MU Promotes New Kind of Sustainability

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COLUMBIA - University of Missouri organizations are exploring various aspects of sustainability for the second annual Mizzou Sustainability Week.

Events started Monday and run through Friday, highlighting issues such as sustainable science and technology, sustainable business and cultural sustainability.

Sustain Mizzou is one of several organizations holding the events.  Members said cultural sustainability is a new concept to most people, but it is simply taking the ideas and concepts about environmentalism and applying those on a broader scale.

"If we say being sustainable is using building material that will last longer, or using fuel sources that are renewable, then how can we think about that idea in a cultural context? We might be engaging people in a way that makes them feel valued so that they want to continue participating," said Abigail Keel, president of Sustain Mizzou.

Others involved in this week's events said the overall purpose is to reach out to MU students and discuss the concepts behind sustainability so those students are encouraged to adopt sustainable practices long after they graduate. 

"Sustainability touches every part of everyone's life--all the time, essentially. It's the materials that you use. It's how you go about doing things. It's the infrastructure that we have here in Columbia, or in the state," said Ben Datema, advisor for the Environmental Leadership Office. "It is how we treat other people. It has to do with our relationship with nature and the environment, also."

Datema said businesses with a sustainable model can reap economic benefits.

"A lot of the tied ends between the economy and the environment involve money and a lot of the ways that sustainability works in the world, just naturally, will also improve your bottom line," Datema said.

Sustainable business is the theme for Friday's events. To see the event schedule visit the Mizzou Sustainability Week Facebook page.