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Connections to Sustainability at USU A presentation by the USU Sustainability Council August 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Connections to Sustainability at USU A presentation by the USU Sustainability Council August 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Connections to Sustainability at USU A presentation by the USU Sustainability Council August 2009

2 What’s the “Connection?” What is Sustainability? Why do we care? "We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to." - Terri Swearingen

3 Sustainability Meet[ing] the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. World Commission on Environment and Development (1987)

4 Example You have a trust fund of $1,000,000 It is invested in stable securities that pay out 5% interest each year How much money can you spend in a year without compromising next year’s ‘income’? Answer: $50,000

5 Your annual income & spending Year 1: $1 Million X 0.05 = $50,000 Spend $50,000 Year 2: $1 million X 0.05 = $50,000 Spend $50,000 Year 3: $1 million X 0.05 = $50,000 Spend $50,000 Etc. ad infinitum

6 What if you ‘live beyond your means” spending $100,000 each year? Year 1: $1,000,000 X 1.05 = $1,050,000 - $100,000 = $950,000 Year 2: $950,000 X 1.05 = $997,500 - $100,000 = $897,500 Year 3: $897,500 X 1.05 = $942,375 - $100,000 = $842,375

7 Your Trust Fund Endowment

8 What if instead of money, we monitor fish in an ocean fishery? 1,0000,000 fish, with a population growth rate of 50,000 fish per year If you harvest 50,000 fish per year, how long can you harvest fish? Is that a ‘sustainable’ fish harvest? If you harvest 100,000 fish per year, what will happen?

9 Declining Fish Stock

10 The ‘Flip Side’ of Using Resources Each year, we consume more and more resources Each year we also produce more and more waste Most of our waste is emitted from smokestacks, flushed or thrown ‘away’ But where is this magical ‘Land of Away’? The “Magical Land of Away” is somewhere on the same planet we live on: –The air –The water (lakes, streams, oceans, aquifers) –The land

11 How many earths do you require? We’re going to need 5 earths if everyone in the world lived as we do…

12 Example: Plastic Bottles Recycling one can save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours Only 20% are ever recycled; the rest are thrown ‘away’ Americans buy 29 billion water bottles a year Making them takes17 million barrels of crude oil – enough to keep a million cars going for a whole year

13 Commoner’s 4 Laws of Ecology 1. Everything is Connected to Everything Else 2.Everything Must Go Somewhere 3.Nature Knows Best 4.There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch The Closing Circle

14 If sustainability is employed as a method of examining the relationship between environmental limits and the human values, decisions, and actions that shape the future, it will transform not only what we do on campus, but also how we think. Daniel Sherman

15 What is USU Doing? Water Student Engagement Recycling Outreach Transportation Energy EducationResearch Wellness

16 Education Existing and new curriculum offered – bility/education/usu-courses bility/education/usu-courses New faculty and programs Future: mandatory curriculum requirements

17 Research Sustainable agriculture & ag byproducts Alternative, renewable energy Carbon sequestration Sustainable living Landscape & environmental planning Urban forestry Climate research Nutrition …and much more

18 Recycling Since 1990 Recycles 26% of waste stream Join Aggie Recyclers or volunteer at the recycling center

19 Energy & Water Retrofitting existing buildings Xeriscaping and efficient irrigation New efficient natural gas central energy plant Small hydro-electric system LEED standards for new buildings Wind power study

20 Transportation 47% of USU’s carbon footprint is from vehicle travel Fleet will be 20% more efficient by 2015 Aggie Blue Bikes –FREE loaner bikes for students! Car free Fridays Walking Club FREE bus system on campus

21 Wellness Fitness programs Nutrition programs Wellness programs USU organic farm – become a volunteer!

22 Make a difference at USU! Take the “USU Sustainability Challenge” Find your voice, participate, be heard –Network on the “sustainability wiki” –Join a Club: ECOS, Aggie Recyclers, Organic Farm, Sustainability Student Outreach Committee, etc. Consider a “green career” “Great problems call for many small solutions.” Wendell Berry


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