On Earth Day, Avon Asks "What Should We Do?"
On Monday, April 22, Avon celebrated Earth Day with a special guest speaker, Senior Fellow with the Worldwatch Institute and Avon alumnus Erik Assadourian '95. Assadourian spent the day on campus and spoke to the entire school community during an all-school assembly.
"Our students will face a multitude of environmental, political, social and economic challenges related to climate change as they become adults, progress in their careers and perhaps have children of their own," commented Katy Perry, Avon's Sustainability Director. "My hope is that, with the right information and a strong dose of inspiration, our students will have the aspiration and perseverance to live their lives as part of our global community and help protect our shared future."
To aid in getting the 'right information' out to today's Avonians, Headmaster LaRocque suggested a visit from Assadourian. As a sustainability researcher, thinker, and writer, he is a leading expert in sustainable development, economic degrowth, sustainable communities, consumerism, and cultural change.
During his presentation, Assadourian shared some scary facts about what the future could hold if this generation does not take rapid action, but, was here to provide some help into answering the question, "What should we do?"
First, he shared that resistance is key—resistance to prioritizing consumption and prioritizing growth of consumerism. Next, he talked about the need for cultural engineering.
"Currently, the American lifestyle is a four-planet lifestyle, meaning we'd need four Earths to properly support the lifestyle we're living," he said. "In a one-planet lifestyle, instead of .5 cars per person, that number would be .004 cars per person. This also extends to calorie intake, housing footprint, carbon emissions, and more."
Then, Assadourian shifted to his last two points, which were preparing for the transition to a new lifestyle that would be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. One was to plan for the transition, which includes learning valuable skills like gardening, cooking, and first-aid. The second point focused on Earth Education, in which people would learn more about our dependance on Earth, how we interact with it, and how to protect it.
"In putting together these points, a lot of my experiences at Avon came to mind," shared Assadourian. "Avon prioritizes building strong, moral characters who care about each other and their world. Avonians are capable of making change happen."