Creating a Livable Planet

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Moments of Change: Creating a Livable Planet


The College of the Liberal Arts has chosen the theme for its next offering in its Moments of Change initiative—an undertaking that brings students, faculty, staff, and alumni together to explore what it means to live through historic and contemporary times of change. This academic year's theme, Moments of Change: Creating a Livable Planet, will focus on the many aspects of sustainability and highlight the ongoing work of the Liberal Arts Sustainability Council, students, faculty, and staff in that regard. Similar to "Remembering 1968" (2018) and "A Century of Women's Activism" (2020), the college will plan an array of courses, lectures, presentations, and events centered around the "Creating a Livable Planet" theme.

Like its predecessors, this theme was chosen because of the timeliness of the issue. It is not enough to act—we must act now. Delayed efforts to mitigate the problems will have negative, and potentially irreversible, consequences for global warming, rising sea levels, food security, and public health. By addressing these issues, we can create a better world for future generations.

The Liberal Arts Sustainability Council is working towards integrating sustainability into our educational, research, and service pursuits. Learn about sustainability in the College of the Liberal Arts.

What is sustainability?

Adapted from the Penn State Sustainability Institute

There are many definitions of sustainability. In fact, sustainability can mean different things to different people. For many years, the term "sustainability" equated in some people's minds with environmentalism—people working to protect the planet from pollution, litter, and chemicals while trying to recycle and reduce their overall footprint on the planet.

While the environment is an important facet in sustainability, it is not the only facet.

Penn State sees sustainability as starting with people. The goal of sustainability is to create a holistic approach to human health, economy, and happiness. A stable and clean environment is an important part of that vision, but so, too, are issues like ending poverty, creating dynamic community infrastructure, and guaranteeing gender equity. Only with all of these components can we guarantee a sustainable future for all people.

Penn State has adopted the following as its formal definition of sustainability:

Sustainability is the simultaneous pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for current and future generations.

With that definition in mind, the College of the Liberal Arts will plan programming focused on topics like economic, racial, and gender equity and responsible labor practices.

Learn more about Penn State's sustainability efforts.


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