Friday, May 11, 2012

Experiential Journal: Anthony Cortese on Sustainability

By Joseph Pianese

          The lecture held in Friends Hall on April 12th was very interesting, to say the least. I had never heard of Anthony Cortese or Second Nature before, but it was easy to tell that this was a great organization pretty much right from the start. The way Cortese explained what “sustainability” is really changed my viewpoint on the whole subject. I always thought it was mostly, if not all, about the environment but he explained that it was really about being able to support a growing worldwide population.
          One of the most interesting points for me was when he explained how the human population is now big enough to be the biggest impacting factor on the planet. This alone was enough for me to agree that the issue of sustainability is of utmost importance.
          Another point made was that 25% of the world’s population uses 70% of the world’s resources. In order for the entire world to live like that 25%, it would require 5 planets. This statistic is just astounding. It’s pretty clear that the way the population is currently living is just not sustainable.
          Cortese explained that since the average cost of a gallon of gas is about $4, its really costing about $8-$12 when environmental impact, military intervention, health, military intervention, etc. is taken into account.
Another interesting point was that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico costs money, and that money goes into the national GDP, making it seem like the national well-being is somehow rising when it isn’t. He explained that this type of system is not helping the world to see the true nature of the world’s sustainability.
          Overall, I think it was the best lecture we attended this semester. I definitely learned the most from this lecture, mostly because it was on something I was somewhat familiar about. I hope to see that Second Nature is able to fulfill its goals and that Ramapo College can meet its environmental goals as well.

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