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Peter Wege Releases New Book, "Economicology II"

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Underwriting support from:

/Erin Wilson

/Denise Cheng

/Denise Cheng

The Wege Foundation hosted a press conference today, to announce the release of Peter Wege's newest book, "Economicology II."  Local media were well represented, including WGVU's Shelley Irwin, GR Press and several local television news reporters. 

Wege Foundation CEO Ellen Satterlee began the press conference by introducing "Economicology II" as part of "Mr. Wege's vision to bring a balance between economics and ecology."

Satterlee said Mr. Wege hopes colleges and universities will use the book to broaden the conversation about sustainability - and to get engaged with the works of authors that (Mr. Wege) references in "Economicology II."  Among those referenced in the book are Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., economist Thomas Friedman, and environmental leader John Gardner (who served in Pres. Lyndon Johnson's administration.) 

Wege Foundation Vice-President Terri McCarthy said that all proceeds from the online sales of "Economicology II" will be donated to the Center of Economicology, at City High-Middle School (a Grand Rapids Public School).

Satterlee said Mr. Wege is donating more than 1,400 copies of "Economicology II" to colleges and universities. 

Lovell added that Mr. Wege's writings are being taught presently at Aquinas, which "was the first local college to get on board with sustainability."

In "Economicology II," Mr. Wege pointed to the U.S. mobilization during World War II as an example of what the country can do, as a whole, to change direction and confront adversity.  Rapidian asked whether Mr. Wege were hopeful sustainability could be realized before climate change became as severe a threat as Nazi Germany, for example. 

Lovell ("Economicology II" Editor) said "the public, rather than accepting climate change is real, has increased doubts.

"So, instead of minimizing (climate change)," Lovell continued, "there has been a three-prong approach: you mitigate the damage, you adapt to it, and you deal with the harm it causes.  Those are the only options we have (without change) the harm is inevitable."

Rapidian asked about Mr. Wege's thoughts on sustainable farming, specifically the newly announced Urban Market, planned to open in the Heartside neighborhood, on Ionia Street.  "Economicology II" Editor Susan Lovell said "Mr. Wege has long advocated for smaller farming, and for people to take advantage of excellent options like Heffron Farms, and the Farmers Markets, and we're all very excited about the proposed urban market downtown."

Lovell pointed out that "farms are a major industry in Michigan, so embracing smaller farms helps both the economy and the ecology."

A fair portion of "Economicology II" focuses on the health of the Great Lakes.  Rapidian asked - if Mr. Wege added another chapter to the book - what he'd say about foreign marine life, such as "Asian carp." 

Lovell said Mr. Wege always has been adamant that canals should be closed, including the St. Lawrence Seaway.  "He has long said you should not mess with nature," Lovell added.  "When you pull on one thing, in nature, there is something that goes out of place somewhere else."  Lovell said this is evident with recent invasions of "Asian carp" and other predator marine life (like Zebra mussels.)

Mr. Wege published his previous work, "Economicology: The Eleventh Commandment," in 1998. 

Peter Wege created the Wege Foundation in 1967, with a mission focused on education, environment, arts & culture, healthcare and community service.  Mr. Wege was born in Grand Rapids in 1920.  He retired from the board at Steelcase in 1999.

Disclosure: Wealthy Theatre's main house is named after Mr. Wege, who has been a longtime supporter of urban core neighborhood theatre. This article was written by Erin Wilson, director of Wealthy Theatre.

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