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USA: What is sustainability? Corvallis answers

Nancy Baumeister, right, talks with Kate Ottersten as she participates in the transportation survey at the Sustainability Fair and Town Hall held at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center on Thursday. (Andy Cripe | Corvallis Gazette-Times)

9 hours ago • By JAMES DAY, Corvallis Gazette-Times
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More than 450 people filled the CH2M Hill Alumni Center at Oregon State University on Thursday night for the annual Sustainability Fair and Town Hall.

Participants toured the booths of more than 60 vendors and sampled local foods during the fair portion of the event.

The town hall segment featured reports on activities of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, interactive sessions involving participants and a keynote speech from Corvallis’ Rob Dietz, the co-author of “Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources.”

Participants and organizers also fielded two questions from a Gazette-Times reporter: 1) what is sustainability?; and 2) what is an example of a sustainability success in Corvallis?

Here’s what folks had to say:

Sustainability

“Using resources in a way that leaves them for the future,” said Ward 6 Corvallis Councilor Joel Hirsch while outside the Alumni Center making sure his dog was acting in a sustainable way.

“It’s when you only spend the interest, not the principle,” Hirsch said.

“Keeping stuff going,” said Chance DeLay, 14, a member of Boy Scouts Troop 163.

“No negative impacts for future generations,” said Debra Higbee-Sudyka of the Sierra Club’s Marys Peak Group, who was among those who successfully advocated for Corvallis’ passage of a ban on thin-plastic checkout bags.

“Thoughtfully using not more than our share,” said Julie Jackson, mid-valley community relations manager for Republic Services.

“It’s getter harder to answer that,” said Scott Dybvad, the sustainability specialist with the city of Corvallis. “The decisions we need to make on climate change are difficult to make without government intervention. It’s harder for an individual to make a difference.”

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