Photo of UCSC Cogen

Sustainabilities at UC Santa Cruz: A Critical Overview

Workshop, May 12, 2016

How is sustainability defined at UCSC, or might be defined otherwise?

Is sustainability largely a matter of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprints on campus—and if so, what progress has been made?

Or, is such a techno-engineering and economistic framework (including fossil fuel divestment campaigns) inadequate in addressing the ways sustainability inevitably connects to social and class conflicts mediated by such manifold factors as public and private transportation, housing costs, tuition fees, and more broadly structures of inequality found in advanced capitalism?

Is UCSC’s a “sustainability of affluence,” and if so, what would be a “sustainability of justice”?

How does sustainability, as an operative term and policy marker, connect to social and racial diversity and inequality, and what are the stakes and struggles around that intersection?

Do we need to register many “sustainabilities” beyond what is otherwise an impossibly monolithic and conservative term, and finally is it adequate in any form (e.g. ecological sustainability)?

What, in other words, should be “sustained,” what “transformed”?

While these questions clearly surpass the ability of a single workshop to address the breadth and depth of issues contained therein, we hope to create the context of dialogue around whatever pressing issues participants wish to bring to the table, which will help us gain insight into our present situation vis-à-vis sustainability at UCSC.

This May 12 workshop forms part of a critical investigation into what sustainability means at UCSC, what the 2013-16 Campus Sustainability Plan has accomplished to date, and where it will go from here. Supported by a 2015 grant from the Sustainability Office, the workshop is part of the SO’s education and awareness initiative, which, in this case conducted via the Center for Creative Ecologies, offers the opportunity to take stock of sustainability discourse and practice at UCSC to date. With Miriam Greenberg, Ronnie Lipschutz, Elida Erickson, and representatives from Students for Fossil Free UC, the aim is to address sustainability at UCSC–including its variable meanings, achievements, conflicts, and problems–from each speaker’s point of view.


Posted in All Events.