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Flora tells EWU students sustainability is the best way to health


As founder and executive director for Sustainable Obtainable Solutions, Gloria Flora uses her 22- years of experience in the Forest Service to inform and motivate locals to move toward a more sustainable lifestyle.

Flora delivered the keynote address for EWU’s first “Start Something Green: Sustainability Symposium” Feb. 25.

While she addressed an audience of students, faculty and staff, Flora told them that it’s important to live a sustainable lifestyle now as the best course to secure a healthy and safe lifestyle for future generations.

She discussed current vogue methods of “being green,” such as the “Top 10 Ways to Reduce your Carbon Footprint,” which she admits is a good start in moving toward a more permanent solution, but are sentimentally the leaves and that “we need to solve the problems in the trunk of the tree.”

The concept of sustainability is a simple idea to understand, but a complex one to explain, what Flora calls a true hard science.

Through a model of “back-casting,” Flora asked what are your desired conditions versus your existing conditions.

“We need to rebuild an adaptive system to become more resilient ourselves,” said Flora.

She impressed upon the need for truly renewable systems that are not detrimental to natural resources.

Flora commented on living excessively without regard to consumption and the constant desire for more and new goods throughout industrialized nations.

The concept of green living may be considered environmentalist rhetoric to some but nonetheless a message that EWU Dining Services, who coordinated the symposium, wanted to reiterate.

“Our mission was to promote and educate the idea of sustainability,” Kelsey Mae Crane, of the campus Sustainability Committee, said of her drive to undertake coordinating the day of events, which included breakout discussions, panel questions and a raffle.

“We want to change campus culture.”

Crane is also a friend of Flora and felt completely at ease asking her to speak at the symposium, noting that she is a local wealth of knowledge and with multiple accolades.

Flora has received multiple awards such as the Wilderness Society’s Murie Award and the 2003 Environmental Hero Award from Sunset Magazine.

Kelsey Lavelle can be reached at


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