BENNINGTON>> The price of plastic bags, bottles and other consumer waste that end up on landfills may seem small. But it does cost something, according to Karenna Gore — our integrity.

It's a symptom of a culture that promotes consumption and disposal.

"Many of us don't know where our food comes from and where our waste even goes," Gore, the oldest daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, said in an interview Thursday. "We consume more and eat more... We live in this disconnected space from where our ancestors did.

Gore, the Director of the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) at Union Theological Seminar in New York City, will speak at a fundraiser in Southern Vermont College's Everett Mansion at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for children with all proceeds benefiting SVC's environmental initiatives and the CEE. Dinner by Ramunto's Pizza will be included. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available at Ramunto's on 519 Main St. and the SVC Web site at www.svc.edu/earth.

Gore's talk, "Integrity and the Earth, Valuing Where We Come From to Protect What We Love," will follow an afternoon of events celebrating All-Species Day at the TD parking lot and Hart lot at 520 Main St. in Bennington.

Gore received an M.A. in Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary, a J.D. from Columbia Law School and an A.B. from Harvard University. She previously worked as a lawyer and a Director of Community Affairs for the Association to Benefit Children.


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Her talk will focus, in part, on a change in how society views the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

"I think we've reached a point where there's a new level of environmental consciousness, and an overwhelming quality to it," she said. "We're just realizing how much our culture is based around the natural world."

The concept of the natural world effecting society was a foreign concept for many, she said. But that's been changed by many people around the country experiencing effects of climate change.

"People on the front lines of pollution have known this a long time," she said. "It's why they are the best leaders in the climate movement, whether they experienced negative effects of pollution or stronger droughts."

The college has an ethical responsibility to promote discussion on issues of environmentalism, SVC President David Evans said. He spoke of the importance of "setting the tone" among students and other campus community members to consider the environmental ethics of their daily decisions.

"I'm hoping it will lay the ground work for future initiative," he said. "There are students interested in environmental issues and I want them to know their institution is paying attention to them."

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979