Speaker promotes sustainability, making a difference

Speaker promotes sustainability, making a difference

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By CASSIE SLANA
Senior Writer

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PHOTO BY CASSIE SLANA / SENIOR WRITER
David Radcliff came to campus Thursday, Nov. 3, to talk about environmental issues facing the world and what individuals can do to promote sustainability.

(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The UCM Office of Sustainability hosted a guest speaker on campus Thursday, Nov. 3, to talk about environmental issues facing the world and what individuals can do to promote sustainability.
David Radcliff, director of new community project, said he came to UCM to discuss the necessity of sustainability for the sake of a livable future. He said New Community Project works around the world with women and girls in a social sustainability manner as well as with farms and their surrounding communities to teach about the environment and address global justice issues.
Matthew VanSchenkof, assistant professor for hotel and restaurant administration, said Radcliffe is one of his personal heroes.
“He walks the walk when it comes to sustainability,” VanSchenkof said.
Radcliff said 6 million people around the world will die from air pollution this year. He said every ecosystem is under stress.
Using the example of bluefin tuna and society’s inclination for sushi, Radcliff demonstrated how humans “tend to love things to death.”
Bluefin tuna are now endangered and, according to an article in “Time,” their population has declined by nearly 97 percent.
Radcliff said it is important to be engaged and instigate change.
“The key is to find something you care about (and) find a way to invest yourself in it,” Radcliff said.
Radcliff said to do so, one must show enthusiasm, help raise awareness, make the issue relevant, adapt to specific audiences and practice what you preach.
Since his first trip out of the country in 1986 to Honduras, Radcliff said he has tried to make a difference and teach others how to follow in his footsteps.
Radcliff said populations are diminishing in countries affected by the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. He said rainforests can quickly transition into savanna within a matter of years due to aggressive and extensive deforestation.
Radcliff said the rise of climate change and different kinds of pollution are changing habitats, causing animals to struggle to adapt.
“In the last 40 years, there is half as many living things with twice as many humans,” Radcliff said.
Radcliff said teaching others about the importance of sustainability can plant the seeds of change.
“You may have more power than you think,” Radcliff said. “The corporation’s biggest fear is that you’ll open up your eyes.”