UW News

April 27, 2006

Oceans to Stars Lectures to explore ‘The Human Imprint’ on the environment

Humans, like all life, both alter their environment and are altered by it. The complex relationship between human beings and the environment from the perspectives of philosophy, law, policy making and societal institutions will be explored when the 2006 Oceans to Stars Lecture Series, “The Human Imprint.” The series kicks off in May at the UW.

This three-lecture series will examine the needs of people, habitats and communities and explain ecological communities as encompassing humans and the natural world.

It will also provide a broad-based understanding of social, cultural and ethical perspectives on environmental issues with a focus on how these perspectives intersect with and influence public policy, scientific, legal, industrial and corporate concerns.

The series features two experts from the UW and one from Georgia Institute of Technology. The lectures are presented by the UW Alumni Association and the UW Earth Initiative. They are at 7 p.m. in 120 Kane.

May 3: Restoring the Culture of Nature, by Andrew Light, associate professor of philosophy, UW. The first lecture in examines the popular notion that environmental ills are caused by our disconnection from nature. But eliminating all traces of human culture from the environment isn’t the answer. This lecture will look at the ways nature and culture can be integrated, our past mistakes managing the environment and our current attempts to act with more responsibility toward it.

May 10: The Rebirth of Environmentalism, by Bryan Norton, professor of philosophy at the School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology. The second lecture takes a look at environmentalism as pragmatic, adaptive management — not the old fight between environmental economics and environmental ethicists. A new system to bring about community-based, cooperative management is proposed as the way to get beyond the bitter, ideological battles of the past.

May 17: Baselines, Bad Memories, and Indian Tribes: Environmental Law in the Terrorist Era, by William Rodgers Jr., Stimson Bullitt Professor of Environmental Law, UW. The final lecture will address the directions, phase changes, reversals and wonders that constitute the environmental laws in the U.S. today. It will discuss the creative role of the Indian tribes in this developing law, drawing on examples from the laws of climate change, fishing restoration in the Everglades, cleanup of the Hawaiian island of Kaholawe, and the residue of the spill of the Exxon Valdez.

This lecture series is part of the UW Alumni Association’s Endless Campus programs promoting lifelong learning. All three lectures are free, but advance registration is required at UWalum.com or by calling the UWAA at 206-543-0540.