Dr. Adam Green can breathe a sigh of relief this fall. Green, program director for the college’s Center for Sustainability, has seen funding for the program reinstated after a period of uncertainty.
“They’ve decided to maintain us as a priority,” Green said, even though the decision didn’t come easily.
Over the summer, Green wrote an e-mail to the faculty objecting the proposed cuts.
But the letter didn’t stay within the staff.
“It got leaked out to the community,” he said. “And people realized it was bad PR.”
One of those people was Superintendent-President Andreea Serban.
Green suspects an upset public pressured her to reinstate the funds originally meant for the program.
Green doesn’t believe the original decision to cut the funds came out of a “good consultation process,” and he has no definite answer as to why Serban decided to change her mind.
“What we’re at now is some kind of truce,” said Green, who is committed to putting the funds to work as soon as possible.
Green and his small team have a new entrepreneurial program they’d like to start, assuming there’s enough money.
“This is absolutely the direction we should be going,” he said, pointing to a much broader perspective than just the college sustainability program.
He acknowledges that a constant struggle in today’s society is to run a profitable business while keeping it ecologically friendly at the same time.
But to start this ecological entrepreneur program Green is also seeking federal grants, which he will have the outcome for in December. However, he is confident they will make it work, with or without the grants.
“This is being done by a rather small group of people,” he said. “And we’ve been very good at what we do.”
The program took as inspiration the book “The Blue Economy,” written by Gunter Pauli, who would also be an advisor for the program. The book lists 100 innovations that Pauli believes to be good progressions for a sustainable future.
The Center for Sustainability is also planning several fundraising events, such as a showing of the Clive Neeson’s surf film, “Last Paradise,” which screened at the 2010 Santa Barbara Film Festival.
In the spring there will be a speaker series called “Cities as the Solution,” where the increasingly important role of big cities will be the hot topic.
“Urban planning is going to be huge,” Green said. “Right now we’re not living sustainably.”
Dates and names for the lecture haven’t been finalized.
The Center for Sustainability is also working around Santa Barbara to install and maintain gardens in elementary schools.
Green says he is proud of the significant support the program has received from the community, but he would still like to see more positive reception from the faculty.
“We’ve made this college look good,” he said. “My hope is that they see that this program really has amazing potential.”