Environmentalist to speak

Friday, February 11, 2011

Portrait photo of Ken Pentel, environmentalist and Green politician

Ken Pentel, environmentalist, Green politician and four-time Minnesota gubernatorial candidate.

Portrait photo of Ken Pentel, environmentalist and Green politician Photo of Ken Pentel brings his enviromental and progressive messages to Minnesotans on his bicycle 

Environmental advocate, progressive politician and four-time Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Ken Pentel will lead a discussion on ecological economics 3 p.m. Feb. 16 in room 100 of Centennial Hall.

Pentel, who heads the newly formed Ecology Democracy Network, will assert the urgent need for an ecology-based economy.

Free parking is available on streets adjacent to campus. Parking in the 4th Avenue Parking Ramp is a dollar per hour.

Joining the discussion will be:

Kelsey Miller, chair of the Ecology Democracy Party of Minnesota, the political arm of the Ecology Democracy Network.

Paul Safonov, co-editor of the book "Modeling in Ecological Economics" (UK, 2005). Safonov is a St. Cloud State associate professor of information systems and co-founder and past president of the Russian Society for Ecological Economics.

The event is hosted by a new St. Cloud State student organization, the Students for Sustainability club.

Pentel was a long-time organizer for Greenpeace and the Green Party of Minnesota.

Says Pentel: “In an ecology-based economy we would measure the health of the economy based upon the health of the natural resources. For example, when our water and soil become healthier, the economy is healthier. Each economic exchange would inherently restore air, water and soil to health and sustainability.”

"As long as we tolerate the growth economic model on a finite resource base, accept the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as an economic indicator and allow short-term thinking by way of quarterly balance sheets and yearly returns to measure success, we will fail. As long as we accept single member, winner-take-all election systems, we will fail. As long as we accept big money running/ruining our planet, we will fail. And even though many people know this they are content to tinker with the existing rotting economic and political systems."

For more than 25 years Pentel has been a grassroots organizer and candidate for public office in Minnesota. He started working in 1986 with Greenpeace in Minnesota as a canvasser, field manager, coalition builder, lobbyist, participating in direct actions and a public speaking.

In recent summers, Pentel has bicycled more than 6,000 miles across Minnesota, sharing his environmental and proressive messages.

Students for Sustainability was formed by a group of Herberger College of Business students who took a summer 2010 course from Safonov on Socio-Ecological-Economic Information Systems.

St. Cloud State's commitment to environmental sustainability is founded in, among other things, its participation in the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

President Earl H. Potter III signed that document in 2008.

The university's Faculty Task Force on Sustainability began work in 2008 and helped organize the 2009 Fall Convocation featuring ecological economist Robert Costanza. Work on the university's sustainability website is nearing completion.

For more information about the event or Students for Sustainability, contact Paul Safonov, faculty advisor, or Joseph Winch, club president.

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