John Turner shared fond memories from his University days, and
said he remembered helping to organize the first Earth Day
activities.

“It all started with T-shirts and pins,” said
Turner, a University alum and the assistant secretary of state for
oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs.

But these days, he faces more pressing issues than T-shirts and
pins.

“Five to six thousand children a day are dying from lack
of sanitation, nearly 40 percent of the world’s population
live on less than two dollars a day and 1.1 billion people lack
safe drinking water. Can we tolerate those conditions out around
the world?” Turner asked.

Turner discussed global sustainability, the use of resources
balanced with preservation, in his lecture yesterday in the Dana
Building.

Sustainability is an integration of economic development, social
enhancement and environmental stewardship. The White House has 20
partnership initiatives, including plans to address the issues of
health care, clean water, fresh water, basic energy and climate
change, said Turner.

“We are engaging with more resources than ever before. I
think it has had an impact on the global community. There are many
issues where the U.S. leads the world,” Turner said.

He said among other conservation efforts, the United States has
recently pledged $48 million toward the largest conservation effort
in Africa’s history, the preservation of the central African
forests. The preservation initiative is part of the Congo Basin
Forest Partnership, which covers 11 landscapes across six
countries, Turner said.

Turner said the government also has initiatives underway
concerning carbon dioxide emissions, which have increased by 14
percent over the past decade, contributing to the greenhouse
effect.

But some students said the Bus administration has failed to put
forth immediate effort that is necessary to protect natural
resources.

“I think a lot about global change because it seems like
in the press there are only two sides of the issue, but really
there is one side,” said LSA student Dan Cantor. “All
the leading scientists say the same thing, that there is definitely
global change and we need to do something about. … We need
to do something right now.”

Another student said the Bush administration needs to address
energy alternatives more intensively.

“I think (The Bush administration) has failed to put
enough emphasis on renewable energy alternatives, (like) wind,
hydrogen, hybrid vehicles. … I’d like to see the
administration look at reports and implement some changes to better
manage and conserve ocean resources.” said SNRE graduate
student Rebecca Nadel.

Another student thought that because environmental policy is not
an important issue to the public, the Bush administration does not
treat it as a top priority.

“It’s not a very salient issue. It’s a 2
percent issue which allows him to do what he wants with it. Most of
his policies pander to big business and sacrifice the environment
for economic success,” said SNRE and Public Policy graduate
student Jose Garcia.

He added that Bush and Democratic presidential candidate John
Kerry share similar positions on the environment and neither of
them has made environmental issues a big enough part of their
campaigns because they are not forefront issues for most
citizens.

“Kerry has kept quiet. I don’t think either
candidate has paid enough attention to the environment,”
Garcia said.

The University also has established a Center for Sustainable
Systems which researches several sustainability systems including
energy-efficient residential buildings and personal transportation,
the U.S.food system, the U.S. energy system, solid waste and
wastewater treatment systems, said Jonathan Bulkley, the
center’s co-director.

“Countries want to emulate our way of life, (and)
conservation of energy is needed for them to raise their life
standard. It’s an issue for all generations to
come.”

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