Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences Slates Symposium on Environmental Sustainability

Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences Slates Symposium on ‘Environmental Sustainability’

8/27/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences will present its biennial multi-part Symposium Against Indifference with this year’s series titled “Environmental Sustainability.” All events for the symposium are free and open to the public.

The College of Arts and Sciences inaugurated the ‘Symposium Against Indifference’ in 2003 as a biennial series of events and lectures,” said Dr. Dawn Weber, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The symposium is dedicated to overcoming apathy in the face of human concerns by raising awareness and promoting compassionate engagement.”

This year’s symposium coordinator is Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, trustees’ professor of chemistry, who said the events comprising this year’s symposium will explore issues related to creating a sustainable world, from climate to environmental pollution to agricultural practices and more.

“As Dr. Patricia Saunders, director of AU's Environmental Science program, states in her introduction to the symposium (, ‘Environmental sustainability is about people. The environment is where we live, and we make choices about how to go about doing so and who and what else matters…our choices make a difference’,” Weidenhamer said.

This year’s symposium schedule includes:

·  Jenita McGowan, chief of Sustainability for the City of Cleveland, who will discuss “Building a Green City on a Blue Lake” on Monday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Trustees’ Room of Myers Convocation Center. McGowan will speak about Sustainable Cleveland 2019, a 10-year initiative to engage Clevelanders from all walks of life in creating a more sustainable city. This initiative seeks to develop new strategies that allow Cleveland to use sustainability as an innovation engine for economic growth, while also reducing the city’s ecological footprint with solutions that save the city money. She will discuss how everyone can take action to promote sustainability at home, at work and in the community. The event is co-sponsored by the Morgan Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Environmental Science Program.

·  The film “Waste Land” that will be shown on Monday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. The film follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to reimagine their lives. “Waste Land” offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit. The film, which will be followed by a brief discussion, is co-sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence.

·  The film “Nerve: How a Small Kentucky Town Led the Fight to Safely Dismantle the World’s Chemical Weapons” that will be presented on Monday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. The film (with original score by Ben Sollee) tells the 25-year David vs. Goliath story of how a humble Vietnam vet and carpenter Craig Williams (2006 winner of the Goldman Prize – the “green Nobel” – for his work), galvanized his town to break down political barriers, spark a worldwide movement and take on the Pentagon to stop dangerous chemical weapons incineration for the sake of the environment and human health around the world. This inspiring story with small-town roots but profound global impact has the potential to empower ordinary people to take on the most overwhelming environmental challenges successfully, with fresh eyes and renewed vigor. The film, which will be followed by a brief discussion, is co-sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence.

·  Moral theologian Jana Bennett, who will discuss “Pope Francis, The Environment and Christian Life” on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Ridenour Room of the Dauch College of Business and Economics. In writing his recent encyclical “Laudator Si,” many readers have accused the pope of stepping into political and economic questions about which he knows little. In her presentation, Bennett will suggest that a different reading of the encyclical will help us dig deep into Christian tradition and perhaps think a bit differently about environmental concerns. Bennett is associate professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton, where she teaches theology and ethics. She co-edits, a blog that discusses liturgy, scripture and current issues in relation to moral questions. She is currently writing a book on moral theology and Christian contemplation. The event is co-sponsored by the Departments of Religion and Philosophy, Philosophy Club and the Newman Center.

·  The film “Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1” that will be presented on Monday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. On March 1, 1954, the U.S. detonated a hydrogen bomb in the Castle Bravo test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The largest atomic test blast conducted by the United States, the yield of the Castle Bravo bomb was 1000 times greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The film by Adam Jonas Horowitz is a shocking political exposé, and an intimate ethnographic portrait of Pacific Islanders struggling for survival, dignity and justice after decades of top secret human radiation experiments conducted on them by the U.S. government. The film, which will be followed by a brief discussion, is co-sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence.

