We All Have Responsibility to Contribute to Society's Sustainability COMMUNITY COMMENT

Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current), May 6, 2012 | Go to article overview

We All Have Responsibility to Contribute to Society's Sustainability COMMUNITY COMMENT


"The city of Indianapolis is committed to providing a more sustainable, livable community for all of its residents and visitors," said Mayor (Greg) Ballard. "We hope the additional bins added over the past few weeks inspire patrons to participate in that spirit during Super Bowl XLVI." - News release, Feb. 1, 2012 Handing down a civilization's legacy to the next generation should be one of the first purposes of education and of at least equal importance to organizing the disposal of refuse. Yet, we do not have to search far to find disturbing examples of historical and cultural illiteracy within our citizenry.

While a lack of such knowledge cannot be exclusively thrown at the feet of the education system, regardless of where the blame falls, our culture is in danger of failing to produce a generation of knowledgeable citizens that passes on that culture to the next one. In other words, our culture may not be sustainable, to use the phrase of moment.

Allow me to provide some firsthand experience

I once asked the following series of extra-credit questions on an exam given to 100 students over the course of two semesters

Who were the first four U.S. presidents?

Who were the first four American Idol winners?

Nineteen students knew the presidents; 51 students knew the Idol winners. Only eight students answered both correctly. Two students included Lincoln as an answer to the president question.

I am using sustainable here in a different connotation ("sustaining our history") than the current popular usage. For example, as defined by the Indianapolis SustainIndy program (the city has a Director of Sustainability) it means "using best practices to create lasting environmental, economic and community vitality - enhancing our quality of life now and ensuring that future generations of Indianapolis residents have an equally good quality of life. …

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