October 09, 2008
Higher education has opportunities to help build a sustainable society in three areas, according to author and biologist Sandra Steingraber, speaking October 8 at Knox College.
In addition to serving as "incubators for new ideas," such as sustainability, colleges can contribute in curriculum, student activism and institutional practices, Steingraber said in a campus lecture sponsored by Knox's Presidential Task Force on Sustainability.
Also critical of United States government regulations of toxic chemicals, Steingraber said the U.S. should follow the European model, where the suspicion of biological hazard is enough to pull a chemical from the market. Currently a scholar in residence at Ithaca College, Steingraber is a native of central Illinois who has written extensively on environmental health.
Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 48 states and 42 nations. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.
"We're in the midst of an ecological crisis and an economic crisis... when you erode diversity, you create fragility... if you have fewer banks, likewise when you wipe out species, the system is more prone to collapse..." Sandra Steingraber at Knox College; below, greeting students at a post-lecture book signing.