Public Release: 

ESF symposium focuses on 'New American Environmentalism'

Event celebrates inauguration of college president

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

A group of leading environmental scientists and policy experts will gather Sept. 11 at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) to discuss a New American Environmentalism.

Participating in a symposium held in connection with the inauguration of ESF's new president, the panelists will represent ESF and several other institutions: Syracuse University, the Mohawk Council of the Akwesasne, the U.S. Green Building Council, the Breakthrough Institute and the University of Manchester, U.K.

Titled "Foundations for a New American Environmentalism," the symposium's objectives are to invite reflection on the values, visions and strategies that have characterized environmentalism in the past, lay the groundwork for a continuing national conversation informed by science and compassion, and motivate and empower a new generation of students, citizens and young academics to re-imagine and reinvent the future in ways that enrich and strengthen relationships with the communities that form the living planet.

The symposium will run 1 to 5:30 p.m. in the Gateway Center on the ESF campus in Syracuse, N.Y. The following day, Dr. Quentin Wheeler will be inaugurated as the college's fourth president. Wheeler is an entomologist who is an internationally recognized taxonomist. He has been a tireless advocate of the importance of taxonomy and natural history museums to the exploration and conservation of biodiversity. He is founding director of the International Institute for Species Exploration.

The symposium Twitter chat will run concurrent with the symposium, giving attendees and others an opportunity to weigh in with their thoughts on the questions the panelists will grapple with. The chat will be moderated by @ESFNewEnv and use the hashtag #talkenvironment.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Thomas Lovejoy of George Mason University. Lovejoy is a conservation biologist who coined the term "biological diversity" and he founded the popular public television series, "Nature." Lovejoy serves as Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation. In 2010, he was elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University. The symposium moderator will be Tara Sonenshine, an adjunct faculty member and former distinguished fellow at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs. Sonenshine has served as under secretary with the Department of State and previously was an editorial producer of ABC News' "Nightline," and an off-air reporter at the Pentagon for ABC's "World News Tonight."

The symposium begins at 1 p.m. with a welcome by Dr. Valerie Luzadis, chair of the symposium organizing committee and the ESF Department of Environmental Studies. Lovejoy's keynote address will begin at 1:15 p.m.

Discussion sessions will run from 2 to 5 p.m. The schedule is as follows:

  • "Examining Environmental Values and the Relationships of Humans and Nature" (Emanuel Carter of the ESF Department of Landscape Architecture, Dr. Robin Kimmerer of the ESF Department of Environmental and Forest Biology and Dr. David Newman of the ESF Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management; and Alex Trembath of the Energy and Climate Program at the Breakthrough Institute of California), 2 to 2:55 p.m.
  • "Vision of the Future: What Do We Want and Is It Achievable?" (David Driesen of the Syracuse University College of Law; Dr. Karin Limburg of the ESF Department of Environmental and Forest Biology; Kevin Stack of the ESF Department of Sustainable Construction Management and Engineering and the U.S. Green Building Council; and Lilith Wyatt of A2A, the Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative), 3 to 3:55 p.m.
  • Systems-level Thinking: Bringing Together Values, Visions, Process and Institutions (Mark Lichtenstein of the Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions and Environmental Finance Center; Henry Lickers of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Department of the Environment; Dr. Laura Rickard of the ESF Department of Environmental Studies; and Dr. Niki Vermuelen of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester, U.K.), 4 to 4:55 p.m.

The symposium will conclude with closing commentary by Wheeler, 5 to 5:30 p.m.

The symposium will be webcast (contact for the webcast URL) and recorded to be posted following the event.


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