Hubbard Series highlights need for sustainable practices

Hubbard speakers

For years, “going green” and “reducing your carbon footprint” have been common phrases used for trying to live a more sustainable, environmentally friendly lifestyle. Metropolitan Community College has begun a new speaking series to highlight what everyone can do to help the planet.

The Claire M. Hubbard Sustainability Series is a new series of events to discuss environmental responsibility on a local, regional and national level. The first event of the series was held on Nov. 30 at MCC at Do Space.

“Today’s topic is protecting Nebraska’s resources,” said Chris Swanson, manager of MCC at Do Space, at the beginning of the event. “Our hope is with an informed community, we can better tackle our challenges and protect the only planet we will ever know.”

The speaking series will have different guests at each event who will talk about various efforts being made to better the environment. The speakers at the Nov. 30 event were Kara Eastman, Chuck Schroeder and Peter McCornick.

Eastman, executive director of the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance, and member of the MCC Board of Governors, talked about the nonprofit’s work to improve the lives of children in the metro area, help their families become more energy efficient in their homes and promoting green, safe and healthy housing options in Omaha.

“Our mission is to improve children’s health through healthy homes,” she said. “What we’re doing is going into homes where kids have had lead poisoning or asthma and make them safe and healthy. We have to make sure we’re making these environments safe for them.”

Schroeder, executive director of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, shared his company’s focus on bringing people and jobs back to rural Nebraska communities, even promoting sustainable farm practices.

“Rural matters,” he said. “There are 1.1 million jobs in rural communities and 124 million acres of land, water and livestock. We partner with these communities to go from where they are to where they want to be.”

McCornick, executive director of the Robert B. Daughtery Water Foundation, discussed the importance of clean drinking water. While it is something many don’t have to worry about in Nebraska, he said, it can be a bigger problem elsewhere in the world. Finding a way to sustain clean water resources is key.

“Nebraska has a very positive story to tell,” McCornick said. “But there’s still work to be done. We’re working in Nebraska, South Asia, Brazil, Argentina and Africa.”

McCornick said it’s important to get out and make the sustainability changes, not just talk about them.

“We can do all this good research, but if it sits on the shelf, it doesn’t do anything,” he said. “We have to put that research into action.”