Juliet Schor relates economics and sustainability

Ashley Lutjen Sandonato, Contributing Writer

Juliet Schor, professor of sociology at Boston College, said the future is in the hands of economic and environmental sustainability at her talk in Trout Auditorium on March 27.

Her talk, entitled “Plenitude: The New Economics of Sustainability,” was a part of a social science colloquium series at the University on sustainability in the 21st century.

University President John Bravman started off the event by discussing the University’s efforts to promote sustainability.

“It is our sustainability for the long-run that matters perhaps the most. It is therefore our charge, our duty, our honor I would say to be wise stewards here of all that has been entrusted to us,” Bravman said.

Bravman cited steps to reduce energy consumption as a part of the We Do campaign. Bravman also announced the creation of a new President’s Sustainability Council.

Schor then said that while many view a healthy economy and sustainability as irreconcilable, the two have to the capability to coexist peacefully. Schor described her Plenitude model. This model involves lowering working hours in order to increase employment and decrease stress.

“The growth solution is no longer a solution for wealthy countries,” Schor said.

Schor explained the idea that shrinking the workforce leads to a much more sustainable economy. The Plenitude model would alter people’s lives by decreasing wages and extending free time. This lifestyle would give citizens opportunities to participate in sustainable activities that they enjoy.

“Living life in a sustainable way actually gives us an enormous amount of wealth although maybe not wealth as conventionally defined,” Schor said.

“I tend to think of things in more economic terms, so learning about sustainability in that manner really opened my eyes to how we need to change our economy in order to make it durable,” Kate Rolfes ’16 said.

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