Wednesday Nov 27, 2019
Wednesday Nov 27, 2019
On this Find Your Sustain Ability, Appalachian's chief sustainability officer, Dr. Lee F. Ball, welcomes who he calls “one of the country’s foremost leaders in renewable energy and energy efficiency” — Amory Lovins. Lovins is chairman emeritus and chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a nonprofit with a mission to “transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous and secure low-carbon future.”
Announcer: Define sustainability. Odds are your definition is completely different from the next person's. Appalachian State University's director of sustainability, Dr. Lee Ball, sits down with his guest to explore the many ways in which sustainability affects our lives. This is Find Your Sustain Ability.
Lee Ball: Welcome everyone. My name is Lee Ball and I am your host of Find Your Sustain Ability. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with The Rocky Mountain Institute's chief scientist Amory Lovins. We've had the pleasure of knowing Amory Lovins for the past eight years through our relationship with The Rocky mountain Institute. Amory Lovins is one of the country's foremost leaders in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We sat down with him to talk about potential challenges and solutions in renewable energy and I hope you enjoy the podcast.
LB: So we're here today with Amory Lovins. Amory, thank you so much for taking your time to come to Appalachia State and to join me on my podcast that we call Find Your Sustain Ability.
Amory Lovins: Nice title. Thanks for having me.
LB: So what's keeping you busy these days? Are you still traveling a lot?
AL: Yeah. I'm just back from almost a month travel in East Asia and West Asia. And working on some interesting bits of research. One is on how to save most of the cement and steel and other energy-intensive materials we use. And another's how to make an integrative design the general practice instead of rare. That means you're designing buildings, vehicles, factories, as whole systems rather than as a pile of parts. And if you make the parts work together rather than against each other, you get several fold bigger energy savings at a lot lower cost. So I'd like to make that come out of the water faucets.
LB: So that reminds me of what Wendell Berry used to call solving for pattern.
AL: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Same idea. And in fact, I love Wendell and his work. And I use that concept all the time. If I want to help you design a car better, I might talk about my house, where I grow bananas up in the Rockies, down to minus 47 F with no furnace. But it's cheaper to build that way because I save more construction cost leaving out the heating system than I pay extra for the stuff that gets rid of the heating system.
AL: So if you wanted to design a really good car, we take out a lot of weight and then you need less propulsion system to haul it around. And that gets cheaper and pays for the lightweighting. In fact, I a car that does that, it's a carbon fiber electric car. And people thought carbon fiber costs too much, but guess what? It's paid for by needing fewer batteries. And then they recharge faster and everything gets better.
LB: So Amory, you've often mentioned that we have, a lot of the technologies that we need, you refer to them as off-the-shelf technologies. Can you speak a little bit about that?
AL: Yeah. The technologies we had in 2010 were enough to save three quarters of our electricity at about a 10th the cost we pay for it. Most of the rest of the energy we use, a lot cheaper than buying it. And that technology keeps improving. Although actually what's improving even faster is design, the way we choose and combine technologies.
AL: So give you a little example from big office buildings. In 2010, when we led the retrofit of the Empire State Building, we saved 38% of the energy. They'd already saved some. And that paid for itself in three years and that was thought pretty good at the time. But then three years later, in a big federal complex in Denver, we saved 70% cost effectively and made that half-century-old difficult building more efficient than what was then the best new office in the country. Which in turn is only half as efficient as our new office. And now there's a German building using three fifths less energy than ours. This isn't because a lot of whizzbang new technologies got invented. It's because we got better at picking which ones to use and how to put them together in what order and matter and proportions, like a good recipe.
LB: So integrated design played a strong role in that, I assume?
AL: Yes. And it's starting to get pretty widely known that you can do that with buildings of all kinds. What is not so obvious is you can do the same thing in vehicles like my 124 mile-a-gallon equivalent car. Or in industry where we get much bigger, cheaper savings than other practitioners. And part of that is because we're redesigning the process and equipment in a holistic way.
AL: We're not just looking at the different parts of it separately. Part also is because we're picking up some big savings that had been overlooked. For example, three fifths of the world's electricity runs motors. They're mainly in industry, the rest in buildings. And half the motor power is to run pumps and fans, to move things like air and water around through pipes and ducts.
AL: Now it turns out if you make the pipes and ducts, which people hadn't paid that much attention to, fat, short, and straight, rather than the normal skinny, long, and crooked, you can cut the friction 80 or 90%. Therefore the energy used by the fans and pumps and the size of the fans and pumps and the motors that run them. And that makes the capital cost lower. But the energy savings are so big that if everybody did this around the world, hypothetically, you would save about a fifth of the world's electricity. That's half the coal fired electricity.
AL: And we find an industry, you typically get your money back by doing this in less than a year if you're fixing up an old factory or instantly if you're making a new one. So why isn't this generally done? Well, for starters, it's not in any engineering textbook, with a tiny exception from our buddies in Australia. It's not in any government study, industry forecast, climate model. Why not? Because it's not a technology, it's a design method. And people don't normally think of design as a way to make things go big, fast.
LB: Yeah, I'm intrigued by the gestalt theory that talks about the sum of the parts being greater than the whole.
AL: Aristotle said that a long time ago.
LB: Yeah, and that, the greater part really intrigues me. I just spent the last, I spent three days this week with Janine Benyus from Biomimicry 3.8 and she said to say hello, by the way.
AL: Lucky you.
LB: I've told her that I was going to be with you. And we were focusing on the notion of generous design. Her work is really trying to figure out how, through design like you were just mentioning, we can be generous and abundant with the built environment. What are your thoughts on that?
AL: Well, as usual, she's absolutely on target. Buildings ought to create delight when entered and satisfaction, health, happiness, productivity when occupied. Regret when departed. They ought to look like they grew there. They ought to, Dre Anderson said, "Take nothing, waste nothing, do no harm." And we're figuring out how to do this by losing some old ideas. That's the hard part. So you can have new ideas to go in their place.
AL: Of course a lot of traditional architecture already did all this. We just forgot and we got too specialized. We chopped it up so that it wasn't all in one head anymore. Now we even have different architects for the inside and outside of the building. And then a gaggle of engineers and specialists each doing one little part of it. So of course they don't work together properly.
AL: But as we learn to put the parts back together again into an integrated whole, guess what? The building gets a lot better and simpler and cheaper and works better. Once you're in it, it's kind of like magic. You instantly realize you're in a different kind of building that you'd normally have to endure.
LB: I felt like that when I was at your headquarters in Colorado.
AL: Yeah. Wandering through the banana jungle.
LB: Right, right, and in your house.
AL: Yeah, we're on crop 76 right now. And I got guavas coming out and we're about to harvest some limes and babacos.
LB: I mean your house, especially, is an example of just off-the-shelf technology.
AL: Yeah, a 1983 state of the shelf. Although we've improved windows and other things some more since then as they evolve. Yeah, there's nothing exotic in there. What's more important is what we left out. Furnace, ducts, fans, pipes, pumps, wires, controls, fuel supply arrangements. We don't burn stuff. That's so 20th century.
LB: So let me ask you a question about the electrification of all things. Are you finding that we're making some headway or are we going in the right direction?
