Tag Archives: sustainability

Sustainability Institute welcomes responsible business thought leader on April 18

(This is from Sue Barsom at the PSU Suustainability Institute)

Carol Sanford, author of “The Responsible Business” and “The Responsible Entrepreneur,” will be a featured speaker on April 18 during the Sustainability Institute’s inaugural Reinvention Fund Symposium.

Sanford has consulted with companies such as Seventh Generation, Intel, Dupont, and Colgate-Palmolive, and her work has also been used in a Google Innovation Lab. Sanford’s books are required reading at leading business schools including Harvard, Stanford, Haas Berkeley and MIT.

She holds undergraduate degrees from UC Berkeley in Economics and Public Law and a graduate degree from California State University, San Jose in Urban Planning.

Central to Sanford’s philosophy and approach is a fresh look at what makes an organization truly innovative and responsible. “It’s important to find out what differentiates a business from the crowd,” Sanford says, “and then thinking about how to innovate in business so that workers/suppliers, communities, societies, and ecology, investors — as a whole, are improved. These are not separate but interwoven pursuits. It’s completely doable, and a conversation worth having.”

Sanford’s April 18 keynote address “Catalyzing Innovation: Local Economies, Entrepreneurship and Education in a Living Systems Paradigm” will be held from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. in Ballrooms CDE of the Nittany Lion Inn.

Sanford’s lecture is sponsored by Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and the Reinvention Fund. A question and answer session will follow. Visit sustainability.psu.edu for the Reinvention Fund Symposium full agenda. The symposium and Sanford’s keynote address are free and open to the public.

For more information about Carol Sanford, visit carolsanford.com or watch her talk from TedXBerkeley.

For more information about sustainability at Penn State visit www.sustainability.psu.edu.

Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels

On Friday I will talk about the idea of “peak oil”.  The fundamental paper in this area, Hubbert’s 1956 Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, is easy enough to read (you can ignore the few references to calculus at the beginning, they are mostly just mathematical window-dressing).  You can download Hubbert’s paper from this link.   Try using this as the basis for some blog posts.

Seminar about student farming

Could be interesting…

Seminar: UC Davis Student Farm Director
Friday, February 13, 12:20-1:10pm in 101 Ag Sciences and Industries (ASI)
Q&A hour to follow, 1:30-2:30pm in 118 ASI

We are excited to announce that Mark Van Horn, director of the UC Davis Student Farm, will give the first talk of the Sustainable Ag Seminar Series this spring. We invite you to come learn from Mark about the the development, operations, and lessons learned from this highly-ranked student farm.



Sustainability Institute seeks public comment on University goal setting process

I’m not sure this is directly relevant to the course, but students may be interested:

“Penn State’s upper administration and the community have looked to the University’s Sustainability Institute as a convener of conversations and engagement processes around various sustainability issues, such as the concept of zero-carbon communities and a stakeholder assessment of the recent natural gas pipeline controversy. To that end, the institute commissioned and is now publicly releasing the results of a recent project that proposes a new community and stakeholder engagement process for setting University-wide goals for sustainability, starting with energy. In order to explore how the process might best be adapted and refined, the institute is seeking public comment on the report until Feb. 18; details on how to access the report and where to submit comments, can be found below.”

Read more here


Article about water supplies to Los Angeles

I didn’t get as far as showing this map in class yesterday:

Picture1It shows the level of water stress in various parts of the USA.  The source is CIRES, an institute for research in environmental studies at the University of Colorado.

You’ll see that the southern part of California is an area of high water stress.  In the New York Times yesterday was an interesting article about the ongoing “water wars” related to Los Angeles’ water supply.

“Learning to Bounce Back”

An op-ed in the New York Times, titled “Learning to Bounce Back”, makes a comparison and contrast between the notions of “sustainability” and “resilience”.  It comes from just around the time of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on New York City, so some of its points are tied to that, but many apply more widely.

From the article: “Today, precisely because the world is so increasingly out of balance, the sustainability regime is being quietly challenged, not from without, but from within. Among a growing number of scientists, social innovators, community leaders, nongovernmental organizations, philanthropies, governments and corporations, a new dialogue is emerging around a new idea, resilience: how to help vulnerable people, organizations and systems persist, perhaps even thrive, amid unforeseeable disruptions. Where sustainability aims to put the world back into balance, resilience looks for ways to manage in an imbalanced world. ”

Read the whole article here.  What do you think?   Is the contrast a realistic one?  How might it be understood mathematically?  What policy consequences might follows from prioritizing “sustainability” over “resilience” or vice versa?