Schor Kicks Off Lecture Series and Green Initiatives

Juliet Schor thinks we should stop consuming. In a packed Kemper Auditorium Wednesday, Schor presented “Achieving Sustainability; the need for macro change.” Schor, an author, economist, sociologist and professor, began her presentation outlining the peril of the planet. Schor cited a significant decline in the ‘rate of living plant index,’ a two percent yearly increase in carbon dioxide emissions and, overall, a suffering Earth that is currently 21 percent over the sustainable usage level. “The more we use in excess, the more difficult it becomes to return to a sustainable level,” she said. Schor stated that, per capita, Americans use more than five times the sustainable level of land and resources that can be allocated to any citizen of the global population. Whereas many sustainability experts depend on technological developments to aid resource conservation, Schor deemphasized the role of technology in resolving mass consumptiom. “Technology is a necessary but not exclusive mechanism for achieving a sustainable environment,” she said. Instead, Schor stressed the importance of individuals reducing resource usage or minimizing ‘per capita consumption.’ Schor argued that the mindset of today’s culture encourages consumption on the individual level, and in order for the environment to improve, we all must change. At the behest of Chase, the administration’s commitment to sustainability began in the spring of 2007 with the formation of the Sustainability Steering Committee. Dean of Studies John Rogers, who was appointed as Advisor to the Head of School for Sustainability, directs the committee. Last spring the committee hired a private corporation to conduct a sustainability audit of Phillips Academy. The audit examined the school’s sustainability performance in 12 different consumption areas including food, energy, water and money. The results of this audit are expected later this week as a 200 page executive report that includes data, charts and summaries. This year, the Sustainability Committee, which convenes weekly, has defined three clear goals. The first is to establish a policy statement regarding Phillips Academy’s environmental position. The second goal is to encourage dialogue about the audit, so that the Andover community will be aware of the school’s sustainability achievements and shortcomings. Finally, the culminating goal is to incorporate staff, faculty members, students, alumni and trustees to draft a ‘Sustainability Strategic Plan.’ This plan would outline where Andover currently stands in regards to sustainability and where Andover will be heading in the future. Russell said, “[The Strategic Plan] will take a great deal of participation from the entire Phillips Academy community.” The Sustainability Steering Committee is also dedicated to educating the Andover community about sustainability issues around the world. Rogers has launched a lecture series called “Speaking of Sustainability.” Colin Beaven, author of “No Impact Man,” who will address the entire student body at the All-School Meeting on Earth Day 2009.v