AL: Yes. Although it's not quite all things. There's a lot of industrial heat, for example, that will work better with direct renewable heat. And also don't forget about hydrogen. And maybe for marine shipping, ammonia is a good alternative fuel as well with no carbon. And you can make the hydrogen out of renewable electricity now that it's getting so ridiculously cheap. So you don't need to reform it from natural gas and put carbon in the air.
AL: But most functions should be indeed electrified. That's going well. And in fact, Britain and Holland, both of which had big conversions to natural gas decades ago when they discovered a bunch off shore there, they're now going back the other way and switching off natural gas. Berkeley was just the first city in the US to stop new gas hookups and say we're going to convert off gas.
AL: It's good for a lot of reasons to do that. Indoor air quality, safety, public health, especially as our old infrastructure deteriorates. And also climate. And it's not just burning the gas but all the methane that dribbles out all the way from the wellhead to the pipes in your walls that we're never going to tear the walls apart to get at and fix.
AL: And in fact, I was just with one of the ministers in an Asian country who said, "In our country, we got really rugged topography. And when we build houses like this 5 million new house program we're just starting, it's very expensive to run that gas pipe over all this rough country alongside the electricity. If you're saying we can make the buildings really efficient so it's economical and attractive to do it with just electricity and maybe make that right on the roof, heck, we can stop piping the gas, save a whole lot of money and put that into paying for the efficiency." That's a great idea.
LB: So speaking of efficiency, I mean those of us that have been studying building science and the built environment realize the importance of energy efficiency. Again, off-the-shelf technology, improving technologies, or making it easier and easier for us to save energy in our wall systems and floor system and roof systems. Why do you think that we are still, after all these years, challenged with barriers to people accepting that it's wise and prudent to make deep investments in energy efficiency?
AL: Force of habit. Probably not having experienced what a great building can be. A lot of people find it more comfortable just to do what they're good at and have done for a long time rather than doing something different. There's a lot of human nature like that. But our species is also got where it is by adapting to new needs, taking up new challenges, having new ideas, getting rid of some old ideas that served us well but they're not right anymore.
AL: And the word is spreading. And I think market competition will do a lot of that job for us. I remember when people started building early super insulated and often passive solar houses in cold places like say Montana. It seemed a pretty weird idea until one developer said, "You buy my house, I'll pay the utilities the first five years, no questions asked." And he soon had a waiting list from three counties away.
AL: There's a developer in Palatine, Illinois, Perry Bigelow, who built roughly a thousand tight and well insulated, ordinary stick built houses. And every year, if you send him your utility bills, you'd be entered in a drawing to get a free vacation in the islands in the winter. But he would then go over the bills and whoever had the lowest bills would get a prize of some value. And his deal was that, depending on how big your house was, he would cap your energy bills at 50 or a hundred or $200 a year. And he only had to pay up twice when somebody probably left the door open all winter or something like that.
AL: And his houses sold very well and people were delighted with them. Well of course now there's hundreds of thousands of passive houses in Europe. It's spreading all over the world, including the US. They are so much healthier and nicer to be in. There's no drafts. You'll always feel comfortable. And you don't really care if the electric or gas system outside fails because your house will work normally anyway.
LB: It seems like we've become complacent and almost comfortable being uncomfortable in the built environment and just assume that that's the way it always has been and the way it is inside of our buildings.
AL: Well. That's why it's quite a eyeopener for people to experience a good building and why it's important for anybody that doesn't know why this is a wonderful opportunity for them and for this whole society to go visit some great buildings. First 10 years we were in our banana farm near Aspen, we had over 100,000 visitors and we probably had about as many against since then.
LB: Wow. So you often talk about beginner's mind, and I'm always fascinated to hear you speak about beginner's mind and what that is and the advantages of it. Can you speak to that a little bit?
AL: Yeah. There's a long tradition in many Asian cultures about don't forget original mind. Sometimes it's called child mind, beginner's mind, and it's a state in which you're not captive to your assumptions and preconceptions. It's like a clean slate and you can actually see what is and have new ideas without there having to displace old ones first.
AL: There's a famous old story about this, about a Zen master named Nanin who received one day and imperious visitor, accounts differ whether it was a businessman or a government official, who insisted on being taught Zen. So Nanin smiled and poured tea and kept pouring, and kept pouring, and the tea overflowed the cup and spilled on the table and onto the visitors robes. The visitor got quite agitated. He said, "Stop, stop. Don't you see it's full? No more will go in." And Nanin stopped pouring and said, "Well, you come here wanting to learn Zen. How can you learn unless you have first emptied your cup?"
LB: Awesome. That's great. So I've noticed that you, when we visited RMI in Basalt, you had a lot of millennials and young people working on your team. Is that one of the reasons? Having that beginner mind? Less experience?
AL: Yeah. But wonderful talent. We're so blessed with the people that we've managed to attract. Many are young, with all of the advantages of not knowing too much about how things are supposed to be done. And they often have wonderfully original ideas. So I think that's one of the keys to our success.
LB: but we can cultivate that, too, no matter how old we are, right?
LB: Just by studying a new discipline or topic that we're not familiar with.
AL: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And being quite disciplined about asking as you learn something new, okay, how does that fit with what I thought I knew? Is it contradicting something that now it's time to lay to rest and go with the new better understanding? Also, we tend to be unduly influenced by these artificial boundaries and barriers that come out of academic tribalism.
AL: I dropped out of two great universities that wanted me to specialize too much. And the specialization of course was in academic departments, but in disciplines and categories that are artificial. They don't really exist. Knowledge is seamless and boundless and boundaryless. So I encourage students to jump the fences, walk on the grass, learn anything you think you need. And if your advisor raises eyebrows looking at your course of study and says, "I don't see how this relates to that," you're probably on the right track.
AL: And I think, well, if you want to read more about that, you can search online for an article called Wonder in the Bewilderness, which is a little essay I did for Harvard Magazine. That's one of the places I dropped out of. And they asked Bill Gates and me and one other dropout and seven graduates what were our hopes for this university when it got to be 400 years old?
AL: And my hope was that anybody, at any level, anywhere in the university, could study anything they want. After all, it's a university, isn't it? Well, the administrators didn't see it that way. And in my time, would have been class of '64, that's 1964, they said, "Well, we can't really let you study anything you want because most of the time when we've let people do that, it's worked out badly. So we have to protect you from your exuberantly transdisciplinary impulses." I said, "I don't see why. It's my time and my money. They're both scarce resources. I'm willing to take the risk. Why won't you let me do that?" And they weren't very helpful. So I left for Oxford.
LB: Well we've been imagining how to create such an environment here that is truly transdisciplinary and collaborative in nature. Some of us are calling it The Unsiloed Project, really to be incentivized also to work together.
AL: Yeah, well, Lee, this was popping up in a lot more places. I ran into the president recently of a Midwestern liberal arts college and his dream is that one day, a nice sunny day, he calls all the faculty out onto the big lawn in front of the academic buildings and says, "As of this moment, your departments are abolished. Mix, talk to each other, and figure out stuff you have juice for doing together. And I'll be sitting here. And when you have a team together, come on up and we'll write down who's on your team and what you want to do together. And the more departments you come from, the higher priority I'm going to give you at budget time."
AL: I don't know if he's done it yet, but I thought it was a really neat idea.
