February 07, 2013

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Anthony Cortese will give the talk, "From Leonardo da Vinci to Higher Education: Lead us on a Healthy, Just and Sustainable Path Now," Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Cortese is a co-founder and senior fellow of Second Nature, the Boston-based advocacy organization committed to promoting sustainability through higher education. He was the organizer of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and the Higher Education Association Sustainability Consortium.

Formerly the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, he was the first Dean of Environmental Programs at Tufts University and founded the award-winning Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute in 1989. He organized the effort that resulted in the internationally acclaimed Talloires Declaration in 1990 signed by more than 350 presidents and chancellors in more than 50 countries.

A trustee of Tufts University and Green Mountain College and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is the author of several essays on education for sustainability.

Cortese explains, "Humanity is at crossroads without historical precedent. Because of the extraordinary and exponential growth of population and the expansive dynamic of industrial capitalism, humans have become pervasive and dominant forces in the health and well being of the earth and its inhabitants. Twenty-five percent of the world's population consumes 70-80 percent of the world's resources.

"Despite all the work society has done on environmental protection, all systems living are in long-term decline and are declining at an increasing rate. We are severely disrupting the stability of the climate which made human progress to date possible and there are huge social, economic and public health challenges worldwide."

Cortese asks, "How will we ensure that current and future humans will be healthy, and live in strong, secure, thriving communities? Marginal improvements to business as usual will not work. We need a transformative shift in the way we think act individually and collectively and higher education must lead the way in our role to provide the knowledge and the educated citizenry for a thriving civil society."

Contact: Division of Communications