Widgets Magazine


Editorial: FutureFest makes great strides for sustainability

This past Saturday, a wide variety of people and organizations, from Engineers for a Sustainable Stanford to NAACP, came together for one common goal: the need for interdisciplinary, collective action to face the challenges that threaten our future. Over four hundred people participated in the day-long event, which included musical and dance performances, a sustainable fashion show, poetry, a speech by Van Jones and a concert by De la Soul. FutureFest was much more than a hippie green festival. It was not heavily politicized with conservation organizations or pictures of fuzzy polar bears. It was a festival about far-reaching, holistic solutions to the world’s future challenges.

While a lot of the content displayed at the booths was environmental in nature, those in attendance would not venture to say that the purpose of the event was simply environmental. It was about sustainability, in every sense of the word–about exploring sustainable solutions for social, economic and environmental challenges facing our future.

The event was organized by Students for a Sustainable Stanford (SSS) with dozens of co-sponsors. It featured booths on water, waste, energy and sustainable food. The last booth was the “vision” room, where attendants were encouraged to share their vision for the future and say a pledge they called “Taking the First Step.” In this statement of the Stanford Community Agreement, participants pledged to seek and create an educational structure that prepares current and future students to tackle the problems facing the Stanford community in the future, and to catalyze innovation in different fields to co-create a sustainable Stanford. The event invited students, administrators, faculty, staff and community members alike to unite skill-sets, interests and resources to reach common goals to improve the University and the world.

The keynote speech was delivered by Van Jones, an environmental and human rights activist and a former green jobs advisor for the Obama administration in 2009. Jones called on Stanford students especially to take advantage of their immense opportunities while living in a hotspot of green technology. He accentuated that the struggle for sustainability is not just an environmental one, but one of justice. Jones claimed to have a attended “radical school” as a child, one in which he pledged allegiance to “liberty and justice for all.” He called for the fair democratization of natural resources and job opportunities. He spoke of “equal protection in the age of climate change,” and of the immense potential of green jobs in refueling our economy.

The Editorial Board wishes to praise SSS and GAIA for their great efforts in organizing such an inclusive and interdisciplinary event. We hope it sets an example for future coalitions amongst groups and researchers alike, aiming to unite efforts on common interests pertinent to the whole community.

About Editorial Board

Editorials represent the views of The Stanford Daily, an independent newspaper serving Stanford and the surrounding community. The Daily's Editorial Board consists of President and Editor-in-Chief Victor Xu '17, Executive Editor Will Ferrer '18, Managing Editor of Opinions Michael Gioia '17, Desk Editor of Opinions Jimmy Stephens '17, Senior Staff Writer Kylie Jue '17, Senior Staff Writer Olivia Hummer '17 and Senior Staff Writer Andrew Vogeley '17. To contact the Editorial Board chair, submit an op-ed (limited to 700 words) or submit a letter to the editor (limited to 500 words) at eic@stanforddaily.com.