LB: Very, very, very great idea. I would love to do the same thing here. Let me ask you one more question because I know you're busy and we've got a big day ahead of us. What are you excited about in your work that really gives you hope for the future?
AL: Well I do live and work in a spirit we call applied hope, which is not mere theoretical hope or glandular optimism because it comes from doing each day what it takes to create a world that's worth being hopeful about. If you want to know about that, go to rmi.org, search on Berkeley, and you'll find my talk on applied hope for commencement.
AL: I am interested in a lot of things, as you may gather. But I think the next big thing I want to really make happen is integrative design. Because it makes energy efficiency as a resource several fold bigger and cheaper than had been thought and often gives it increasing returns. Just like modern renewable energy, the more you buy, the cheaper it gets so you buy more so it gets cheaper. And that makes it a runaway winner. Of course, there are many important things to do besides energy efficiency, but that's kind of a master key to many, many other problems in the world. And it has analogies in water efficiency and many other kinds of efficiency. Just bringing more work out of the resources we have so we can take less, waste less, pay less, and live better.
LB: Great. Well, Amory Lovins, thank you so much for joining me on today's podcast. We look forward to hearing your remarks during the Appalachia Energy Summit this evening. And that's a wrap.
AL: Thank you.
Wednesday Oct 09, 2019
Wednesday Oct 09, 2019
Before most people even knew what the S-word was all about, David Orr was pioneering the field of sustainability education. His groundbreaking work in the '90s led to the construction of one of the greenest buildings in North America. On this podcast, Orr discusses The Oberlin Project's mission to reduce carbon emissions and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development. He also shares his thoughts on sustainability politics and what he calls a "dramatic shift" in our capacity to protect the environment.
Intro: Define sustainability. Odds are your definition is completely different from the next person's. Appalachian State University's Director of Sustainability, Dr. Lee Ball, sits down with his guest to explore the many ways in which sustainability affects our lives. This is Find Your Sustain Ability.
Lee Ball: Welcome, everybody. I am Lee Ball, and I'm your host of Find Your Sustain Ability. Today's podcast is a conversation that I had with David Orr. David Orr is Emeritus faculty at Oberlin College. And David is one of the country's foremost leaders in sustainability education. David pioneered the field of sustainability education before most people even knew what the "S" word was even about. Because of David's insights and his deep perspective on campus sustainability and political science and the politics of sustainability, we've asked him to join us in our podcast today. And I hope you enjoy it.
Lee Ball: David Orr, thank you so much for coming back to Boone and joining me in our podcast. We call this Find Your Sustain Ability.
David Orr: Well, thanks for having me. This is a great place to be. And your work is really great. So thanks to you for doing what you're doing.
Lee Ball: Yeah. This is your eighth Appalachian Energy Summit that you've attended. And we're extremely lucky to have you to be a part of the Appalachian family. Again, thank you for taking the journey from Oberlin, Ohio down to Boone.
David Orr: Well, Lee, thank you for all the leadership and the work that you do here and the excitement and creation of alternatives within higher education. That's critically important. And you're carrying that on, so thanks to you.
Lee Ball: You're welcome. I understand you have some family in the area?
David Orr: We do. My roots of both my mother and father's family go back in North Carolina for two centuries. And mostly dirt farmers and hell raisers around Charlotte. I think they're part of the Mecklenburg crowd back in the 17 whatever it was, but yeah, North Carolinian by lineage. Yeah.
Lee Ball: Yeah. That's fantastic. So having a sense of our place is so important to the work that we do. I know that you feel the same, especially with your work in Oberlin and the Oberlin Project. I know that that place is a big part of what you focus on.
David Orr: Oberlin is interesting. Like Boone and Appalachian State, there's a legacy that builds up over the years. And in the case of Oberlin, it was the first college to accept African Americans and women and graduate them. That goes back into the 1830s. That was part of the DNA of the institution. It wasn't as wonderful as it sounds. There were real conflicts. The board votes to accept African-Americans were close calls, but it happened. And it marked the institution and it's carried that commitment into the present.
David Orr: What we tried to do in the past, in my roughly 30 years in town, most of that, 27 years on the faculty or in the administration, is to begin to broaden that sense of commitment to include environment. What good is a great college if you don't have a decent planet to put it on, to paraphrase Thoreau. That's been our attempt to see environment and climate and energy issues as flip sides of a coin that involve equity, fairness, decency and justice. That's the role. But Oberlin has been a great place to live because of that commitment.
Lee Ball: What do you think was special about Oberlin to create a space where there was tolerance and more acceptance than other places?
David Orr: Well, I think part of it is simply the legacy, the history of the place. Having African Americans and women there, they mixed in the student body and became a... You knew people. And they were friends and they were classmates and so forth. I think over the years it broke down this barrier that had begun a long time ago. Slavery and racism are separate kinds of issues as part of the darker legacy of the United States. They're not the same thing.
David Orr: Racism was a different thing than simply slavery. It was a denigration of the personhood. That breaks down in situations where you know people. They're your neighbors, they're your friends, they're your roommate down the hall. I think it was that personal contact. It's harder to be a racist if you know African Americans or Asian Americans or Native Americans. I think it was just the years of contact plus the institutional commitment to work at that level.
Lee Ball: How do you think that contributed to Oberlin being a campus that also focuses on the environment and cultivating a citizenry that cares about the environment?
David Orr: It's a great question. In the case of Oberlin, the environmental studies program that I chaired from 1990 off and on until I retired, it was started by a group of students in the January term back in 1979 or 1980, long before I got there. It was a student-led initiative that drove the program. When I went there, what I did, the college had no facilities, capital plant for environmental studies. And I got permission to build an environmental studies center. That was at the start of the green building movement was beginning.
David Orr: Sim Van der Ryn's work in California and other people, John Lyle's work in Southern California. There were people beginning to ask these kinds of questions about the built environment. So we organized an effort. I had to go raise money independent of the college to fund it. It was about a roughly seven and a half million dollar project. We eventually raised over 10 for it. But the result was an initiative that was very environmental. It was the first substantially green building on a US college campus.
David Orr: It still generates, thanks in part to the App State alum, Sean Hayes. It still generates more energy than it uses by a large margin. It's 40 to 50% more every year than it actually uses from solar energy. But we made that an environmental class project. Had about 250 students work on that project along with a great design team that include Amory Lovins, and RMI, and people from NASA and The Bill McDonough Firm and Carol Franklin's landscape architecture firm.
David Orr: So we put together an incredible group of people who were thinking about design in the '90s with students. And that was one of the requirements. And so what happened was, at a scale you can get your head around, this is a 14,200 square foot building powered entirely by sunshine. No toxic materials in the building and so forth. It was a Platinum building before there was a rating system. But what that did was to give us something tangible.
David Orr: You can see it. And we're visual creatures. Something like 80% of our sensory apparatus is in our eyes. So we privilege what we see. And all of a sudden green design was you something you see. It's the, oh that building over there. And Oh by the way, it's powered entirely by sunshine. And that's in a state where sunshine is still kind of a theory. It's cloudy in terms of degree days and so forth as say the city of Seattle. But you can do it. It's a zero discharge building. There's no waste product comes in. It's drinking water in, drinking water out.
