College News

CCCC's McMahan presents 'An Introduction to Sustainability' lecture

Click to enlarge,  Andrew McMahan, Chair for the Department of Sustainability at Central Carolina Community College, was the speaker for the college's first sustainable speaker series sponsored by the Richard and Rebecca Hayes Endowed Lecture Fund for Environmental Policy and Stewardship through the CCCC Foundation.

click image to enlarge ⊗

Andrew McMahan, Chair for the Department of Sustainability at Central Carolina Community College, ... (more)

Click to enlarge,  Andrew McMahan, Chair for the Department of Sustainability.

click image to enlarge ⊗

Andrew McMahan, Chair for the Department of Sustainability.

Click to enlarge,  Andrew McMahan (left), Chair for the Department of Sustainability at Central Carolina Community College, and CCCC President Dr. T. Eston Marchant (right), visits with Richard Hayes (second from left), Clare Hayes (center), and Rebecca Hayes (second from right). McMahan was the speaker for the college's first sustainable speaker series sponsored by the Richard and Rebecca Hayes Endowed Lecture Fund for Environmental Policy and Stewardship through the CCCC Foundation.

click image to enlarge ⊗

Andrew McMahan (left), Chair for the Department of Sustainability at Central Carolina Community College, ... (more)

Click to enlarge,  Andrew McMahan (left), Chair for the Department of Sustainability at Central Carolina Community College, visits with Richard Hayes (right). McMahan was the speaker for the college's first sustainable speaker series sponsored by the Richard and Rebecca Hayes Endowed Lecture Fund for Environmental Policy and Stewardship through the CCCC Foundation.

click image to enlarge ⊗

Andrew McMahan (left), Chair for the Department of Sustainability at Central Carolina Community College, ... (more)

10.31.2016Admin, Faculty & StaffCollege & CommunityCollege General

SANFORD - A significant shift toward sustainability is emerging worldwide as companies and environmental advocates seek ways to meet people's needs without compromising future generations, said Andrew McMahan at a lecture on Friday, Oct. 21, at Central Carolina Community College.

"An Introduction to Sustainability" was the first presentation in a new series sponsored by the Richard and Rebecca Hayes Endowed Lecture Fund for Environmental Policy and Stewardship.

McMahan, Chair for the college's Department of Sustainability, began by explaining why the approach is so important and how it balances human needs, environmental concerns, and economic profit.

After discussing slides showing recent environmental data and then explaining why oil is quickly disappearing, McMahan landed on the photo of a landfill to drive home his point. "Trash doesn't really just go away," he said. "It goes somewhere, and it's piling up."

Over the better part of an hour, McMahan mixed data, technical information, and recent innovations before arriving at some good news.

The way power is generated has been changing, he said. New plants using wind and solar energy have emerged over the last decade, and their numbers in the last two years have eclipsed all other new plants combined. How people use energy has changed as well. With green construction, buildings can be designed and built to operate with a fraction of the water or electricity needed before.

McMahan approaches sustainability as both a business owner and a scholar. He leads a small company operating a hydroelectric power plant on the Haw River in Bynum and has spent the last decade at CCCC working to improve sustainability training in the region and beyond.

A few years ago, he led a North Carolina Community College System initiative to integrate renewable energy training into vocational programs across the state. And since 2010, he has served as a delegate for a National Science Foundation project, collaborating with colleagues around the world to find the best practices available to train people in using renewable energy.

McMahan told students, faculty, and community members attending the lecture that people come to value sustainability for many reasons. Some are motivated by environmental concerns. Others become interested through their faith, personal interests, or even the potential for profit. But he urges all of them to learn more, get involved, and consider making changes in their lifestyles.

Even small changes, he said, can help.

Based on the Chatham Main Campus in Pittsboro, CCCC's sustainability curriculum currently offers a number of specializations in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and green construction.