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Professor, author discusses U.S. resource consumption

By Matt Gabriel
On April 25, 2012


British author, professor and urban planner Julian Agyeman hosted a luncheon discussion Monday in the Centennial Hall Room in Brown Hall and a lecture the same night at the University Center about sustainability through a synergy of environmental and social justice. 
Much of the focus of Agyeman's topic was how the United States and other developed countries must mend their ways to better distribute resources within themselves and to other countries.
He said Americans use 25 percent of the world's resources but only constitute four or five percent of the world's population.
"I went to Haiti a couple of weeks ago, and they have nothing, and they would do anything to work for what we have, and they can't; that isn't available to them," said Tori Petersen, a freshman
environmental sustainability and communication studies major.
Part of the reason for this, Agyeman explained, was just how American culture is built.
"Even the rich in this country look at the super rich and think '(America's) not doing so well,'" Agyeman said.
But at the current rate of resource consumption, modern lifestyles won't be able to continue for very long. Agyeman said even a sweeping environmental revolution wouldn't solve these problems. The only way a world like that could be sustained is if social justice and fairness existed alongside the new energy system, he said. 
Agyeman said his hope is for a better future for all kinds of cities and towns through the improvement of environmental and social policy.
"Think about the possibilities," Agyeman said. "What do we want Greeley to be like in 2020?"
Agyeman also talked about six crucial parts of his vision to help achieve what he has deemed just sustainability, which includes planning for intercultural cities, sharing resources more fairly, well-being and happiness of the population, urban agriculture and fairer food distribution, sharing resources like cars and spatial justice. 
Agyeman described some places around the world, and even in the U.S., that are already achieving some of those goals or are well on the way to accomplishing them.

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