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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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    A New School of Thought

    School of Thought is to be a column intended to establish just that: A School of Thought.’ H.G. Wells said it perfectly: “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” So, right here, right now, at Stony Brook, less than a handful of years after the turn of a millennium of counting, a school of thought is needed to ensure that we do not go on destroying the world; that we think of humans as animals that cooperate in the society of life, and not be its most obvious delinquents. Those with the ‘earnest desire to save the world’ read on.’

    The old school of thought: Paul Conrad wrote in last week’s Statesman article (Tuesday, Sep. 2nd: Vol. XLVI, Num. 61; pg. 8): “Campus Residences’ job is neither to preserve nor to destroy Stony Brook’s open spaces, but to meet the growing need for on-campus housing.” As a Resident Assistant ‘- an employee of Campus Residences ‘- I know fully well that their immediate responsibility, delineated by the university corporation, is to provide students with housing.’ So you’re right, Paul, it’s not their job to care about some trees.’ They’re absolved of all responsibility for their actions.’ Like what Pontius said: “I wash my hands of it all.”‘ But, well, we can’t anymore.

    But I don’t blame Campus Residences, or Stony Brook University; after all, they are both products of the old school of thought.

    The old school of thought: West Apartments are built, and kill trees, and kill the world, right here at Stony Brook ‘- what else would we do? — less than a handful of years after the turn of the millennium. There are more trees where that came from.’ More open spaces.’ A tree is a tree is a tree. A space is a space is a space.’ We’ll do what we want with the world. Move on.’ Go on.’ Carry on.’ The old school of thought: Sorry pal, it’s not our problem.’

    The new School of Thought: Yes, it is our problem.’ We’re leaders, of humanity for humans, and we’re going to lead right away from this stupid way of thinking: “On-campus housing is good for the environment (because it) will mean hundreds fewer cars on Nicolls Road in the morning.” No, on-campus could be good for the environment, if the buildings were built in a way that is compatible with harnessing solar power, fostering plant growth, and eliminating carbon emissions, and if those hundred of cars weren’t replaced with hundreds of humming air conditioners.’ If we had the insight to do it right. Truth is, the failure to build the West Apartments, right here on Stony Brook, a couple of thousand of years after the people that were killing the world began counting, isn’t a matter of “budget limitations,” but of vision limitations.’ Once the will is there to build the apartments as a model of environmental sustainability, they can be built no other way.’ Once we see the goal, every step we take will be towards it…

    Instead of costly, carbon-consuming air conditioners, we must have designs that repel solar heat and foster cool ventilation.’ Instead of costly, carbon consuming heating, we must have designs that traps heat in the winter.’ Water can be recycled.’ Plants can be grown with little to no irrigation.’ These are all run-of-the-mill, off the top of my head ideas.’ And the funny part is that these ways of doing things are older than counting years, and existed here at Stony Brook before Stony Brook was called Stony Brook.’

    The new School of Thought: Is it Stony Brook’s responsibility to save the world?’

    Absolutely. It’s everyone’s responsibility to save the world.’ As for Stony Brook, with all its power, it has exactly that much more responsibility. We should know better, and we will know better: the new School of Thought, inching education past catastrophe.

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