What is your role and how long have you been at the University?
I work in the Facilities Engineering and Campus Energy Group as an Electrical Engineer and have been at the University for 9 years now.
How do you define sustainability?
When I think of sustainability, what comes to mind is a level of consciousness that is beyond what our own needs and desires dictate. We need to be thinking even beyond what the present and next generation will need to live. Dare I say, we need to go beyond what we as humans need to live. True sustainability requires selflessness and compassion for others. In fact, to attain true sustainability, I believe we need to move into the next realm which is the realm of regeneration. We need to be working on regeneration of our society, our culture, our purpose in life, and our environment. We need to rethink the way we organize groups of people for work and business because we cannot continue the way we have been going. We will need to make meaningful connections between the proverbial silos that have been erected throughout the organizations on institutions in our society. We have to be willing to ask some tough questions and be open and willing to accept the feedback that these questions will bring. We need to hear perspectives from people of every level of society and build bridges to people and cultures that are sharply different than our own. Dare I say, we need to practice humility and flexibility. Practice is required, because, I believe we have great opportunities for improvement in both of these areas. While we have attained an unprecedented level of economic development in this nation, we have also attained an unprecedented level of resource consumption, pollution, and social injustice. We need to recognize these truths and make corrections. We need to take the time to really listen and to what others have to say. In order to accomplish this task, we will need to practice listening, because listening can be a really difficult thing to do when we don’t hear what we expect to hear or what we desire to hear. I believe we can do all of the things we need to do to attain true sustainability and regeneration, but the way I believe we can do it is by reaching past the point where we get a little uncomfortable and working together for the long-term benefit of everyone with an eye for many generations to come.
In what ways have you integrated sustainability practices into your work environment and at home?
I have worked in a number of ways to try to create sustainable practices at work and at home.
Here are some of the areas I have been involved with:
- Facilities Culture of Inclusion Steering Committee
- Coffee grounds composting
- Organic waste composting
- Upgrading campus and home lighting to LED lighting
- Worked to reduce unnecessary outdoor campus and home lighting to reduce sky glow and energy consumption
- Upgrading of campus lighting controls to reduce energy consumption
- Installation of wood burning stove for supplemental heat at home
- Installation of gas fireplace for supplemental heat at home
- Use of reusable utensils and food containers/dishes to reduce use of disposables
- Installation of a Bidet at home
- Use of older, used vehicles to reduce the need for newer vehicles
- Use of an older house to reduce the need for a newer house
- Installation of new windows and insulation at home
- Experiments with water quota for showering and personal use
- Regeneration in the form of 3 boys, ages 12, 9, and 6
Here is a quote that I really appreciate:
A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole [of] nature in its beauty. -Albert Einstein (1950)