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Lauren Bryant
Research and Creative Activity magazine

Last modified: Monday, October 20, 2008

IU Research & Creative Activity magazine spotlights sustainability

Oct. 20, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The fall 2008 issue of Indiana University's Research & Creative Activity magazine features faculty research on topics and ideas related to sustainability.

Sustainability, defined broadly as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs," is sweeping university and college campuses as a focus for education, outreach and research.

At IU, where the School of Public and Environmental Affairs has been at the forefront of environmental science for more than 35 years, sustainability research takes many forms. This issue of the award-winning R&CA magazine features a Q&A with essayist Scott Russell Sanders, a distinguished professor of English at IU Bloomington who is nationally known for his works of personal nonfiction. An excerpt from Sanders's newest book A Conservationist Manifesto (forthcoming in 2009 from IU Press) follows the interview, offering the writer's vision of a shift to a sustainable society.

"I hope that in a modest way, Conservationist Manifesto will function as an ark," Sanders says in the R&CA interview, "preserving ideas and values and practices that humans will need if we're going to live in a more responsible way." A podcast with more of the Sanders interview is also available.

In other articles, Matthew Auer, professor of public and environmental affairs at IU Bloomington and dean of the Honors College, questions the long-term effects of "name-brand philanthropy," arguing that foreign aid must be joined with infrastructure improvements to achieve sustainable change in developing countries. Eduardo Brondizio takes readers into the Amazon forest as he shares his research on the impact of açaí berry farming on the region's people and communities. Indiana University geological scientists discuss the complex science of clean-coal technologies in an article exploring carbon sequestration methods, and sculptor Eric Nordgulen and engineer Andrew Hsu, both of IUPUI, explain their art-and-engineering collaboration to create a fuel-cell-based sculpture that will both educate and inspire viewers.

This issue also offers a package of stories related to sustainability initiatives under way at several IU campuses as well as articles exploring the chemistry of air pollutants, the patterns of deforestation in Indiana and elsewhere, and what Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection can teach us about environmental ethics.

Original "sustainable artwork" is featured on the magazine's covers, including Roadside Scavenger, a tire-tread sculpture by Todd Frahm, visiting professor of fine arts at IU Bloomington, who asks "Who is the scavenger, the bird who finds its meal on the side of the road or the artist who finds a bird left behind by the rapid pace of consumerism?"

Research & Creative Activity magazine is published semiannually by IU's Office of the Vice Provost for Research to stimulate greater awareness of and appreciation for the diverse scholarly and creative activities conducted across the campuses of Indiana University. The magazine's Web site can be found at For inquiries regarding its content, please contact the editor at 812-855-4152 or e-mail