Earth Day 2017: 'Green' is simply what we do
Published: April 21, 2017
At Michigan State University, 'green' is simply what we do—but how we do it depends on the Spartan. Whether their passions lie in the sciences, the arts, business or even technology, our students, staff, faculty and researchers continue to use sustainability as a vital tool for improving the world.
This Earth Day, we are celebrating both the differences that make us unique, and the inherent drive common to every Spartan that motivates us to be more considerate of our natural resources, campus and global community. For these Spartans, 'green' might be done differently, but it means the same thing: at MSU, this is our responsibility.
Daniel BerganAssociate Professor in the Department of Communication
Along with Maria Lapinski and Jim Dearing in the Department of Communication, Bergan recently conducted a survey of Michigan residents about the environment and climate change, finding that most people in Michigan prioritize protecting the environment—especially younger people. The survey found that 59% of 18-30 year-olds in Michigan perceive a "high" or "very high" risk from climate change, versus 37% for people over 65.
Emmalena VerellenSenior, Environmental Studies and Sustainability and English
As a senior completing degrees in both English Literature Studies, and Environmental Studies and Sustainability, Verellen recognizes the importance of awareness. To her, it means using sustainability as a lens for evaluating things like purchasing, waste disposal, shopping, etc. By understanding the lifecycle of products and services, she can make more informed decisions and support organizations that responsibly manage the production, sale and disposal of their items. Verellen is celebrating Earth Day, and every day, through consideration of her direct control over consumer tendencies.
Jack LiuDirector of MSU's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability
As the Director of MSU's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Liu has been involved in Giant Panda research for two decades, contributing to the removal of Giant Pandas from the Endangered Species list, as well as improving the quality of life for people living in the pandas' habitat. Liu's success, in part, has come from his use of telecouplings, or the study of socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances. Whether through payments to local individuals for habitat conservation, or selling agricultural products from rural areas to cities, his research in telecouplings has helped encourage achievement of global sustainability by involving community members in the conservation of wildlife.
Paulette StenzelProfessor of International Business Law and Sustainability
As a professor in international business law, Stenzel uses her passion for sustainability to help students who are traditionally business-minded understand their impact, using the Triple Bottom Line as a core guiding principle. She regularly challenges her students to learn and reflect on problems they have heard about but have not studied in depth, including climate change, the Great Pacific garbage patch, the effects of fracking and more. Stenzel also encourages students to get involved through several sustainable outlets, such as purchasing Fair Trade and direct trade products, participating in local production and purchasing, or participating in a microfinance program such as MSU's student-led Spartan Global Development Fund.
Learn more about Dr. Stenzel's work, research and passions: www.mariposapaulette.com
Rex LaMoreDirector, MSU Center for Economic and Community Development; Professor in MSU's Urban and Regional Planning program
LaMore's research, coined "domicology," refers to the study of the economic, social and environmental factors relating to the "life cycle" of structures. He aims to address one of the core issues of structural abandonment by embracing tools, models, policies and practices that consider the end of life of a structure, and find ways to maximize the leftover materials once they have served their initial purpose. Ultimately, LaMore is hopeful that this holistic approach will help reduce the demand for ever decreasing raw materials and minimize the negative social, economic and environmental impacts associated with blight and abandonment in communities.
Carter HelinskiJunior, Environmental Studies and Sustainability
Helinski has always held a core passion for climate change and wildlife conservation, specifically looking at the human-wildlife relationships that impact ecosystems across the world. Through his studies at MSU, he is exploring his personal responsibility to reduce the human impact on the global climate and do his part to preserve the planet for future generations.