Could a book on the urgency of the need to curb plastic pollution conceivably have been given a title any catchier than Slow Death by Rubber Duck? As research for their 2009 best-seller, subtitled The Secret Danger of Everyday Things, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie conducted an experiment on themselves in which they monitored their own blood chemistry levels based on their usage of plastic products, such as eating out of microwaved containers. The bad news was that even a little exposure caused levels of BPA, phthalates and other hazardous chemicals to skyrocket. The good news was that there were measurably less of these toxins in the body soon after discontinuing such exposure.
Can the Earth heal itself as quickly if we stop polluting it, or are we already irrevocably past the tipping point? If you’re losing sleep worrying about that existential question and could use a dose of hope, you might want to catch Dr. Lourie’s talk on Friday evening at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, “Sustainability: What We Need to Succeed.” Drawing on three decades of work on the frontlines of plastic pollution, climate change and biodiversity protection, Lourie will discuss steps needed to achieve sustainability.
Lourie is known for having initiated the largest climate action in North America: phasing out coal in Ontario. He is currently the president of the Ivey Foundation, a private charitable foundation focusing on environmental policy change, and a senior fellow at Queen’s University. He has founded many environment-minded organizations now regarded as models in their respective fields. They include the Summerhill Group, an energy consultancy specializing in renewables; the Sustainability Network, dedicated to strengthening environmental nonprofits; and the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network, a network of philanthropic foundations and other organizations working to support global sustainability efforts. He was the founding executive director of the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance and founding president of the Clean Air Foundation, and also wrote Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World.
Lourie’s presentation begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but preregistration at www.caryinstitute.org/events is required, and seating is first-come, first-served.
Sustainability: What We Need to Succeed with Dr. Bruce Lourie
Friday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m., Free/preregister
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies Auditorium, 2801 Sharon Tpke. (Rt. 44), Millbrook, (845) 677-7600 ext. 121