Earth, Water, Fire, and Air





By Austin Bream

These four elements define our modern environments, from the resources that nourish us to the habitats we live in to the motivators that fuel our actions. Just four elements and yet they form the basis for our everyday existence. For this basic reason, we, the Student Sustainability Association at Penn (SSAP), are hosting The Element Series. Over the course of this year, we will examine these four elements and how understanding them helps us understand sustainability and allows us to construct our future.

We begin with Earth on October 7th. Green Architect William Marston opens our conversation on urban agriculture before our screening of Growing Cities. We gather to discuss our growing cities and explore how our food supplies can keep up.

We continue our conversations with Water in early November. As IGEL hosts a Water Conference, we too explore our relationship with water. Through a speaker panel and a collective trip to a water treatment facility we examine Philadelphia’s water treatment programs and how we can be better stewards of our water habitats.

After the semester break, we conclude our Element Series with Fire and Air. In conjunction with Penn Green Campus Partnerships’ Power Down Challenge in February, we host a forum on fire, exploring the burning of fossil fuels and the potential for improvements in the energy sphere. And we conclude with a discussion of air to analyze how this vital resource can be protected and utilized for our sustained existence.

Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. Four elements define our modern environments. Four elements form the basis for our understanding of sustainability. And thus these four elements serve as the cornerstone of our year-long series as we set out to redefine our relationship with our environment. Join us.

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