·  Author and educator David Orr who will present a lecture titled “Education in a Hotter Time: Climate Change and the University” on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in the Trustees’ Room of Myers Convocation Center. Orr argues that institutions of higher education are in a great position to lead, to educate differently, to buy differently and to build their buildings differently. In Orr’s words, “the worth of education must now be measured against the standards of decency and human survival.” Orr is counselor to the president at Oberlin College and Steven A. Minter Fellow at the Cleveland Foundation. He is the author of seven books, including “Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse” (Oxford, 2009). He has served on the boards of many organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. His honors include a Lyndhurst Prize and a National Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation. The event is co-sponsored by the Ashland University Honors Program.

·  Environmental philosopher Bill Vitek who will discuss “The Perennial Imagination and the Creative Ground: Cultivating Deep Roots in Land and People” on Tuesday, March 15, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in the Trustees’ Room of Myers Convocation Center. The “invention” of agriculture 12,000 years ago marked a profound shift in how food calories were produced and consumed. With it came new ideas about how best to live in complex cultures fueled by an unprecedented energy bounty. Vitek, professor of Philosophy and chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Clarkson University, traces the development of three distinct periods in this history, with a focus on the last two centuries and the awakening of a new consciousness about our place on a living, creative planet and its potential to reshape food production. With the material means and the philosophical foundations now available as sources of sustenance for body and mind, will people embrace an ecospheric worldview? Must we?

·  Ashland alumnus Wayne Goodman who will address “Carbon Dioxide Sequestration and Sustainable Energy” on Thursday, March 31, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. in 112 Kettering Science Center. As a consulting geologist on numerous projects in the Michigan Basin and surrounding region, Goodman’s primary focus is on exploration, development and enhanced recovery projects using and sequestering anthropogenic carbon dioxide. Goodman is part of the operating and technical team for the Midwest Region Sequestration Partnership, which is conducting detailed geological, geophysical and petrophysical studies of rock properties in carbon dioxide sequestration zones in deep saline reservoirs in Michigan. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Chemistry, Geology & Physics.

·  Public health scientist Bruce Lanphear who will present a lecture titled “Victories in Public Health: Progress or Adaptation?” on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in the Trustees’ Room of Myers Convocation Center. Americans have an unwavering belief that biomedical technology will solve our health problems. This belief is fueled by successful technologies, like vaccines, as well as the profit motive. Paradoxically, many innovative technologies of the past, such as smoking, motor vehicles and guns are killing people today. Using common diseases like heart disease, childhood leukemia, ADHD and autism as case studies, Lanphear, clinician scientist at BC Children’s Hospital and professor of Children’s Environmental Health at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, will set up a forum to dialogue about whether the ultimate goal should be to search for the cause or the cure, whether people should be more strategic about the types of technologies they embrace and how we invest our health dollars. The event is co-sponsored by the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

·  Author and educator Scott Russell Sanders who will address “Human Health and Common Wealth” on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. Today’s society is a culture obsessed with private financial wealth. People pay less attention and offer less protection to the forms of wealth that are shared, especially the goods of nature, such as the atmosphere and oceans, and the goods of culture, such as the arts and public parks and legal institutions. Sanders’ slide lecture will identify elements of our common wealth, explain why they are vital to human well-being, and explore ways in which they might be reclaimed and restored. Sanders, distinguished professor of English at Indiana University, is the author of 20 books of fiction and nonfiction, including “A Private History of Awe” and “A Conservationist Manifesto.” The event is co-sponsored by the Department of English.

·  Ashland alumnus Marc Klingshirn who will make a presentation titled “My Chemical Romance with Green Chemistry” on Thursday, April 14, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. in 112 Kettering Science Center. Green chemistry can most easily be thought of as “sustainable chemistry.” It is a tool box that allows one to think about chemical processes from an environmental perspective. Klingshirn’s presentation will give a brief introduction to green chemistry with selected examples to illustrate how this mode of thinking has shaped his teaching, research and career. Klingshirn is associate professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois Springfield, where he directs the Honors Program. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Chemistry, Geology & Physics.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###

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