5 Speakers Share their Unique Sustainability Perspectives

Monday, December 4, 2017
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Sustainability Roundtable
Sustainability Roundtable

Have you ever wondered what real professionals do for sustainability?

The ASUN Environmental Leadership Program brought five speakers to answer that question at its seventh annual Sustainability Roundtable earlier in November.

Although these five speakers come from very different backgrounds, they all do their part to help the environment.

1. John Hay

John Hay talked about his work involving biological systems engineering outreach. He uses his engineering background to teach the public about sustainable solutions such as windmills and solar panels. His lecture taught students to be observant and educated on every sustainable venture.

“Everyone’s goal is to find the cleanest energy at the lowest cost,” Hay said. “You have to find a balance because there’s no such thing as an ‘impact free’ way.”

Through Hay’s mathematical approach to renewable energy, students learned tips and tricks to finding a better solution.

2. David Hardwood

David Hardwood is a geologist researcher with the ANDRILL Program which drills into polar ice caps to learn more about climate change. The glaciers trap carbon dioxide which when drilled into, gets released and gives information about what the climate was like at that time. Right now, the researchers are able to look into 800,000 years of ice core.

With this data, the researchers can make models that show what happens to temperatures and ice at certain carbon dioxide levels.

“If they can recreate the past,” Hardwood said. “They’re better at predicting the future.”

For now, Hardwood believes the earth can still get back to normal levels and avoid catastrophic measures of glacier melting. Hardwood challenged students to be the force behind this change and continue to innovate solutions.

3. Martha Shulski

Martha Shulski is the director of the Nebraska State Climate Office and a state climatologist. She talked about climate change and the impacts it will have on the environment. She also talked about how we can address the issue.

Shulski ended with some hope that the next generation can fight climate change and reduce its destruction.

4. Jane Kleeb

Jane Kleeb, the head of the Nebraska Democratic Party, spoke about incorporating sustainability with policies. Kleeb showed a video talking about the Keystone XL Pipeline, and then took questions about what students can do to help.

Kleeb founded Bold Nebraska, which works with farmers, ranchers, and Native Americans to stop the pipeline. She works to connect rural and urban issues with politics to help the people.

Kleeb emphasized advocacy within sustainability and how that can be used to make changes.

5. Nash Leef

Nash Leef is only a sophomore at UNL, but he has already taught himself to run an organic farm. Leef runs Bugeater Farm, a farm backed by the Green Fund that aims to be as sustainable as possible, while generating fresh produce for the Lincoln People City Mission.

Leef had never gardened before he got involved but through many books, ideas and volunteers, he succeeded.

“I kept failing until I got it right,” Leef said.

The 1/8-acre farm uses ecology and natural processes. For example, Leef makes guilds, or groups of produce that complement each other to grow by each other. He also uses drip irrigation so the water goes straight to the roots instead of being wasted. This summer, Leef grew over 2000 pounds worth of produce.

“My goal is to leave Earth better than we found it,” Leef said.