Magazine article Liberal Education

From the Editor

Magazine article Liberal Education

From the Editor

Article excerpt

The striking image reproduced on the cover of this issue depicts twentyeight thousand oil barrels, each with a capacity of forty-two gallons. The quantity of oil those barrels could contain - equal to the flow of a medium-sized river - is consumed in the United States every two minutes. The cover image is part of an extensive and visually arresting series of large-scale composite images assembled by photographer Chris Jordan. Each image portrays a startling American statistic: 166,000 packing peanuts, representing the number of overnight packages shipped by air in the United States every hour; 410,000 paper cups, the number of disposable hot-beverage paper cups used in the United States every fifteen minutes; 2.3 million folded prison uniforms, representing the number of Americans incarcerated in 2005; thirty-two thousand Barbie dolls, representing the number of elective breast augmentation surgeries performed monthly in the United States in 2006; and so on.

The 2009 annual meeting began following a daylong symposium on sustainability - a relatively new topic of serious academic study that, in our recent survey, was identified by 18 percent of AAC&U members as an area of learning addressed by their common learning goals. As sustainability is a major theme explored by Chris Jordan, the opening-night forum at which he presented a slideshow of his recent work provided an ideal transition between the preconference symposium and the annual meeting itself. A brief photo-essay in the Featured Topic section of this issue presents samples of Jordan's work. …

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