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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Earthstock 2007: Leading Environmentalist Encourages Change For The Better

    As Earthstock 2007 began to draw to a close on April 20, after a weeklong celebration of sustainability and environmental activism, keynote speaker the Honorable Claudine Schneider emphasized the importance and the need to stay committed to conservation and efficient energy consumption.

    Part of the Provost’s Lecture Series and co-sponsored by the Freshman College of Science and Society, Schneider presented her lecture “Solutions to Climate Change” on Friday evening to a diverse audience of students, faculty, and interested community members. The event was held at the SAC Ballroom at 7:30 PM, leading up to a recitation of the Green Pledge and the final Earthstock event, a free concert by performing artist trio Begonia.

    Before the lecture began, Earthstock Chair Malcolm Bowman introduced Co-Chair Gloria Gill and briefly discussed this year’s Earthstock success, as well as Friday’s festivities by the SAC Plaza and along the Academic Mall. Provost Robert L. McGrath introduced the night’s distinguished guest, Hon. Schneider to the audience, describing her achievements and prominent career in government and the corporate world.

    Schneider is a former Rhode Island Congresswoman and a Republican House Representative, who served for ten years from 1980-1990. Her extensive knowledge of environmental and global warming issues stems from her experience as an elected member of the Science, Research, and Technology Committee.

    While she was a committee member, Schneider focused on cost-effective management and solutions to energy and environmental issues. Currently, she is an independent consultant to top companies and Forbes 500 corporations on environmental issues. Attributed as the leading author of the Global Warming Prevention Act, Schneider is known as “the solution woman,” whose own energy reinforces her simple message. “I really do believe that there are three types of people — people who make things happen, people who let things happen, and people who wake up on day and say, ‘What’s happening?'” Schneider highly encouraged the audience to take the plunge towards working to improve our collective environment and warned, “The fate of our communities and children are [all] in our own hands.”

    After Hon. Schneider finished giving her speech, she took questions and vows, a different approach to the single Q’A session after each lecture. The audience was asked to divide into small groups and discuss what they wanted to change about current environmental problems, actions they vowed to do after leaving the lecture to help lower present extensive energy consumption, and how they were going to take a more proactive role in being a part of the environmental solution.

    In her speech, Schneider recommended an assortment of websites and small actions that the general public could look into. “Lead by example,” she said, a theme echoed by her clients, businesses such as Bank of America, Staples, and Campbell’s Soup — “The corporate world is moving ahead [for they] want mandatory controls [and] are tired of a lack of federal controls,” so are alternatively looking into renewable energy.

    Three important things one can do are to vote accordingly and informatively, switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, and lower the thermostat by two degrees. Schneider explained that although upfront costs may seem too expensive now, they save everyone money very quickly. She stressed that everyone needed to “accept a cultural shift” and “rethink creatively.”

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