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We act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote, they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions. But the results of the present profligacy are rapidly closing the options for future generations.
—Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, 1987
The idea that the decisions of our leaders should take account of future generations is one that most politicians are happy to pay lip service to. All too often, however, policy remains framed by the exigencies of today. In a time when governments are increasingly borrowing from their children and grandchildren, the need for intergenerational equity and justice has never been greater.
Selling Utah State University students on a new ‘Blue Goes Green’ fee to fund sustainability projects on campus has involved connecting sustainability with the students’ desires for freedom, saving money, physical fitness, and love.
Days prior to the February, 2011 Utah State University student referendum, the ‘green police’ were out in force issuing ‘citations’ to students who drove to school or placed recyclable items in the trash. The ‘citations’ were actually political leaflets from representatives of the USU College Republicans dressed in satirical law enforcement garb, protesting the “Blue Goes Green” ballot measure that would impose a 25 cent-per-credit-hour fee (averaging about $3 per student per semester) to fund a proposed Student Sustainability Office and...