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Lecture focuses on sustainable solutions

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Andrea Molina
Staff Writer

In honor of Earth Day, Renee Comly, president and CEO of Biomass Energy Systems, Inc., spoke about creating local sustainability by developing strategies to eliminate contaminants that harm communities across the globe.  

Roughly 100 attended this year’s Robert and Mary Neher Sustainability Lecture, held April 22 via Zoom.

Throughout her presentation, Comly described the interconnected and integrated ways in which she and her collaborators are addressing sustainability challenges.  

“Developing tools for global sustainability has been a part of my life for almost 20 years,” Comly said. “At this point, I have found there are many ways to look at how to get to sustainability. It is not a destination but a process.” 

Comly talked about her work in Costa Rica and Vietnam with “gasification” systems to desalinate water. Converting salt water into fresh water secures water supplies in areas lacking natural groundwater or surface water supplies, she said. 

Comly said she has traveled extensively for her environmental work. She’s worked in Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, India, China and Singapore, she said. 

Comly’s firm is a woman-owned engineering company focused on renewable energy, as well as a research facility funded by the military. 

Comly works primarily in waste energy and purifying water spaces. She has also partnered with elected officials, business leaders and environmentalists, on eliminating plastic waste. 

Her company also offers disposal solutions for traditionally challenging wastes, including tires, dewatered sewage, oils, gloves, engine filters, organic solvents and other nonhazardous materials and create a specified energy type. 

This  Earth Day lecture was co-sponsored by the philosophy and religion department, the Botany and Gardening Club, and Students Engaged in Environmental Discussion and Service, or SEEDS.

University President Devorah Lieberman introduced the lecture as “much more than just a lecture.

“It is also an event that showcases the ongoing work in sustainability that is conducted at the University of La Verne by administrators, faculty, staff, and students… a celebration of our common vision for more than a sustainable planet,” she said.

Andrea Molina can be reached at andrea.molinamartinez@laverne.edu.

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