David Orr: So what we did was to take the state of the art at that time in the '90s, pulled together an incredible design team at that point. That was the A team of ecological design in the US and probably the world. We put that together and with students and it became a learning project.
David Orr: So one of the things I've always worried about is kids in this age bracket. Well actually from like five years to PhD, what they see is a world coming undone. And whether it's climate change or species extinction, ocean acidification, or soil loss or whatever, they're looking at these graphs that go up sharply or down sharply and they see their future disintegrating.
David Orr: But if you reduce the scale to something the size of a building, you can get your head around that. And you put them to work doing material safety data sheets, all this stuff about toxicity or climate or the technological possibilities. And it turned out that even in the '90s, so as we were in a process designing this building, yeah, you could design entirely solar-powered buildings in a place where sunshine was a theory. Dark, cloudy places a good bit at the time.
David Orr: So the last project before I retired in November of 2017 was a solar-powered hotel. The college has a 105,000 square foot hotel conference center with commercial space and a jazz club and so forth entirely powered by sunshine. It's an off-site array about a quarter of a mile distant. But it is rated as a USGBC Platinum building.
David Orr: And so what we did was to make what is possible visible. In both cases. The hotel project is lacking only the final touch, Maya Lin, a great designer, is doing the landscape design as one of three projects in the hotel and around the hotel. So I think making these things as you've done here, I mean what you do at Appalachian State, you galvanized a lot of this throughout the state at other institutions in this state's system. And making these things visible, it's the normal thing to do and it's the easy thing to do. That's the challenge.
David Orr: So that takes your real quickly into politics. You have to change the regulations, you have to get a lot of stuff out of the way to make what is the right thing to do and the economically smart thing to do and the ethically just thing to do. You have to make that easy to do.
Lee Ball: Well, we really appreciate your leadership with those projects. I mean, you were so ahead of your time in the '90s. And we, I mean really many of us were struggling to do these very things today. And another thing that impresses me is the fact that in in the '90s, you imagined a building that was beyond net zero. As net positive. And so it's a generous building. And that's how we need to be thinking today. I know it wasn't easy and it took a lot of brain power. But we like to say it's not rocket science, it's building science. We had the tools, it just took some leadership to get it done, on your part and the institution's part, and I'm sure you're board.
David Orr: Truth be told, this was really a collective collaborative project. We had an incredible design team. We had 22 different firms and organizations working on the design. We had a group of great students. What you're doing, or what we were doing in that, what you do here, is it's partly internal education. So the buildings are educational that you do. They're designed to be pedagogical instruments, to use that awkward word. But as teaching tools. They're designed to stretch kids sense of what is possible. Their are ecological imagination and possibilities that extend past the the current generation.
David Orr: And then internally what you're also doing here and what we were doing there and on every campus is trying to educate a board and administration. Here is the right way to do this, these kinds of things. And it's sometimes hard for them because they have fiscal responsibilities that are tough. They've got to make sure the payroll is met every month and so forth. And the endowment is sound and the number of students come in. Colleges and universities are not easy places to run. And in places like you ... People like you and me come in and say, "Hey, well you could do this a little bit better," and so forth, it takes a bit to get open minded administrators willing to risk a little bit of their career.
David Orr: But the right thing to do here is also the smart thing, economically, to do. I mean that's been one of the gifts that Amory Lovins has given us to understand that this is not only something you should do, but it's also something that is the smart thing to do. So there's this historic convergence of these two things that humans have to reckon with. What's the short-term smart and long-term smart and so forth.
David Orr: And one of the things that came through in our building, which I think was very useful, was to say we want to design so well and so artfully that we cause no injustice upstream, both human and ecological, or downstream. And so you're talking about a different kind of building. If we're just seeing the building in this larger context of the flow of materials and energy from source to eventual consequence. But that was educational for the board. And it was interesting. The Lewis Center was occupied January of 2000. When it came time to do the hotel project, the board just assumed, oh, it would have a living machine. And they just assumed it would be solar powered. So the the needle had moved in terms of board aspirations and what they thought was possible to do.
Lee Ball: Right. So in a sense what you've done with the Environmental Center has created another faculty member, a colleague in the building that you've been able to have on staff for all these years. And you continue to learn from and the students and everyone that's researching that space will be learning from that built environment until it's not there anymore.
David Orr: That's a great way to put it. I hadn't thought of it in that term, but that's a great way to put it. And one that can't go on strike or cause trouble unless you maintain it. Yeah.
Lee Ball: Exactly. I'd like to ask you a personal question, David. What's your earliest memory of the natural environment?
David Orr: Oh wow. Well I was born in Des Moines, Iowa. So my earliest memories are as a kid up to age five, were snow storms and Iowa heat and so forth. I think the earliest memories I have pertinent to this conversation are growing up in Western Pennsylvania. My dad was president of a college in a town called New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. A beautiful rolling country, Amish country, rolling hills. And then he had a place up on the Allegheny River, about a mile back from the river in a deep hemlock forest. And beautiful rock formations. And it had been occupied and cut over in part, but this was still a virgin portion of that forest. Never been cut.
David Orr: And so long before I could articulate anything environmental, there was this kind of biophilic sense growing. And the smells of the hemlock forest and the mosses and the waters and so forth. That became embedded pretty quickly. So for me, when we were there, which was a good bit of the summer times, and actually a good bit of the year all around, the day was out in the woods playing. And that play time was really critically important. And so trying to take that forward, I think that's an important part of this whole movement of ecological design. To build contact points between young people, all people, but certainly at the younger ages, and the natural world. Whether it's city parks or river walks or whatever.
David Orr: And I think one of the great inspiring things for me is the rise of biophilic cities where this becomes part of the way cities are designed. And then again, there's this convergence of what's the right thing to do, which is to associate young people with nature in the world in which they grew up. And then the smart thing to do because you find that property values go up where there are trees and green spaces and so forth.
David Orr: So this, I think the environment represents this historic convergence of two things that humans always wrestled with. What's the smart thing to do and what's the right thing to do? It turns out in this case they're often the same thing. But for me, that started early in in life at ages five, six, seven, eight and never went away. And later when I read, when I went to graduate school and I read people like Rachel Carson and Aldo Leopold and folks like that. You had this sense that I though that, but I never said that. And the sense of being part of the natural world, not apart from it, but part of the natural world.
Lee Ball: That's what I love about biophilic design. It really kind of thrusts us together with the natural world. I mean, we're natural beings and many of us have been disconnected in urban environments and even suburban environments. And when you design with nature in mind, there really is no disconnect. And we crave as human beings, as animals, we crave our connection back to nature. And I feel fortunate like you to have grown up in the woods and have been surrounded by the natural world. I feel very lucky in it.
Lee Ball: I'm always curious about people like us, why did we come to this work? And so that's another question I have for you is was there a time that you realized that you wanted to dedicate your career towards helping make the world a better place?
David Orr: I think I was part of the Vietnam generation and was in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania in the Political Science Department. But Ian McHarg, great landscape architect who wrote Design with Nature, came out first in 1969. And we just had a 50th anniversary of the publication of that book at the University of Pennsylvania. And McHarg was one of these larger than life people who changed the way we see our methods of inhabiting the land.
