Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

Pratt Institute professor reviews SM's LCA workshop: "Quantitative Sustainability and the Practice of Life Cycle Analysis"

By Guest contributors on June 5, 2009

This post is by Christopher X J. Jensen, Ph.D. assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Science at Pratt Institute. He is also active in Sustainable Pratt's efforts to bring ecologically-conscious practices to the campus and beyond. Christopher was an active participant in Sustainable Minds’ life cycle analysis (LCA) workshop at Pratt Institute on May 23rd, and wrote an extensive review of the event.

Quantitative sustainability and the practice of life cycle analysis

Pratt Institute, where my primary duties are to teach students about ecology and evolution, is undergoing a green revolution. In many ways this is not all that remarkable: many campuses are “greening” themselves and at least pitching the idea that they are becoming more sustainable. At Pratt, there’s something slightly different going on: we aren’t just trying to green our campus, we are trying to green our students. Because Pratt is a design school and most of our students are trained to make things (from consumer products to buildings to cityscapes and lots of things in between), we have the responsibility to not just change the way our campus impacts our environment, but also to reduce the impact of our students’ future designs. There’s a tremendous power in that mandate, and also the peril of doing it poorly.

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