August 6, 2015

The 2015-16 Symposium Against Indifference: Environmental Sustainability

The College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce Environmental Sustainability as the theme of this year's Symposium against Indifference.  Dr. Patty Saunders, Director of AU's Environmental Science Program and faculty member in the Department of Biology/Toxicology, reflects below on the importance of environmental sustainability. See the schedule for this year's symposium events HERE.

The Importance of Environmental Sustainability 

Sand hill cranes fly over the
Black Fork Wetlands Preserve.
This summer, my family and I took a road trip to visit family in New England. Along the way, we stood above Niagara Falls, craned our necks to see one mountain range after another, inched forward with traffic on I-95, ate lobster rolls, camped by big lakes, followed around ducklings from a neighboring site, breathed in the pine-tree scent, and stopped to top up the gas tank seven times. Like everybody else, we interact daily with nature and are sustained by nature.  Sometimes, as on our trip, we take extra time to wonder at the view.

Travel, technology, and education allow us to “view” farther away and see with greater resolution. More and more, humans are considering how to make our collective environment more sustainable. How do we do a better job of living within our means? …And why make the effort? We all use environmental resources and rely on natural systems to renew and replenish resources, but there is only so much stuff.  An important corollary is that natural systems of renewal and recycling are also limited.