The word “sustainability” has become part of our collective conversation, but many people may not realize the economic and societal depth and reach of adopting a sustainable lifestyle. Gary E. West College of Business management professor Dr. Vishakha Maskey hopes to change that through a series of unique “pop-up shows,” sponsored by the Lexicon of Sustainability. The first show will be held April 22 at the Children’s Museum of Wheeling.
“There is a growing interest and need locally to understand what sustainability really means,” said Maskey. “For example, the term ‘cage-free’ suggests eggs that come from chickens who are free to roam outdoors in a healthy setting, but that may not be true. Producers can use the term even if the chickens are kept in an overcrowded warehouse 24 hours a day, as long as they are not kept in cages.” Maskey’s pop-up show features unique, engaging posters which highlight some of these words that make up the vocabulary of sustainability.
A passion for sustainability prompted Maskey to apply for a grant from the Lexicon of Sustainability, a non-profit organization supported by WorldLink and funded in part by Google. According to their website, the Lexicon is a “multiplatform project based on a simple premise: people can’t be expected to live more sustainable lives if they don’t know the most basic terms and principles that define sustainability.”
The images in the pop-up show tell the story, according to Maskey. “As an economist, I am used to thinking about how we can create more output with less input. What is missing from the equation is the cost we can’t see – the long-term cost to the health and well-being of people and our environment.” She says there are many people in the local area who are taking the lead in pursuing a sustainable lifestyle, from the farm-to-table movement, to recycling, to local food co-ops. “There is a demand, and this is the time to embrace it,” says Maskey.
Maskey is also a member of West Liberty University’s new Sustainability Council and is currently teaching an honors seminar on Sustainable Living. For a schedule of the pop-up shows, visit http://www.lexiconofsustainability.com/pop-up-art-shows/upcoming/.