AASHE 2012 Live: Saving Our Economic Ass with Hunter Lovins
Hunter with fans from Aquinas College.
“Welcome to AASHE rising!” said Hunter Lovins, tipping her hat to a packed house during her opening keynote for AASHE 2012. The Natural Capitalism Solutions president and founder made the business case for sustainability in higher education, urging audience members to start thinking of sustainability as an investment. Why? Here are a few takeaway quotes:
The Human Impact
“Okay I’m scared,” said Lovins of recent climate change projections. “The extreme weather that we’re seeing lately? This is the fingerprint of global warming and of course there is real human impact…hundreds of thousands of people across Africa are at risk of starvation because of climate change. “
“Sustainability isn't about saving polar bears, it's about jobs; it isn't about environmentalists telling you how to live your life, it's about increasing the quality of life in our community; it's about American entrepreneurialism. It's how to enhance our national security and unleash the greatest prosperity this country has every known.”
“We need to reinvent curriculum in every academic institution and teach students what it means to do business honorably in this time in history in which all living systems are at risk.”
To Influence Policy
“You’re gonna pay less more if you have good policy.” Lovins gave the example of Germany, which thanks to solid policies supporting renewable energy produces 28 more times more solar power than California (which enjoys 70 percent more sun).
“Don’t ever think that you have no power…every day every one of us votes with our hours. When all is said and done, our time is all we have. So: organize.”
"Goddamn go vote."
To Remain Relevant
• 68% of college applicants say that a school’s commitment to sustainability is part of their decision making process
• 96% of young workers want to work for a green company
“Remember, there’s a business case here,” said Lovins. “Everything you do to meet the STARS score card is driving your competiveness as an institution because you can now say to applicants: we are walking the talk.”
“With tuition increasing at 2x rate of inflation, higher education [as we know it] may be about to become extinct. Universities are at some risk of becoming irrelevant.”
"You gotta watch this video."
“Is TED the new Harvard?” Lovins asked the audience as she encouraged that higher education embrace technology like mobile learning as companies like TED-Ed are doing.
On this note, Lovins ended her keynote address with a world premiere of her new mobile learning venture, "Tell It Ed: Where the TV documentary meets the lecture." (Look for more information on the Natural Capitalism Solutions website in the coming days.) A partnership between Sustainable Business Consulting, In the Telling, Pearson, BGI and Natural Capitalism Solutions, the online open classroom will offer video narratives with transcripts, web resources, slides, digital documents and animations.
AASHE wants to know: Do you agree with applying the business case to sustainability in higher education? Tell us your perspective in the comments section.
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