chapter  1
12 Pages

Can Universities Contribute to Sustainable Development?

Going to a conference away from home is an exercise in unsustainability. The trip

to and from the airport usually requires a car or taxi ride, single occupancy. The

flight contributes to global warming and is a microcosm of class structure: first,

business, and economy. The crowded highways traversed are multilane, having

devoured green space and fertile farmland. Often they are lined with factories

or the headquarters of corporations responsible for the manufacturing of the

“excessities” that symbolize our modern age and the billboards that urge us to

buy more. And these excessities are unequally distributed. The highways to and

from the airport are often bordered with urban blight. The occupants of these

neighborhoods suffer noise, air pollution, and other social ills not found in the

suburbs. This view of the landscape often goes unnoticed because of its familiarity

and because the traveler’s thoughts are elsewhere. This view of the world is not

what we want for our children, our grandchildren, and ourselves.