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2015-16: Sustainability

The Conversations on Morality, Politics, and Society (COMPAS) program for 2015-2016 focused on the theme of Sustainability. Perhaps the greatest cultural, economic, and technological challenge facing modern democracies and global development groups is how to respond to the depletion of natural resources and the effects of climate change. The health of the planet as well as the future shape of human society is at stake. The issue of sustainability engages each of the university’s Discovery ThemesEnergy and the EnvironmentFood Production and Security and Health and Wellness. The Sustainability COMPAS was distinctive in that it set aside technical questions about the causes and extent of environmental degradation to focus instead on the moral and political questions that it raises, including:

  • The meaning of ‘sustainability’: What are we trying to sustain? A certain level of production and consumption? A certain way of life? A certain level of well-being?
  • Sustainable institutions: What political, economic, and legal structures are needed to pursue sustainability at both the national and international level?
  • The demands of global justice: How should the costs of developing sustainable global systems be divided between different countries and regions of the world?
  • The demands of intergenerational justice: What sacrifices should current generations be willing to make for the sake of future generations?
  • The individual’s role in promoting sustainability: What obligations do we have as individuals to develop and promote sustainable ways of life?


COMPAS Conferences


COMPAS Colloquia

The Sustainability COMPAS program put together a number of "Colloquia" which involve individual speakers and small panels discussion the Sustainability theme.

COMPAS Special Events

The COMPAS program this year was able to sponsor a number of special events that went beyond the normal program. These include helping to bring some of the leading global voices for sustainability to campus as well hosting a photo contest and a canoe trip!


Sustainability related university events

Throughout the university, many events have been held related to the COMPAS theme of Sustainability. COMPAS regularly co-sponsors and advertises these events in an effort to bring further University resources to the forefront of the COMPAS conversation.

Buckeye Book Community/First Year Experience Events

  • September 21, 2015
    "The Good Food Revolution"
    Speaker: Will Allen (Author)
    Buckeye Book Club and OSU First Year Experience Event 

Wexner Center for the Arts Events

  • October 13, 2015
    "Artist Talk: Basia Irland"
    Wexner Center for the Arts
  • October 27, 2015
    "Artist Talk: Fallen Fruit"
    COMPAS, OEE, Wexner Center for the Arts
  • Not Sustainable: Films on Environmental Loss
    February 5, 2016: Darwin’s Nightmare (2004)
    February 12, 2016: Manufactured Landscapes (2006)
    February 19, 2016: Still Life (2006)

Other Events around Campus

  • October 1, 2015
    "World Climate Exercise: Climate Change Negotiations Simulations"
    Speaker: Andrew Light (George Mason University, U.S. Department of State)
    Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Event
  • October 12, 2015
    "Laudatio Si: What is an Encyclical?"
    St. Thomas More Newman Center
  • October 13, 2015​
    "Faiths Worldwide Tackle Environmental Challenges"
    Screen Full Program
    Panelists: Jared Boyd (Central Vineyard Church), Don Hubin (Ohio State, COMPAS program), Daniel Misleh (Catholic Coalition on Climate Change), Jessica Shimberg (ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal)
    Moderator: Greg Hitzhusen (Ohio State, School of Environment and Natural Resources)
    Environmental Professionals Network Breakfast Club
  • Environmental Film Series
    October 20, November 3 & 17, 2015
    Earth: A New Wild
    October 27, November 10 & 24, 2015
    Years of Living Dangerously
  • October 27, 2015
    "Thinking Like a Mall"
    Speaker: Steven Vogel
    Comparative Studies
  • October 28, 2015
    "Music More Than Human"
    Performer: David Rothenberg
    COMPAS, Humanities Institute
  • November 6, 2015
    Interfaith Graduate Student Panel on the Laudato Si
    COMPAS, Multicultural Center, Christian Graduate Student Alliance, Secular Student Alliance
  • November 6, 2015
    "Nature and Wealth: Overcoming Environmental Scarcity and Inequality"
    Speaker: Edward B. Barbier (Economics and Finance, Wyoming)
    Discovery Theme in Sustainable and Resilient Economy
  • November 20, 2015
    "Social Capital and Sustainable Development Informal Discussion"
    Speaker: Lindon Robinson (Agricultural and Resource Economics, Michigan State)
    Discovery Theme in Sustainable and Resilient Economy
  • January 28, 2016
    "Climate Webinar: Why We Don't Believe Science"
    Speaker: Ellen Peters (Psychology, Ohio State)
  • February 1, 2016
    "Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning"
    Speaker: Timothy Synder (History, Yale)
    Humanities Institute
  • February 11, 2016
    "Conflict and Climate Change from the Little Ice Age to Global Warming"
    Speaker: Dagomar Degroot (History, Georgetown)
    Mershon Center for International Security Studies
  • February 11, 2016
    "Earth and People – Lessons in Living Together: Preserving our Present, Enriching our Future"
    Speaker: Dr. M. Sanjayan (Conservation International)
    Environmental Professional Network and SENR
  • March 2, 2016
    "Voices on Sustainability"
    Speakers: Piers Turner (Philosophy and Center for Ethics and Human Values, Ohio State)
    Greg Hitzhusen (School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State)
    Tim Bartley (Sociology, Ohio State)
    Sierra Club Student Coalition 


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