Pacific Northwest Sustainability Conference Unites Advocates

The Center for Sustainable Communities at Willamette University will host a sustainability conference, "Creating Synergies: Community, University and Business," April 20 and 21 in Salem, Ore.

Registration is free for all conference attendees thanks to a generous gift. Attendees who have sent in a registration fee will receive a full refund. A limited number of student scholarships are available to defray the cost of travel and lodging. To apply for a scholarship, note interest on the registration form.

The conference will provide a forum for business leaders, professionals, scholars, students and activists from throughout the Northwest to share experiences, network and explore opportunities for collaboration. All are welcome.

Presentations and discussion panels will address the "four E's" of sustainability: environment, equity, economics and education. Topics will include sustainable business management, designing sustainable spaces, green legislation in Oregon, the religious movement for social justice, sustainable forest practices, sustainability and the law, student sustainability scholarship, sustainable supply chains, social justice, pesticide-free gardening, faith perspectives, and business perspectives on sustainability in Salem, Ore.

There are still openings for presenters. Please complete the online submission form at

Saturday field trips will include visits to businesses and communities that are guided by sustainable principles, including LifeSource Natural Foods, a wind-powered store that sells 100 percent organic produce; Pringle Creek Community, a neighborhood guided by principles of community-oriented planning, earth-friendly construction and energy-efficient practices; and the Oregon Garden, which offers more than 20 specialty gardens on 80 acres in historic Silverton. A guided hike in the Cascade Mountains will also be available.

A free Earth Day celebration Sunday, April 22, at Salem's Riverfront Park will feature food, music, information booths and activities for children. There will be opportunities to browse children's books with sustainability themes and learn about sustainable lifestyles. Native plants will be given away by the Willamette University student organization ECOS (Ecological Community Outreach Society), along with planting tips.

Two documentaries will be shown Friday night at 6:30 at Salem's Grand Theatre as part of the conference. "The Future of Food" focuses on unlabeled, genetically engineered foods in U.S. grocery stores, and "Martinis in the Bike Lane" takes a look at the unique bike lane markings in Portland, Ore. The films are free to conference participants and Willamette students and staff with ID. Tickets for the general public are $5 at the door. Refreshments will be provided by LifeSource Natural Foods.

Conference partners offer hotel accommodations within walking distance of Willamette University. Salem is served by shuttle service from Portland International Airport, Amtrak and Greyhound Bus Lines. Attendees are encouraged to help make the conference a carbon neutral event by purchasing carbon credits at TerraPass, at (Carbon credits fund renewable energy projects that reduce greenhouse gases, offsetting carbon dioxide emitted when people drive or fly.) Directions and campus maps are available online.

Visit or contact Joe Bowersox at (503) 370-6220 for information.