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September 23, 2004 - The Sustainable Business program at Aquinas College, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan have joined together to host a workshop on Wednesday, September 29, in the Donnelly Center at Aquinas College on how U.S. energy choices affect our homeland security and security abroad. The workshop, which is open to the general public, begins with registration at 1 p.m. and concludes with a keynote speech starting at 6:15 p.m.

"Our council received a grant from the United Nations Foundation to organize a 'The People Speak: America's Role in the World' event this fall. We decided to focus on one topic: how US energy choices that both consumers and businesses make affect our security both here and abroad. We asked Aquinas College's Sustainable Business program and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council to help plan a series of workshops and plenary sessions to educate our members and other interested community members about this issue," said Dixie Anderson, Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan.

Tom Leonard, Executive Director of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, said, "Our working thesis for this workshop is that our national security requires us to become less dependent on fossil fuels because they are located in unfriendly, threatened and/or unstable countries."

Among the discussion topics:
What are the consequences of our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels?
What are the security implications?
To what extent are we willing to make sacrifices to reduce our dependence on oil?
What priority should the United States assign to the development of renewable energy technologies such as biofuels (plant-derived, clean-burning fuels) as a substitute to fossil fuels (non-renewable fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas)?

"The USA does not have the oil reserves necessary to make the country energy independent, but alternative and renewable sources of energy can be developed and made significant if there is leadership and R&D backing. Sustainable business ties in as a conservation strategy and as an originator of alternative & renewable technologies," said Dr. Matthew Tueth, Director of the Sustainable Business Program at Aquinas College.

Scheduled workshops include: Alternative Energy Technology; World Oil Reserves, Running Out?; Demystifying the Nuclear Power Issue; Conservation, the Low-Hanging Fruit; CAF? Standards/Automobile Economy

Automotive Consultant Dr. Sheila Ronis of The University Group in Rochester Hills will be the keynote speaker for the evening program. Her talk is entitled "U.S. Energy Policy and the National Security Strategy: The Need for U.S. Energy Independence."

Both the workshop and the evening program are open to interested community members. Cost for the entire program (afternoon workshops and evening presentation with Dr. Ronis) is $45 (includes coffee break and evening reception). Evening-only program with Dr. Ronis (includes evening reception) is $20.

Call the 24-hour reservation line (776-1721, mailbox #3) at the World Affairs Council and leave your reservation and credit card number with expiration date.

Schedule for the U.S. Energy Policy and the National Security
Wednesday, September 29
Donnelly Center, Aquinas College Campus (convenient parking right at building)
1 to 1:30 p.m. Registration
1:30 to 5:15 p.m. Workshops
5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Reception with Dr. Sheila Ronis, guest speaker
6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Keynote Speech: "U.S. Energy Policy and the National Security Strategy: The Need for U.S. Energy Independence"

This local workshop is part of a nationwide initiative called, "The People Speak: America's Role in the World" funded by the United Nations Foundation. Our community now joins with thousands of other Americans who understand that our role in the world has changed dramatically in recent years.