Sustainability with Dr. Pat Ferro


September 17, 2019
Sustainability at Gonzaga
The Office of Sustainability asked Dr. Pat Ferro (Mechanical Engineering) to share his thoughts and work towards sustainability.

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me, ‘sustainability’ is a practice, or a philosophy, or a mindset. It’s a way of thinking of everything from a sustainable point of view. What we do as individuals and as communities can be practiced sustainably, on a spectrum of possibility. We can always strive to increase the sustainability-ness of what we do.

How have you been involved in promoting sustainability on campus?

I’ve tried to tell people about the technologies that use hydrogen. There are large scale things that the world can do to decrease our use of hydrocarbons, and increase our ways of getting energy from hydrogen and related technologies. I also try to tell people about materials properties of embodied energy, which quantify how much energy was used to create a quantity of a material or how much CO2 was put into the atmosphere from creating a quantity of a material.

What are some things you do in your personal life to live sustainably?

I ride my bike to work sometimes, and sometimes take STA. I write on the backsides of printed out sheets of paper that otherwise would have been put into the blue recycle bin. I like to grow tomatoes, zucchini and sunflowers in our yard. I get growlers refilled.

How will you continue to promote sustainability at Gonzaga?

I’ll keep supporting it as much as possible. Someone told me one time that the best way to advocate for bike commuting is to be a bike commuter. Similarly, the best way to advocate for sustainability is to be sustainable.
Pat Ferro