Faculty Seminar/Presentation Descriptions
On Friday, August 31st, you will choose one of the following presentations to attend. These presentations will cover a variety of issues that are connected to the FYM theme and will be presented from various perspectives and by faculty and other experts with a wide variety of scholarly interests. Not only will these presentations introduce you to a few of the faculty members at Wesleyan; they will also inform the smaller group discussions that will follow.
How Wesleyan Eco-Tools is Changing the World and What You Can Do To Be Part of It
Bill Nelligan, Director of Environmental Health, Safety, and Sustainability
Mary Alice Haddad, Associate Professor of Government and College of the Environment Fellow
What began as a conversation in a Beijing Starbucks between a Wes alum and a Wes professor has blossomed into a collaborative project among Wesleyan students, faculty, staff, and the award-winning Chinese environmental advocate Ma Jun. Wesleyan Eco-Tools offers a user-friendly guide to eco-purchasing that encourages individuals and institutions to ensure that the products they buy, which are often made in China, are using green supply chains. The Wesleyan produced Eco-Map creates a pollution map of campus; while currently focusing on energy use, it will soon be expanded to include solid waste, water consumption, and carbon sinks. Come and learn what the Class of 2016 can do to transform this map of the campus and change the world for the better in the process.
The Problem of the Commons
John Hall, Executive Director of the Jonah Center for Earth and Art; Member of the Middletown Clean Energy Task Force, and the originator and convener of the Environmental Impact Network
What can we observe about "human nature" and our tendency to exploit natural resources and each other? Can humans live "sustainably"? What cultural, economic, political, and technological opportunities and dangers do we face as human population rises, economies falter, and key resources, such as water, food, and energy, become more expensive and difficult to produce?
Energy to Waste: A Case Study
Janet Brooks '76, is a lawyer with an independent practice in environmental, administrative, and land use law; member of the nine-person Council on Environmental Quality, and former Assistant Attorney General responsible for environmental enforcement in the Connecticut Attorney General's Office.
The Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority owns a power plant next to its trash-to-energy plant in Hartford's South Meadows; this plant operates during periods of peak demand for electricity, burning jet fuel to operate its turbines. The jet fuel exacerbates the deleterious effects of high heat and humidity on air quality and disproportionately affects the low-income residents who live closest to the plant. The Council on Environmental Quality, a state agency that operates independently of Connecticut's DEEP (Department of Energy and Environmental Protection), has challenged the extension of the license that allows the plant to continue using this high-particulate fuel.
Brian Stewart, Associate Professor of Physics and Environmental Studies, an expert on energy who has teamed up with actors and dancers to present important concepts in physics.
Krishna Winston, Professor of German Studies and Environmental Studies, Director of Service Learning, and Chair of Middletown Recycling Commission, which is currently bringing the Zero Waste concept to Middletown.
Judd Hall 116
A scientist and a humanist will conduct a dialogue on modern "scientific" farming methods, including genetic modification of plants and animals, and the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones to improve yields for a growing population. They will discuss the long-term effects on the health of living things and the soil, air and water on which life as we know it depends.
Food Access in the Floodzone: The Case of Vietnamese Gardening After Hurricane Katrina
Marguerite Nguyen, Assistant Professor of English
Exley Science Center 058
We are in a time of climate change and natural disasters that are reshaping our communities, especially ones that have been historically marginalized or neglected. Join this presentation to learn about how a Vietnamese American community in post-Katrina New Orleans has drawn from its history of war and migration to spearhead some of the most innovative techniques in urban farming. The connections we will make about race and food in the aftermath of a hurricane will show how the kind of critical thinking that happens every day at Wesleyan can lead to a more informed understanding of our many foodways and the extent to which humans can act within them.
Dancing Bodies: Critical and Experiential Investigation of Health, Wellness and Social Justice
Katja Kolcio, Associate Professor of Dance and Environmental Studies
Fayerweather Dance Studio
Our notions of health and wellness are rooted in our awareness and experience of our physical selves. Through its focus on physical awareness, dance gives us the opportunity to examine and define health and wellness through personal and communal experiences. In this session we will engage in various movement explorations that help us critically examine constructs of health and wellness, and their implications for social/environmental justice.
Be prepared to move. No previous dance experience necessary.
Human Environmental Impact and the Spread of the Cholera Bacillus
William Johnston, Professor of History, East Asian Studies, and Science and Society
Exley Science Center 121
The main theme of this session will be the question of why cholera pandemics started only in the early nineteenth century, when pandemics of bubonic plague, for example, occurred much earlier. It is possible that human environmental impacts changed the evolutionary development of the cholera bacillus in a way that made this possible. The only way we can know for sure is through a skillful use of both science and history.
"Just Human": An Eternal Oxymoron Through the Lenses of Karl Marx, Dr. Suess, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and Grace Potter
Barry Chernoff, Professor of Biology, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies, and Director of the College of the Environment
Shanklin Hall 107
"Environmental Justice" depends on one's point of view. "Just" for whom? And who benefits? Are the consequences of our actions, societal and personal, a matter of legacy? In this multi-media presentation and guerilla theater, we will explore the eternal braid of humanity, development, and nature over the last 20,000 years.