David Orr: And it was biophilic long before there was, E.O. Wilson had coined that word and made it popular. I think that's really where it started. But I was at this point where I would go around a campus and find the best teachers around at Penn. And there were a lot of them at the University of Pennsylvania. Renny Deuvose from Rockefeller University was a regular lecturer and Lauren [Isley 00:17:38] was on the campus at that time.
David Orr: I would sit in on lectures of some of these people. And it began to galvanize a sense of what I wanted to do in the world like putting a compass on the table. It told me which way was magnetic north, but it wasn't an itinerary. It wasn't a map. I didn't have a career plan. I had a career direction.
David Orr: And the other part of this was in a politics department at Penn. I began to read people like William Ophuls' writings and Herman Daly, the economist, and so forth. And began to see that everything environmental really is political. If you go into the politics department ask what is political? They say it has to do with who gets what, when, and how. And if the what involves air and water and land and fossil fuels and wildlife diversity and so forth, then you begin to see this is really all political. Which just for me is a segue into current work in democracy. And we're witnessing the decay of democratic institutions and rapid collapse of these in Europe and Hungary and Poland and possibly Germany and France and England and now in the United States.
David Orr: We thought that would never happen, but it is happening. And so one of the fundamental challenges going forward is to understand ... And this is not an argument for conservatism or liberalism, it's simply to say that these are political issues. And if we value the role of democracy, the public engagement in the public business, then we have to begin to understand the ways in which environment plays out politically.
David Orr: And this has a lot of nuts and bolts issues to moral issues. And the nuts and bolts level, the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, was created in 1969 out of a hodgepodge of other federal agencies that didn't fit very well together. But there was no, what was called an organic statue. A law that said this is what the agency does and anchored it to a specific set of purposes. And so the EPA blows in a winds, the political winds, so a hardcore left-wing person comes in and does this and Trump comes in and does this.
David Orr: We're witnessing a shift in our capacity to protect the environment that is dramatic. The pull back from Paris Accords was probably the most visible thing that the Trump administration has done. But this gets into politics. It need not be conservative or liberal because you can be either one and be a very good environmentalist. Back in our history, Teddy Roosevelt and people like Nat Reed in the Interior Department were staunch Republicans but really good on environment.
David Orr: And so you can use the market, you can use political instruments, but the market always exists within a political context. So what happens in our politics affects a good bit of what happens in the market. Markets are where we say I, me, and mine, but politics are we say we, and us, and ours. And that pronoun works out a decidedly different way to do things. But again, they're not opposing things. They're flip sides of the same coin.
David Orr: So back on the question, what I began to see was how do we adjudicate the human role in the natural world? And the sense that we ought to is the biophilic sense. The sense of how do we do this involves politics and markets and ethics and so forth. And so the current work we're involved in is the democracy initiative. We have a book that comes out early 2020 from the New Press. It's called The Democracy Unchained. I've got 32 contributors to the book that include people like Bill McKibben and Jessica Tuchman Mathews. But it's a full spectrum of issues that pertain to human survival or capacity to get through this particular era.
David Orr: And the good news in the book in a way is that good many of the market things have already happened. We're not suffering from lack of technology as Amory has pointed out for decades. If we used off-the-shelf technology, we'd use a fraction of the energy we now use. And that takes a lot of the heat, no pun intended, off our political systems and so forth. That's the good news in this. And the bad news is we haven't yet put this all together as a systematic climate energy policy that is transparent and fair, works for future generations, and all those larger things.
David Orr: So the goal is to begin in this whole project with the book and then the 14 events we're planning around the country. And starting with one at the national cathedral in Washington on the spiritual foundations of democracy. To events in Boston, Washington, New York, San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, and so forth, 14 in total. And the goal is to start a broad-based conversation. And that conversation was implicit in early years at Penn. As I was taking classes over in the politics department and wandering around the campus and taking in Ian McHarg's classes and so forth. There's this larger dialogue about how humans make their place in the world in a way that's decent, fair, and durable, or sustainable in the language.
Lee Ball: So that intrigued me because I felt like we were making a lot of headway, even when you were in school. Fast forward to the '70s and '80s and even the mid-'90s, and then here we are today. I'm sitting with, you're one of the founders of the sustainability education movement. You started this work before we even had the word sustainability in the lexicon. And then you've written about it for many, many years. But here we are in 2019 and those of us who are sustainability educators are struggling more than ever to really get people to care. And we feel like we've used every tool in our toolbox and every trick that we can imagine to try to get people to care and to connect. And so where do you think we're failing? Or what opportunities you know still exist?
David Orr: I'm not sure that we're failing. I've come to this, and this is an opinion and it's off the cuff and I haven't prepared specific thoughts about this. But if I look at public opinion poll data across a whole sampling of issues, and by different pollsters, Gallup on an up or down, the public is with us. I think to a great extent we won. And it's hard to go anywhere without having somebody, anybody. You go down to the local truck stop, you can go to the local ADA meeting, and people care about the environment. They'll say it differently, but nobody wants to breathe dirty air, drink foul water, and so forth and so on.
David Orr: People want their kids out there on their hunting grounds or fishing, they want them in parks and so forth. So they, if you look at their aspirations for the next generation, it's a lot about environment. And so I think that in many ways we won the battle for people's hearts and minds. No political candidate anywhere can come out as a barbarian and win very long or stay in office very long for the most part across the country. There are a few exceptions.
David Orr: But what happened was, if you think about this as two sides of the Grand Canyon, on one side you had public opinion. And it was I think largely with us. On the other side you had the laws, rules, regulations, and so forth that we got. The policies that we actually got. And the bridge that connects those two got broken or better yet turned into kind of a toll bridge. So you had to have a lot of money to get across. And so every, from the political science profession, when you study people's role in governance, you find out very quickly it doesn't matter what the people down at the truck stop think or the people in the local school think or the people on main street think. It's what lobbyists want.
David Orr: We just had a House bill, got a lot publicity around the country in Ohio, House Bill Six. Dave Roberts at Vox described it as the worst piece of environment energy legislation he had seen in the 21st century, maybe ever. And what they did, what the Ohio legislature did, with a lot of dark money came into this, and a lot of big corporate money came in. It was a giveaway to First Energy. And it revived or subsidize two nuclear plants and a couple of coal-fired power plants. And the rate payers pay. It's an awful bill. And even the business community was against it, but it passed.
David Orr: So what happened in between was a lot of what Jane Mayer, the writer for New Yorker, calls dark money came in. Unaccountable money. Which is according to Supreme court legal. And so this is a way of saying I think we won the battle for the most part, for hearts and minds. Not everywhere, not always any one place. But I think by and large we won it.
David Orr: And so where did we fail? I think we failed politically. So while we were, to put it this way, while we were holding great meetings and writing great books and doing great research and so forth, they were taking over school boards and city councils and state legislatures and governors offices in 36 States and the House of Representatives until the last election, the Senate, the court system, and the presidency.
David Orr: So they were doing politics, we were doing environmental stuff. And we didn't do the work we should have been doing at extending our message, which was right. I think in most cases, as you know from the summit, you can measure results of the summit last night at dinner, you're on track to save a billion dollars that would otherwise have been wasted in 10 years. That is incredible.
David Orr: So while you're doing those things that they're measurable, for the most part, we missed the boat on defending our collective capacity to defend our collective environment. And that is political. We got outspent by a lot of money. But that's a long winded answer to say I think maybe we won, but we lost in the political arena.
