ElderCollege to begin three-part Global Sustainability series in Nanoose Bay

First speaker advocates for contraction of economy

Vancouver Island University ElderCollege begins an exploration of Global Sustainability: A Decent Life for All in the Saturday Speakers Series starting Oct. 14.

The college has invited three experts to present the facts, figures, proposals and projections about global sustainability, climate change, and the Paris Agreement.

William Rees, PhD, presents the first lecture, Global Population, Growth & Sustainable Development, on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Rees will present the data on whether people can achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“We are in severe overshoot with a population that has exploded almost five-fold in just over a century,” said Rees. “We are depleting stocks of both renewable and non-renewable resources, and toxic wastes further complicate the ecosystems.”

Rees states climate change is “a waste management problem.” He describes the human race as a “rogue species” with the high intelligence and ability to manipulate materials and energy to very narrow human purposes. He advocates a purposeful “contraction of the economy.”

He said that we have the capacity to be moral beings and to distinguish right from wrong and believes that “it is wrong that we have a planet of plenty where a billion people suffer the ill-nourishment of poverty and another billion are excessively endowed with wealth.”

Rees is a bio-ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning. His early research focused on environmental assessment but gradually extended to the biophysical requirements for sustainability and the implications of global ecological trends.

Rees is perhaps best known as the originator and co-developer (with his graduate students) of ecological footprint analysis— the expanding human eco-footprint is arguably the world’s best-known indicator of the (un)sustainability of techno-industrial society. His book on eco-footprinting (co-authored with his former PhD student, Mathis Wackernagel) has been published in eight languages.

The second presentation in the Saturday Speakers Series will be on Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon and comes from Dale Bent, PhD, who will speak on Global Climate Change & Sustainable Development. Bent s a retired professor of business from the University of Alberta.

The Saturday Speaker Series concludes on Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon with Tom Pedersen, PhD, from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria. He will address The Paris Agreement, Canada’s Plan and Realizing Opportunity.

The Saturday Speakers are open to the general public and are presented at Nanoose Place (2925 Northwest Bay Rd.).

The cost of admission is $10 cash at the door with a $5-discount for university students and free admission for high school students.

ElderCollege is an adjunct program of VIU offering lifelong learning for those who are 50 years of age or better. The VIU ElderCollege program began in 1993 and has more than 800 members. Last year there were 1,700 course registrations in 91 different courses offered on both the Nanaimo and Parksville campuses of VIU.

More information can be obtained by calling 1-866-734-6252 or at www2.viu.ca/eldercollege/index.asp.

— VIU ElderCollege

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