Speaking for the earth; School hosts sustainability speakers

By Angela Le Quieu, Staff Reporter | Photo by Angela Le Quieu

Dr. Asako Stone (left), Carson Bennett (middle), and M. J. Zimmerman (right) speak about sustainability for Earth Week.
Dr. Asako Stone (left), Carson Bennett (middle), and M. J. Zimmerman (right) speak about sustainability for Earth Week.

The Sustainability Speakers series is part of CNM’s ongoing efforts toward sustainability and is part of the week long cel­ebration of Earth Day, as well as the Sustainability Beyond the Classroom proj­ect, which is scheduled to take place from April 16 to 22 at Main, Montoya and Westside campuses, said Psychology instructor and speaker Asako Stone.

The CNM community has been invited to participate in lectures and workshops across all three campuses, which will focus on spreading knowledge about what sustain­ability is and what people can do in response to it, Stone said.

“I think it’s very impor­tant— I think it’s the most important thing we can be teaching today. I think col­leges like CNM that are arts, science, and technical have a unique combination of classes so that we can teach both the technical side of sustainability and we can teach the science and humanities side too,” Stone said.

English instructor and member of the sustainability curriculum team, Carson Bennett said Earth Day will be on Tuesday, April 22 and this year CNM plans to host a week-long series that will feature lectures on every­thing, from the definition of sustainability to composting and urban farming.

Faculty from all over CNM have been working throughout the spring semes­ter to help make students aware of sustainability issues, as well as find ways to make it practically applicable to students, Bennett said.

Bennett is slated to present with Amy Miller, Director of PNM’s envi­ronmental programs, in “Defining Sustainability” on Wednesday, April 16 at 5 p.m. at the Westside campus in room WS I-304.

Bennett said that his definition comes from the 1987 Brundtland Commission in its report “Our Common Future,” which coined the term sus­tainable development.

The current understand­ing of sustainability involves the “three E’s” of environment, economy, and social equity, which all must be considered for a solution to be considered sustainable to the outcome it has on these three issues, Bennett said.

“Personally I think that sustainability is the ultimate problem solving tool. I think that if you understand how sustainability works and how a sustainable solution to a problem works then you look at problem solving in a very different way.” Bennett said.

English and Honors instructor, M.J. Zimmerman, spoke about sustainability, and how it is tied in to the way we think about the world in “Less stuff, more fun: Sustainability and the good life,” where she said that this is an important issue for all academic disci­plines to learn.

When referring to her speech, Zimmerman said a quote from a bumper sticker helped her to realize what sustainability really means in the scheme of things.

“I should have put it in quotation marks because I saw it years ago on a bumper sticker out in Berkley California, ‘less stuff/ more fun,’ and implies that living sustainably is not necessarily a deprivation,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman’s dis­course was on Monday, April 14 at Main campus, which was the kick-off to the week-long discussion about sustainability solutions.

One of the examples that Zimmerman gave for how people are starting to change the way they see the world, was how Bhutan (a small country between China and India) has moved away from measuring the success of their country in Gross National Product in favor of Gross National Happiness, she said.

According to grossna­tionalhappiness.com this concept defines and mea­sures quality of life and social progress from a more holistic and psychological point of view.

Stone’s workshop “Sustainability beyond the classroom: Neighborhood cooperative” on Tuesday, April 22 at 5 p.m. at Main in room SB-132 will be about a more hands on way that people can reduce their eco­logical footprint, she said.

“I think it’s such a won­derful idea and I feel that this is the first time we are taking advantage of Earth Day more than a day. In the past couple of years we had an Earth Day celebration but we didn’t have a series of workshops in which students and staff and community members can come in and learn about something new,” Stone said.

Stone is herself a part of the Mountain-Forrester Neighborhood Cooperative where six households par­ticipate in bartering and the sharing of tools, she said.

CNM’s efforts in sus­tainability education do not stop at the end of April; in the upcom­ing 2014 course cat­alog students will have the oppor­tunity for a con­centration in Sustainability Studies for a Liberal Arts degree that will meet 75 percent of the require­ments for UNM’s sustain­ability minor and a new class SUST 1134, Introduction to Sustainability, will be offered, Bennett said.

“It’s really exciting because there’s so many jobs out there right now that are looking for people who have a working knowledge of sustainability concepts and CNM is uniquely situated to offer students a really mar­ketable degree,” Bennett said.

The new concentra­tion is the work of Bennett, Stone, and instructor Sandra Rourke and students inter­ested in knowing more about what classes CNM offers that involve sustain­ability can contact one of them, Bennett said.

Bennett also said that they are hoping to get a sustainability club going at CNM, and that one has been talked about but has not yet been developed.

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