Outside the classroom

A day in the life

Outside the classroom


The real challenge of development is not how to get there, but how not to. —Kartikeya Sarabhai

Engaging students beyond the classroom

The Environment, Sustainability, and Society program engages students in the wider community, at both the local and global levels. Through guest speakers and other events held each Thursday throughout the academic year, students have the opportunity to gain yet another perspective on some of the most important and current sustainability-related issues.

See below for a story on a past lecture, as well as the schedule for the 2013-14 Thursday lecture series.

Kartikeya Sarabhai's Killam lecture

It’s not easy being green, as a famous frog once sang. But Kartikeya Sarabhai uses the term “leapfrogging” to encapsulate his view of how to achieve sustainability in developing countries.

Mr. Sarabhai, one of India’s leading environmentalists and the Founding Director of the Centre for Environment Education, was invited to Dalhousie in February 2011 to speak as part of the Killam Memorial Lecture Series.

He explained what he means by “leapfrogging”: countries in the process of developing must avoid the Western idea of progress and its reliance on carbon-emitting industrial process, and directly “leap” to more sustainable modes of development.

Though he first wrote about this issue almost 20 years ago, he still believes it important that countries like India avoid development based on rampant consumerism—and its inherent giant ecological footprint. This, Mr. Sarabhai noted, is not only unacceptable, but impossible: the Western development model means that four planet Earths would be needed to support consumer demand, if every person in the world consumed as much as the average person in North America.

Mr.Sarabhai sees educating the next generation as a key part of the process of “leapfrogging” to sustainable development, citing recent policy changes in India that aim to help ensure that education takes place.

On a positive note, he ended his lecture by describing how he hopes education will help draw young people’s attention to the issue of climate change and engage them in the battle to prevent it. “There’s not only hope for the future, there’s a lot we can do,” he says. “We need to use all the tools we have to change the world.”

Read more about Kartikeya Sarabhai's lecture in Dal News.

ESS Thursday Night Lectures - Winter 2018

All lectures begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday nights in Ondaatje Hall, 6135 University Avenue, Marion McCain Arts & Social Sciences building. All are welcome. Free of charge. Limited seating - please arrive early.

See the fall lecture series schedule.