total 987 6,140 Electricity Generating Capacity (electrical gigawatts) Table 12–1. World Energy from Renewables in 2006and Plan B Goals for 2020
Source 2006Goal for 2020 Thermal Energy Capacity (thermal gigawatts) Solar rooftop water and 100 1,100 space heaters Geothermal 100 500 Biomass 220 350 Total (electrical and thermal gigawatts) 420 1,950 Table 12–1 cont. World Energy from Renewables in 2006and Plan B Goals for 2020
A Few Words on Each Renewable Resource Electricity Generating Capacity (electrical gigawatts) • Wind • Rooftop solar electric systems • Solar electric power plants • Solar thermal power plants • Geothermal • Hydropower
A Few Words on Each Renewable Resource Thermal Energy Capacity (thermal gigawatts) • Solar rooftop water and space heaters • Geothermal • Biomass – Ethanol, Biodiesel, Methane, Combustion
Note – Hydrogen is not a renewable energy; it is a storage medium Key Renewable Energy Transportation Strategy: Plug in hybrids!!!!
KEY THRUST Change the buildings and transportation and manufacturing environments’ operational/policy norms toward sustainable policies and practices. Where? In the personal, business and governmental spheres.
Your Home - Facilities, Purchasing and Operations Residential – What you can do!!! • Environmentally and socially responsible purchasing – www.coopamerica.org, www.newdream.org • Environmentally and socially responsible investments – www.socialinvest.org • Caulk and weatherstrip • Parasitic power – unplug the TV, computer, etc. when not in use! • Fill the freezer. Clean the coils • Carpool or use bikes and buses • Turn down the tank to 120 and use water conserving showerheads.
Your Home - Facilities, Purchasing and Operations Residential – What you can do!!! • Permaculture instead of grass • Eat lower and local on the food chain • Buy renewable energy locally and offsets (www.nativeenergy.org) • Be an “energy waste detective” • Reduce, reuse and recycle
SAVE MONEY United Way Case Studies: 32% Energy savings • Lighting Retrofits • Weatherizing • Insulation
Solutions: • All of us engaged as effective change agents in our sustainability challenges • From apathy caring involvement. • Know that our daily decisions affect the quality of life of people around the globe. • Culture of sustainability – MTV’s Breaking the Addiction to Oil • Push for appropriate policies
Skills: 1) Teach/learn sustainable development literacy 2) Teach/learn optimism skills (Seligman) 3) Teach/learn efficacy; tell stories of “normal” people making a difference 4) Teach/learn interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences – e.g. civil discourse, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence 5) Teach/learn systems thinking, futurist skills and change agent skills
A community of learners. A community of real life problem solvers. The community as a living lab for sustainability oriented practices and skill building.Provides the models and opportunities for practicing the changing of behaviorsBuilding values, behaviors, and identities
What is “Green Design’? Design and construction practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of buildings on the environment and occupants in five broad areas: • Sustainable site planning • Safeguarding water and water efficiency • Energy efficiency and renewable energy • Conservation of materials and resources • Indoor environmental quality.
Why use green design? • Save Money • Improve Health • Reduce Climate Change • Reduce Financial Risk • Community Benefits
US Health Care Expenditures as Percent of GDP Projections Heffler et al.U.S. Health Spending Projections for 2004-2014. Health Tracking, February 23, 2005
“Unknowingly, the architecture and building community is responsible for almost half of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions annually. Globally the percentage is even greater.” U.S. Energy Consumption by Sector Source:U.S. Energy Information Administration statistics
U.S. Green Building Council – www.usgbc.org LEED provides a roadmap for every building type. Specific programs include: • New commercial and residential construction and major renovation projects • Existing building operations and maintenance • Commercial interiors projects • Core and shell development projects • Neighborhood development
Green Design Does Not Have to Cost More • Studies verify this • Can be positive cash flow from the first month • Use experienced professionals • For a free publication on how to go green for no more money, http://www.ieice.com/portfolio/green_building/book/book.html
Benefits of Green Building • Environmental Benefits • Reduce the impacts of natural resource consumption • Economic Benefits • Improve the bottom line • Health and Safety Benefits • Enhance occupant comfort and health • Community Benefits • Minimize strain on local infrastructures and improve quality of life • Fulfills a professional responsibility • It’s the new norm