Sustainability Profile: Stacy VanDeveer, Associate Professor, Political Science
September 1, 2010
The following is one in a series of interviews conducted by the Sustainability Academy highlighting the work of UNH faculty, staff, and students.
SA: Tell us about "Can We Shop Sustainably?" your essay as part of this year's "TMI: A University Dialogue on Decision Making in the Age of Information Overload."
SVD: The essay argues that we cannot shop our way to a more sustainable world – we must have policies to reduce the environmental and humanitarian degradation that too often accompanies domestic and international markets. It is not possible for any of us to get enough environmental, human rights and cultural information to choose the most sustainable product for each and every one of our purchases: we consume too many things, they come from too many places, and we have access to too little information to make informed decisions. If we are to live in more sustainable communities, we will have to consume fewer of the earth’s resources and we will need policies that guarantee environmental protection, human rights and dignified treatment.
SA: What do you hope graduate students get from UNH's Certificate in Sustainability Politics and Policy, developed last year?
SVD: We hope they have the opportunity to think about how sustainability relates to local, national and global politics, and hope that they gain a set of analytical tools to apply to their chosen careers and their lives as citizens. The program has a core duo of politics and policy classes, and it allows students to tailor their additional electives and an independent study to meet their needs and interests.
SA: What motivates you personally to be involved in sustainability?
SVD: For me, sustainability is about humans living better lives in healthier communities and respecting and celebrating the natural and cultural environments within which we live. Just being a very small part of that is very motivating and inspiring – as is being a part of a large community of people who share similar values and goals.