Lee Ball: So I've got one more question for you. What is giving you hope these days?
David Orr: Well, I'll tell you. Hope takes some defining. But in short, I've said that hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up. And hope comes from actually being engaged in the world. But it also comes from hanging out with people like you and people that will be at the summit today and tomorrow and so forth. And people actually doing stuff in the world. People that just will not be beaten. They're going to be there. And they're there for their kids and their future generations. They're there because they love their colleagues. They're there partly because it's fun to do this stuff.
David Orr: And we're setting out a major challenge. It's kind of a moonshot for us and for our generation. But can you make a sustainable, just, fair, decent, and prosperous, a shared prosperous world? And I think the answer is yes. I take my hope from just the work that we all do. And the doing of the work is what generates hope.
Lee Ball: Well, David Orr, thank you very much for joining me today on Find Your Sustain Ability. We're so thrilled to have you on campus again and look forward to many more summits with you.
David Orr: Well, Lee, thank you. Thank you for the good work you're doing.
Monday Jul 08, 2019
Monday Jul 08, 2019
Host Dr. Lee F. Ball, Appalachian's chief sustainability officer, interviews Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi. Satyarthi has spent 40 years freeing 80,000 children from slavery. Listen to his journey and his advice to App State students on the latest "Find Your Sustain Ability."
Dr. Lee Ball: Kailash Satyarthi has spent his whole career saving the lives of children who are working as laborers around the world. Kailash was on our campus today, he actually flew over from Delhi, India, and he's leaving our campus to go straight to London, England. He was here today speaking and meeting students. He spoke to a full house in our Schaefer Center of over 1,000 people and had the opportunity to meet a lot of people. He stayed for a long time and shook hands and took pictures and people were extremely moved by his talk. Kailash was kind enough to stop by the studio. He had a lot to share about his organization and about the plight of child slaves and young laborers all around the world. There's a lot more information about Kailash's organization in our show notes. If you're interested in learning more, please check it out. We'll switch to his conversation now and I hope you enjoy.
L. Ball: Kailash Satyarthi, I want to thank you for coming here at Appalachian State. It's an honor to meet you and I welcome you to Boone, North Carolina.
Kailash Satyarthi: Thank you, Lee.
L. Ball: So for those who don't know, you've spent almost 40 years freeing over 80,000 children from slavery and unimaginable working conditions in India and around the world. You and your family and your colleagues have risked your lives countless times doing this work. You're like a modern day superhero.
K. Satyarthi: Not really.
L. Ball: Yeah. But unfortunately you can't solve these problems alone. I recognize that. There are over still 150 million children working in these conditions around the globe. My work here at the university with sustainability overlaps with yours because we cannot create a sustainable world on the backs of our children. So if we're going to ever find a way to create a sustainable future for the planet and its people, then we must end child slavery around the world that supports the desire for inexpensive goods, where the costs are externalized and subsidized by children. So because of your dedication to children around the world, you were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. But first of all, congratulations, and thank you for this very important work. Secondly, has this attention of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize benefited your work trying to end child slavery around the world?
K. Satyarthi: Thank you, Lee, for this opportunity. First of all let me tell you that I am not a superhero. Superheroes can do the things on their own, but I always believed in togetherness, building coalitions, partnerships and mobilizing ordinary people for this sustainable change in the society to end child slavery and child labor. Though I had been working across the world, almost 150 countries for the last 20 years, with local partnerships and organizations to fight child slavery, we could not move much as I was expecting that people should recognize that it's serious evil that must end. It should have the political priority at local level and global level too. But after the Nobel Prize, it helped definitely. Because for the first time when the Nobel Peace Prize has been conferred to this cause through me. In their 100 years of history, they did not link the need of eradication of slavery and protecting children from it for a sustainable peace in the world.
K. Satyarthi: But they did it, so it was helpful. In fact, I kept fighting that this should be included in the Millennium Development Goals when they were being formulated in 1998, 99. In 2000, I did my best for the demand, organized some demonstrations and parallel meetings at the U.N., But it did not work. There was no mention of child labor or child slavery in MDGs. Then for sustainable development goals, I started the campaign globally, again with the help of many antislavery organizations and child rights groups. We collected millions of signatures and sent it to U.N. secretary-general and so on. In 2014 when I was spearheading this campaign, Nobel Peace Prize was announced. I did not miss this chance. I thought that I should meet the U.N. secretary-general and the governments of the world. Secretary-general was very pleased and convinced that this should be incorporated.
K. Satyarthi: My argument was that we cannot achieve most of the development goals without ending child labor. If, say 152, that time, 200 million children were working in child labor, we can never achieve the education for all goals. If 200 million children are working at the cost of adults' jobs, almost equal number of adults were jobless. Most of the times, these jobless adults were none but the very parents of these children. So my argument was clear that every child is working at the cost of one adult's job. So we cannot achieve that goal of reducing unemployment in the world. In 2014 when I met secretary-general, he was convinced and he suggested that it would be better to find some strong political champions, some presidents or prime ministers. So I immediately used this advice with none other than President Obama. I had a very good conversation with him.
K. Satyarthi: He was convinced and he said that, yes, I'm going to support it. He immediately agreed. So was the case of President Hollande of France and several other prime ministers and president and head of that nations and government. So I was able to gather strong support that child labor, child slavery, child trafficking, these issues should be the part of SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals. And it happened. I succeeded in 2015. So in goal 8.7, all these things were included in the broader framework of the business solutions or employment generations, poverty elevations and so on. Now we have clear agenda and clear commitment for the eradication of child labor, slavery, trafficking. We also have a very clear goal for eradication of violence against children in all its forms, apart from ensuring good quality education for children and not only in primary but also in secondary schools and so many other things.
K. Satyarthi: So that was one of the significant successes after the Nobel Prize. But also in India, I have been able to ask the government and the government has changed the laws against child labor. They have also ratified the international conventions against child slavery and child labor. I fought for strong laws against child sexual abuse and rape of children in India and that was also successful. We worked with the governments in Sweden or in Germany and many other countries that they should increase or at least maintain their overseas development aid for education. That has been done. So in a way, it has given a very strong edge to advance my cause.
L. Ball: I'm very glad it happened for you and for all the children around the world. A lot of people here and around the world have no idea how many children are exploited. Children are in many cases treated worse than animals. I know that these are very complex issues. Can you explain how education has been playing a role in your work?
K. Satyarthi: Well, I have been advocating right from the beginning of my work in 1981 when I started. I learned even without any proper research or any study or evidences, but through the practice, through the practical work, I realized there is a very direct correlation between three things: child labor, poverty and illiteracy. This is a vicious triangle. We have to break it. Each of these things are cause and consequences of each other. If you continue child labor then the illiteracy will remain there. But if we are not able to ensure quality, free public education for every child, then the child labor will continue, at least in the poor countries and poor communities. So that has direct relations. Similarly, if the children remain child laborer and denied education, then they will remain poor for rest of their lives and their next generation will also remain poor and illiterate.
