Water conservation and the three E’s of sustainability
Ryan Summerlin May 8, 2013
The third and final book discussion of this year’s Summit Reads program takes place Thursday at the Frisco library. Dan Schroder, natural resources agent for the local Colorado State University Extension office, will be leading the discussion.
“I plan to do an interactive book club discussion group, where the audience will be getting up from their seats and participating in activities that will make them more aware of the scarcity of water worldwide,” Schroder said.
Schroder said he plans to ask the question: What would you like to see last beyond your lifetime?
“There are the three E’s of sustainability: environment, equity and economics,” Schroder said. “Within these three parameters, how can we move forward into a healthier environment in the future?”
Schroder said he appreciates the global perspective provided by this year’s Summit Reads book, “Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis.”
“It helps me as someone here in Summit, where, although we may feel water rich, we are a small part of the globe, and in many places around the world, water is a big concern,” he said. “We need to be aware of water in the West, and though we live in a snowy environment, it’s an arid environment. It was a good reminder to me.”
Schroder will use photographs from the book “Blue Planet Run” to illustrate his discussion points.
“I’ll use visual aids to take us on a walk around the globe and look at how poverty affects availability of clean water,” he said. “After we go through the visual presentation, we’ll talk about things we can do to help with the water situation.”
Topics might range from using technology such as desalinization to help alleviate the water crisis to studying how third-world poverty, lack of infrastructure and corruption in governments keep people from accessing clean water.
Schroder said we often forget that economics and our social perspectives — the different ideas each culture has of how things ought to work — play an integral part in the environmental conversation.
“We’ll discuss any constructive ideas on how to alleviate water strain,” he said. “That brings us around locally to what we can do in our own homes and our own lives.”
A holistic view
Schroder said the idea of using sustainability to drive the conversation allows for a more holistic view of the problem of water conservation. It’s a multifaceted issue, he said, and one or two steps aren’t really a solution.
“We can’t just save the forests or have clean water; it requires a concerted effort by many parties to come together and discuss and communicate and include technology and have funding — especially the economics component is forgotten in theoretical conversation,” Schroder said.
Schroder has a planned structure for the discussion but said it will take place in what he calls a “faith environment,” an open forum that can flex to include whatever topics the group finds relevant.
“I like to enable everyone to contribute their own expertise to the whole group learning,” he said. “We can learn a whole lot more from each other than one person standing on a pedestal behind a podium.”