Sustainability event promotes ‘green living’

Andrew Henderson

Students of sustainability sought to perfect their practices at the Pathways to Sustainability conference.

The in-depth look at what it means to be sustainable and how to promote sustainability correlates with an emphasis in campus communities to maintain their habitats. 

Pathways to Sustainability was sponsored by five WKU organizations and two Bowling Green organizations and spanned two days, Friday and Saturday. Christian Ryan, university sustainability coordinator, along with the WKU Office of Sustainability, served as the main sponsors for the conference. Ryan said the event was motivated by a desire of students, faculty and staff wanting to know more about the practices of sustainability.

“There’s an ongoing need of education and awareness regarding sustainability,” Ryan said. 

On Friday, the event highlighted on a round table discussion, “Responding to the Anthropocene: moving from Sustainability to Resilience.” According to National Geographic, the Anthropocene is the name for a new geologic era defined by the impact humans have had on the planet.

“We’ve practiced sustainability to avoid some changes in our system, but we can’t avoid them,” she said. 

John All, associate professor of geography, was one of the presenters at the conference. All spoke about intentional communities, describing them as places where people gather together around shared ideals, in this case environmental, to work together and achieve change. 

“They’re a place where people can live their ideals,” All said. 

All said that there has been a growing interest in sustainability.

“A lot of people don’t know what that [sustainability] means and how it applies to their daily lives,” he said. 

Laura Goodwin, founding member and chair of Slow Food Bowling Green, was also a speaker at the conference. Goodwin said Slow Food is a growing international movement that aims to preserve the culture of “good” food and is in direction opposition to fast food. 

“We are just trying to provide an opportunity for the public, and students, to become more educated on how they can be on their path to sustainability,” she said. 

Goodwin said she hopes to have provided tools to attendees.

“A lot of people know why we need to do something about becoming more sustainable, or changing the way we’re treating the earth, but not everybody knows how to do that,” Goodwin said.

Apart from being at WKU, the conference also branched out to Corsair Distillery and the Baker Community Garden on Saturday. Ryan said this diversity of topics at each of the locations attributed to the conference’s success. She said Friday served as the day to educate and Saturday was a day to take action.

“I would say it was an amazing success,” she said.