K. Satyarthi: That is intergenerational poverty and illiteracy through child labor. Slowly, people have started listening to that argument. Then we collected some evidences and some studies were done, and not by my organization only, but the World Bank, the UNESCO. ILO did such a studies and this relationship of triangular paradigm has been established. Now it's very clear that we cannot educate all children without eradication of child labor and we can not eradicate child labor without ensuring quality education for all children. There is a relation. We live in the world, which is basically the knowledge-driven world, or knowledge economy. We cannot think of sustainable economy growth in any country or poverty reduction or ending household poverty without an education and without knowledge today. But child labor is the biggest impediment in achieving this. So it is necessary that we have to invest both on education as well as on eradication of child labor.
K. Satyarthi: We are talking about 152 million children who are in full-time jobs. But we're also talking about 60 million children who have never seen the school doors, and another 200 million children dropped out from the schools because of the pull factor of child labor and also because of the pushback through poverty or other things, the family issues or social cultural issues and so on. That makes a vicious circle, that on one hand between 200 and 210 million adults are jobless in the world. One hundred and fifty-two million children are in full-time jobs and 260 million children who have to be in the schools in primary and secondary classes they are not there. That is the problem. There was one study done by World Bank and ILO that if you invest $1 on eradication of child labor, the return would be $7 over the next 20 years. So you can understand that it has a very strong economic imperative.
K. Satyarthi: Then the second thing is that if you invest on education for a child in developing country, then the return would be $15 over the next 20 years. So the best investment for economic growth and sustainability and poverty alleviation or justice, economic justice and equality in society is to invest in education. So that is the relation between all these factors.
L. Ball: So in addition to educating children in these impoverished areas, you also have a campaign, the 100 Million Campaign, did it focus on consumer education as well. Can you speak to that a little bit? Maybe give us an update on how it's going.
K. Satyarthi: Well, while working with children, youth, politicians, faith institutions, academicians in all my life, I have learned the power of youth should be channelized to solve this problem. That is largely untapped for this course. So my idea was that when 100 million, approximately, or a little more, 100 million young people are facing violence. That includes child labor, slavery, trafficking, child prostitution, use of children as child soldiers, or denial of education, health care. This is one scenario. On the other hand, hundreds of millions of young people are willing to take up challenges. They're ready to do something good for the society. So I thought that why can't at least 200 million young people should become the change makers for the lives of those 100 million young people who are deprived of childhood freedom, education, everything. So let 100 million youth should champion this cause.
K. Satyarthi: In this way, while I am addressing 200 million people, young people, simultaneously, 100 million who are deprived will get a strong voice from university students, college students and so on, well-off young people and children. On the other hand, those who are looking for some purpose and passion, those who wanted to prove themself, they could not find a space while studying in universities and their minds are sometimes narrowed down and their purposes and aims of lives have narrowed down for good scoring and better career and more learning and so on. Nothing is bad in it, but that it don't going to make this world a sustainable place. We can not save humanity. We can not save planet and people this way because if you make young people a tool or a lubricant or say part of a machine, this growth engine, then they will feel happy about it that they are the part of growth.
K. Satyarthi: But they do not remain human being with human soul. This is needed in this growth story. So this way, once they start thinking and working using the social media power, they can use internet, they can use other things to be the voices of other children, that will be good for them. They are also big consumers of most of the products which are made by child laborers and child slaves. So if the young people come to know that the shoes they're wearing or the shirt or chocolate they're eating, it is made by child slaves, I'm sure that they would be the first to change it and challenge it. Most of them, I'm not talking about all, but most of them will feel bad about it and they can use their power. So as conscious consumer they can make a difference for the sustainability of businesses and so on.
L. Ball: Child labor exists here in the United States. Can you describe what you know about this?
K. Satyarthi: Of course, I have been working on this issue in the United States for several decades, directly and indirectly through my partner organizations and so on. I know that how children are working not only in agriculture, the largest number of children, child laborers, in USA are engaged in agriculture sector, but also in sweatshops and sometimes the minor victims of trafficking and prostitution and so on. These things are not uncommon. There's a big fight. One of the issues which we ... many organizations and I have been fighting for is for a strong law to prohibit child labor in agriculture in USA. Because 20, 30 or 40 years ago, the agriculture work for children was not so dangerous because the use of pesticides and insecticides and machines and electricity was not so rampant, which is today is a serious problem. I've come across many examples where the young girls and boys are suffering diseases due to inhaling of those toxic chemicals. Sometimes, they are killed while working, operating a machine or electricity.
K. Satyarthi: That is an issue. Now we wanted to focus on one major area, and that is the employment of children in tobacco farms. It's an irony or one cannot give any argument that a young person is not allowed to smoke up to the age of 18, but a young person is allowed to work in tobacco fields at the age of 12 or 10 or 13, they're working in those situations. There is no justification for it. We wanted to focus on this through this 100 million campaign, that young people should raise this voice, that children must not be employed in any form, but to begin with, there should be complete revision of child labor in tobacco farming.
L. Ball: This is a big tobacco state, North Carolina, and especially in the eastern part of the state, there's a lot of tobacco still grown and it's a long history of children working in tobacco fields. In addition to educating children and their families and people around the world, what other strategies do you rely on that makes a difference in your work?
K. Satyarthi: Well, we have been fighting because we believe that investment in education through higher budget reallocation by the government is the key. That should also go with child-friendly education systems. So teachers training, investment on teachers, motivated teachers and so on. That should also be the part of it. So education is the key to many things, including development and social and economic justice, gender justice and poverty eradication. This is the strategy to ensure education ... investment in education for children. That requires social mobilization where people should demand that their children must be receiving good quality, free education, public education. That is also another reason.
L. Ball: Are there programs in place to educate families who are susceptible to the traffickers?
K. Satyarthi: Well, traffickers normally choose those areas which are less developed, uneducated families, deprived people, social deprivation also the part of the social cultural deprivation. For example, the entire Francophone Africa, the western African region, or some parts of South Asia or Southeast Asia, trafficking is quite rampant and in most cases, either the parents are not educated or the children do not have opportunity for education, so they are more susceptible for that. Only in few cases, in terms of the volume of trafficking in the world, some educated people are also lured away on false promises. They are shown some rosy dreams and told that their life would become like heaven and so on. So they are lured away like that and they don't know that they will end up in prostitution or forced labor.
L. Ball: Besides prosecution, what else is being done to prevent the factory owners from exploiting and abusing children?
K. Satyarthi: Well, I would say that child labor is an evil, social evil. It's a mindset issue. A lot of work has to be done to change the mindset of society, that people should feel their child labor is an evil, it causes poverty, it causes illness and it jeopardize education. So social awareness is needed to stop this as an evil. The second thing is it's the crime. So crime has to be dealt through law and order, through judiciary, through prosecution and conviction of the offenders. This is one part. That also requires the well oiled machinery for the prosecution, accountability in the entire system from the reporting to prosecution to conviction so it should reach to some conclusion. Then it is a development disaster. Until and unless we as society, international community, ensure basic things for the parents, social protection programs, permanent jobs, the minimum wages as prescribed under the law, these things are equally important.
K. Satyarthi: Then the accessibility to education. So schools have to be there in the villages and countrysides, teachers should be there in adequate numbers. Development factors play important role. Just the law or the prosecution won't work. The combination of all factors have to be there. So when I'm saying that it's a social awareness, it's equally important that the work has to be done in partnership with the companies. Those days are gone when we considered ... we meaning many of the civil society organizations, considered businesses and corporations as their enemy No. 1. They were culprits according to them. But this is not the case. Now the nature and character and role and power of corporate has changed and one should learn how to build mutual trust. The mutual trust between state, corporate and civil society is very much needed to solve this problem and many other problems in the world.
