Annual Environmental Forum to focus on protecting resources, creating solutions

There is increasing awareness that our everyday decisions have an impact on the environment and on people. This impact is often unseen and its cost (or benefit) unknown. News about electronic waste ending up in developing countries or the impact on drinking water from gas exploration makes us aware that our decisions impact people?s health and not just the environment. How can we improve people?s lives while at the same time protecting resources?

This is the question that will be explored at the 2010 Environmental Forum: ?Improving Lives, Protecting Resources:  The Challenge of Environmental Justice? on May 18 from 8 a.m. to noon in room 120 of the Frable Building at Penn State Greater Allegheny.

The featured speaker is Kristen Saacke Blunk, Director of the Penn State Agriculture & Environment Center (AEC), an initiative of the Environment and Natural Resources Institute. Saacke Blunk has 26 years of experience in environmental policy development and research: first as Environmental Manager for Tennessee?s Pollution Prevention and Environmental Awareness program, and subsequently as Executive Director of Clearwater Conservancy. Her experiences stretch beyond the borders of Pennsylvania to West Africa, Haiti and Central America, where she has found ways to address environmental problems, while simultaneously solving social inequities.

With the help of Outreach, the forum will be broadcast via PolyCom to three Commonwealth Campus locations: Penn State Harrisburg, Penn State Dickinson School of Law at Carlisle, and Penn State Greater Allegheny. To register, go to

In addition to Saacke Blunk?s talk, the forum will engage the audience in interactive activities where attendees are able to meet with colleagues from other departments and units, share perspectives on the issue of environmental justice and develop solutions.

The Environmental Forum has been a popular event for 4 years, drawing crowds of 200 people or more because of its focus on critical issues and practical solutions. 

The Environmental Forum is an annual educational event sponsored by the Finance & Business Environmental Stewardship Key Initiative and organized by the Campus Sustainability Office and a planning committee consisting of members from across campus. Every year, the Environmental Forum seeks to raise awareness among Penn State faculty and staff about critical sustainability issues and give them practical tools to implement effective solutions.

To learn more about Kristen Saacke Blunk, visit  To learn more about Penn State?s Campus Sustainability Office and overall commitment to sustainability in research, outreach, teaching, student engagement, and operations, go to: .