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Emphasis - March 30

Timothy Collins and Mandi Green
Timothy Collins and Mandi Green

Rich Egger's guests are Mandi Green and Timothy Collins of Western Illinois University. They talk about WIU's 9th Annual Environmental Summit.

Collins, who is Assistant Director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, said there are numerous hot button issues among those who study sustainability, but two in particular stand out.

"Obviously energy is the one people feel the most because gasoline prices are around $4 per gallon," Collins said.

"I think a second one has to do with water - the adequacy and availability of water. This is becoming a global problem."

Green concurred, adding that bottled water generates a great deal of controversy.

"Should we be bottling our most valuable resource and selling it for top dollar? You're not only wasting resources to bottle the water and purify the water, but there is a whole slew of topics surrounding bottled water and water conservation," Green said.

Green, who serves as WIU's Sustainability Coordinator, also said students are showing a greater interest in sustainability issues and practices.

"They're asking for these programs. We've got students asking for different things on campus," Green said. "So I think they are living that way. We just have to a better job of educating them on how they can do that."

The Environmental Summit is free and open to the public. It takes place Wednesday, April 4, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm in the University Union Grand Ballroom. A closing reception will be held from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at the West Central Illinois Arts Center, which is exhibiting art made from recycled materials.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Peter Schwartzman, who is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at Knox College. He will speak at noon.

A summit will also be held on April 3 at the WIU Quad Cities campus. Schwartzman will deliver his keynote speech there at 7:00 pm.


Rich is TSPR's News Director.