K. Satyarthi: So the corporations are not, in my opinion, just money making machines. They are also change-makers, knowingly or unknowingly. If they do it consciously for the betterment of people and planet, then they are the real change-maker for good. But if they just ignore those things, then it becomes disaster. But I see more and more corporations are coming forward, the industry leaders are coming forward to solve such problems. That is a good sign. This is also needed. So only prosecution won't work. The consumer should also feel responsible that instead of just calling for the boycott, they should demand certified and guaranteed quotes, which are free of child labor. The combination of these factors will definitely work.
L. Ball: Very holistic approach.
K. Satyarthi: Yeah, holistic approach.
L. Ball: Your wife's been by your side helping you all these years? First of all, how's she doing and how important has her support been to you?
K. Satyarthi: Oh, she has been a strong partner right from the beginning when nobody was convinced that I should give up my career as electrical engineer and I should embark upon this issue which was a nonissue in the minds of people. She was the only one who was convinced. Not only that, but she fought against it with all her efforts. She's good. She's fine. I spoke to her this morning and she was, enjoying with the group of children our Ashram. We had three rehabilitation come education and leadership building centers for the free child slaves and child labors. So she has been learning those centers for many, many years. Decades in fact. She is the mother of thousands of children who have gone through education and learning from those centers and also otherwise won't be freed from slavery. So that is good.
L. Ball: How many children are at the Ashrams at any given time?
K. Satyarthi: We have about 100 boys, 80, 90 to 100 normally and 30 girls in the girls center, 30, 35. Then we have another Ashram, Mukti Ashram, which is in outskirts of Delhi. That is used as the transit home. The children who are freed, they are brought over there and all the bureaucracy and legal work is done during that time. Then the repatriation, reintegration processes begin. Sometimes there are 150 children, 100 children. Even now there are about 100 children in the transit home, about 100 children in the long-term rehabilitation centers and 30 girls.
L. Ball: I can only imagine how stressful and emotional your work is. How do you take care of yourself and manage your work-life balance and make yourself more resilient?
K. Satyarthi: I don't see any distinction or difference in work and life. My personal life is my work and my work is my personal life. I can't recall that we could ... as family we could ever find some time for personal leisures or things like that, because we enjoy being with children, freeing children. That is much more rewarding than going to a leisure place for sightseeing and others. Once in a while we do, but it's hard.
L. Ball: Yeah. Well, you seem very happy. What message do you have for our students here at Appalachian State University?
K. Satyarthi: I enjoyed being with the young people today and also with little bit elderly people since yesterday and today both. They were filled with excitement and the emotions and energy. I could feel that energy inside the hall where I was speaking. I could tell that ... and that I normally say to many young people to transform into three D's, not that 3D cinema picture, but different kind of three D's. So my first D is, dream. If you're allowed to dream, dream big, dream bigger, dream biggest, dream as big as you can. If you are allowed to dream and you want to become a teacher, why don't you become the secretary of education? Why don't you become the vice chancellor or president of university? Dream big. So that's one. But those who dream for themselves and do not dream for others, for society and humanity, they never leave any footprint in the history.
K. Satyarthi: They cannot make the history. They are not shaped the history for the betterment. So dream big and dream for betterment. So that is one D. My second D is discover. Discover the inner power. Everybody is born with tremendous inner power. The power of greed, the power of resilience, the power of love, the power of compassion, the power of kindness, gratitude, all those powers should be ignited and used. Discover your inner power. Also discover opportunities outside. The world is full with opportunities, the world is full with beauty. We have to embrace that beauty of the world and positivity. That is my second D. The third D is, if you are able to dream, if you are able to discover then whom are you waiting for? Do. My third D is, do. Act now. Dream, discover and do.
L. Ball: Nice. Thank you very much. My last question: What inspires you and gives you hope to continue your work right now in this moment?
K. Satyarthi: My inspiration is my purpose and my purpose of life, my mission of life is very simple, that every child should be free to be a child. Every child should be free to laugh and cry and jump and play and make mistakes and learn and dream. So I have learned to celebrate every small success, to remain inspired. There is a reason to celebrate every day because the success ... there are successes smaller, bigger, medium. We should respect those successes. So even if one single child is freed, if one single child is enrolled in school, if one single child is passing out from a school through my effort, I feel the worth. That inspires me.
L. Ball: Kailash, thank you so much for coming today and coming all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. You came here from ...
K. Satyarthi: From India, from Delhi.
L. Ball: Oh, from Delhi!
K. Satyarthi: Yeah.
L. Ball: Then now you're going to London?
K. Satyarthi: Yeah.
L. Ball: So a few oceans. It's a real honor to have you here at the university and safe travels to you.
K. Satyarthi: Thank you. Thank you, Lee.
L. Ball: Thank you again for all of your work.
K. Satyarthi: Lovely. Thank you, Lee.
Friday Jan 12, 2018
005 Adam Hege on Social Justice and Food Insecurity in rural Appalachia
Friday Jan 12, 2018
Friday Jan 12, 2018
Understanding and addressing food insecurity, social determinants of health and quality of life in the rural Appalachia region of North Carolina
Wednesday Jul 26, 2017
004 Majora Carter ”The Prophet of Local”
Wednesday Jul 26, 2017
Wednesday Jul 26, 2017
Whether she's turning a landfill into an award-winning 3 million-dollar park, or transforming a neglected streetscape into a picturesque, Parisian-cafe inspired greenspace, Majora Carter's vision and drive for sustainable, local living is potent and compelling.
Friday Jul 21, 2017
003 Former Head of EPA Gina McCarthy
Friday Jul 21, 2017
Friday Jul 21, 2017
Gina McCarthy discusses what it was like to be in charge of 15,000 people at the EPA and shares why she remains hopeful about our nation and our world.
Wednesday Mar 08, 2017
002 Jeff Biggers on Regenerative Cities and Sustainability in Appalachia
Wednesday Mar 08, 2017
Wednesday Mar 08, 2017
A history of sustainability in Appalachia and life after coal.
Friday Nov 20, 2015
001 What does Social Justice have to do with Sustainability?
Friday Nov 20, 2015
Friday Nov 20, 2015
Are sustainability and social justice answers to the same question?
Meet the host
Lee F. Ball Jr. has a doctorate in Sustainability Education, a master's degree in Environmental Education, and a bachelor’s degree in Natural Science. Lee is currently the Chief Sustainability Officer at Appalachian State University. Prior to this, he spent fourteen years teaching sustainable building design in Appalachian State University's Department of Sustainable Technologies and the Built Environment. Lee’s scholarly and professional interests focus on nature-based solutions, sustainability leadership, sustainability literacy, resilience, biophilic design, regenerative design, decarbonization, climate justice, and change agency related to community engagement. He is the chair of Appalachian State’s campus wide strategic planning committee, and is an integral part of the university’s leadership. He is also active globally and has led international programs to Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Scotland, and Russia. In addition, Lee is heavily involved with numerous local and regional sustainability organizations.