Friday, August 17 , 2018, 1:37 am | Overcast 69º

 
 
 
 

Sustainability Conference at UCSB Inspires Big Ideas, Promotes Best Practices

It’s been said that you can’t go home again. Tell that to UC Santa Barbara-based founders of the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, who this week brought their biggest- and best-yet event back to the campus where it was created more than a decade ago.

The gathering was born in 2002, when 100 guests from across the UC system convened at UCSB to talk best practices. The conference now in full swing, and concluding Thursday, boasts 900 attendees representing some 80 institutions and organizations, including UC, CSU, California Community College, and private and independent campuses, as well as private industry and community members.

“One of the reasons we created this conference originally was because we found that too many people were doing things on their campus that someone on a different campus, in another part of the state, had already done,” Katie Maynard, event manager for the conference and sustainability coordinator in UCSB’s geography department, said Monday. “We’re hoping our attendees take away tangible ideas about what they could implement by giving them an opportunity to learn from their colleagues, learn what’s already happening, what’s possible, and what’s been done and proven on another campus so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Hoping to bring greening into greater consciousness by sharing strategies for effective storytelling around such efforts, this 12th annual event bears the theme “Declare, Demonstrate, Propagate.” Featuring research presentations, as well as case studies in curriculum development, operational programs, and community partnerships, it is intended to be an idea-sharing festival — a massive, multiday brainstorming session of sorts — as much as a source of inspiration.

Speaker Eban Goodstein, who delivered the opening keynote Monday morning, provided much of the latter.

Goodstein
Eban Goodstein, director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, delivers the opening keynote address. (George Foulsham photo)

Director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., and of the Bard MBA in sustainability, Goodstein issued a call to action — to students, in particular — imploring society at large to lean on its younger generations for sustainability leadership and innovation.

“We’re living in a truly extraordinary moment in the history of the human experiment,” Goodstein said. “The work that we’re going to do together, over the next three decades, is going to have a profound impact — not only on our own lives and the lives of our children, but in fact for every human being and every creature that’s going to inhabit the face of this earth until the end of time.”

Veronica Acosta-Deprez is all in. A professor of health science at CSU Long Beach, where she sits on the campus sustainability task force, she came to the conference hoping to glean ideas for further integrating green themes into her curriculum — and getting more of her fellow faculty to follow suit.

“Sustainability is very important, not only locally, but for global health, and for global change, to really save our world,” Acosta-Deprez said. “It’s really important for us to think this through and try to integrate it not only into our own personal lives, but in a more systemic way. Sustainability impacts the health of children and their literacy rates. If they’re unhealthy, they can’t go to school; they’re uneducated, so they’re unable to find jobs. It’s a cycle of poverty that’s endless, and one of the reasons why is because of the lifestyle we are living here in developed countries.”

With the conference — and with its own well-regarded sustainability efforts — UCSB is hoping to provide impetus for adjustments to that lifestyle. Field trips both on campus and off, including bike, bird-watching, and building tours, are spotlighting myriad green initiatives of UCSB and its surrounding communities, in everything from communication strategies and waste reduction to energy management and green health care.

“To achieve full sustainability, we have many challenges ahead,” said Pam Lombardo, acting associate vice chancellor for administrative services at UCSB and co-chair of the Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee. “Creativity and innovation are necessary to help us to achieve those next steps, and conferences like this one that encourage idea sharing and brainstorming among colleagues are a great place to start. … We have a long way to go, but the turnout here today shows that the commitment to this goal is both strong and spreading.”

The conference continues through Thursday. A full slate of workshops, field trips and presentations on Tuesday will feature a 4 p.m. closing keynote by Drew Dellinger that is free and open to the public. Highlights on Wednesday include excursions to Coal Oil Point Reserve, the campus culinary garden at Westmont College and an eco-friendly winery.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Elizabeth Wagner
Elizabeth Wagner
"I consider myself to be an up front and honest agent and willing to talk my clients out of purchasing a property that isn’t right for them or won’t meet their needs in a year or two."

Full Profile >