Sustainable is a popular word these days. But what does it mean to live an ecologically sustainable lifestyle? What roles should consumers, governments, and businesses play in promoting ecological and economic sustainability? Are there trade-offs between local, regional, national, and international sustainability?

On Thursday, February 4, 2010, the public will have a unique opportunity to gain insight into these and other questions when the Green Mountain Global Forum hosts a panel of highly knowledgeable individuals who will discuss ways in which our individual consumption decisions can help or hinder local and global sustainability.

Members of the panel include: Dr. Saleem Ali, Associate Professor in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, UVM; Michael Dupee, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters; and Christopher Bray, Vermont State Representative from Addison County. Each of the panelists brings particular expertise and experiences to the examination of these issues.

Dr. Ali teaches in the Environmental Studies program at UVM, is on the adjunct faculty at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, and is also on the visiting faculty of the United Nations mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts and how ecological factors can promote peace. He has authored numerous books and articles including most recently, Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future (2009, Yale University Press). Copies of his book will be available for purchase at the Tempest Book Shop in Waitsfield. Prior to his academic career, Ali worked as an environmental health and safety professional at General Electric. He holds degrees from MIT, Yale University, and Tufts University.

Dupee leads GMCR's overall corporate social responsibility efforts, including managing the company's allocation of 5% of pre-tax earnings into socially responsible projects. Sustainability priorities of the company include: supporting organizations in Vermont and in coffee growing communities that are working directly to reduce poverty, alleviate hunger, reduce solid waste, and promote responsible energy use; collecting and analyzing data on GMCR's energy use and estimated greenhouse gas emissions to help reduce the corporation's impact on the environment; reducing the corporation's landfill-waste stream through recycling and composting; and selling more Fair Trade Certified™ coffee than ever before — over 7 million pounds of coffee, representing over 27% of total pounds shipped. Prior to joining GMCR, Dupee was a VP at Goldman Sachs. He holds JD and MBA degrees from Georgetown University, and a BA in history from Boston College.

Bray has served as state representative from Addison County District 5 since 2007. He co-sponsored the recently enacted Farm-to-Plate Initiative. This legislation leverages federal stimulus funds to promote the development of local agriculture in Vermont in order to strengthen the rural economy, support healthier eating, and promote ecologically sustainable farming practices. He is clerk of the Agriculture Committee and serves on a number of other key caucuses and committees including: the Governor's Dairy Task Force, The Vermont Forestry Commission, the Middlebury Area Land Trust, and the Vermont Milk Commission. Bray holds BA and MA degrees in Zoology and English from UVM and is the Founder/Owner of Common Ground Communications and a farmer.

View publicity poster.

Venue: The Big Picture Theater in Waitsfield, 7 p.m. start. The public is welcome to attend this free event.