2005 Renewable Energy Fair: Educational efforts to support sustainable development

Charles Hopkins, an international expert on sustainable development, will provide his perspectives at the fourth annual Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair in August. In 1992, he served as an aide to United Nations Secretary-General Maurice Strong at the Rio de Janeiro Conference on Sustainable Development. Hopkins focused on education.

Irrefutable scientific evidence continues to link seemingly local situations such as excessive reliance on auto and truck transportation to the broad issue of global climate change. Human actions continue to cross delicate ecological thresholds, causing increasingly adverse effects on the global environment.

As these changes occur, the need intensifies to alert both the public and leaders to adopt less environmentally destructive attitudes, behaviors and technologies. Fortunately, an increasing number of citizens are beginning to appreciate the depth of potential danger of human impacts on the planet.

Education is an essential component of any effort to redirect human behavior. It must include formal educational efforts in schools and universities and informal efforts such as the Energy Fair.

As a follow-up to his work at the Rio Conference, Hopkins organized an international network of colleges and universities offering courses and programs focused on environmental and sustainable development topics. Participating countries assess their own needs and create and implement their own environmental and development initiatives. As the network coordinator, Hopkins stays in close contact with more than 40 university programs around the world and has considerable insight into their efforts.

Hopkins’ presentation will place renewable energy and efficiency concepts into the broad plan developed at Rio known as Agenda 21.

From the June 1-7, 2005, issue

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