Kennedy stressed energy independence and good economic policy during his speech Thursday at Wait Chapel. His voice is an important one when it comes to moving environmental issues forward in this country. Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES) Executive Director Miles Silman talks about Kennedy and the push for green jobs.
Why is it important to have someone like Kennedy as a voice for the environment?
Silman: Bobby Kennedy is a highly successful environmental lawyer and environmental entrepreneur who has been fighting for clean water and clean air for nearly the last 30 years. He also isn’t afraid to talk about things that have gone out of our public discussion on the environment–things like democracy, fairness, and citizenship. It’s refreshing to hear someone talk to people as citizens rather than consumers.
Why is the issue of Green Jobs essential to the idea of sustainability?
Silman: Energy generation is the number one polluter of the environment, and our number one source of energy here in North Carolina, coal, is the worst of all. It is only cost effective because we socialize the costs and freeload on society. Green energy generation and the green jobs it generates will make our environment cleaner, our kids healthier, and us more prosperous. Who wouldn’t share that vision?
How do you see WFU playing a role in the future of green jobs?
Silman: Wake Forest has a special role in this debate. We have an excellent group of scholars and students who are interested in the environment and how we conserve it, and who are developing and commercializing new ways of generating energy and energy-efficient devices. We have some of the best minds in the business focused on capitalism, entrepreneurship and enterprise, and also world leaders on thinking about what is ethical–how we live lives of Pro Humanitate. Wake Forest and CEES is a place where those people are getting together to work with each other across disciplines and solve these big problems.
Wake Forest also has deep ties to a community that cares about these issues, and it has been exciting to see the integration and leadership of the university into the broader debate. I can see a day where Wake Forest is as integrated into the regional green economy as it is into regional health care.
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