Scholar’s Workshop Focuses on Sustainability
Web Editor - Published: February 5, 2009
“My goal for this book is to reignite a national dialog on sustainability,” stated Distinguished Professor John C. Dernbach as he discussed his new book, Agenda for a Sustainable America, with fellow faculty members on the Harrisburg campus on January 15th, just before the book’s release.

“Sustainable development is based on the premise that the Environment is connected to everything else we care about,” explained Dernbach while describing what led him to make sustainability his scholarly focus. He noted, “Negative environmental impacts compromise security, compromise economic development, and compromise human quality of life. This is not an ideological position, this is an empirical position,” stressing that sustainability development is not just about the environment, but rather that it cuts across all disciplines.

Professor Dernbach shot down old notions about progress being at odds with environmental preservation, declaring, “When we talk about sustainable development, we’re changing what our idea of progress is all about.” He continued by stating, “The end points of sustainable development are human freedom, human quality of life, and human opportunity. They’re the same endpoints as conventional development.” He was unequivocal in explaining that sustainable development is not just about the environment, explaining, “This is not about the environment instead of these other things. This is not about the environment ahead of these other things. This is a structure that changes the way we would do business.”

Throughout his talk, Professor Dernbach took questions from an involved audience, and the discussion covered a wide range of topics, including whether or not America could be a leader on sustainable development given the current economic uncertainties. Other topics covered included renewable energy, the subsidizing of fossil fuels, and climate change.