Symposium 2006

October 2-4, 2006
Lewis & Clark College

Monday, October 2nd

Panel Session: Environmentalism: Birth, Death, and Future

3:00 PM, Templeton Student Center

American environmentalism has been one of the most significant social movements of recent decades. Yet a growing number of critics believe that the movement has become a relic and a failure. What is its history and where is it heading? Is environmentalism ill equipped to face the global challenges of our day? If environmentalism is “dead,” as Shellenberger and Nordhaus have declared, what should take its place?

Panel Session: Climate: Time for a Change?

4:30 PM, Templeton Student Center

Many consider global climate change to be the most serious environmental
issue facing humanity, but not all share this view. U.S. political leaders have been reluctant to address the issue, often citing the complicated science involved and the economic costs. Meanwhile, the emissions of many greenhouse gases continue relatively unabated. Even the Kyoto Protocol has been criticized as ultimately ineffectual. Is it is time for fresh thinking on climate change?

Tuesday, October 3rd

Panel Session: Saving Species? Reconsidering Conservation in the Pacific Northwest

3:00 PM, Templeton Student Center

The protection of species ranging from the northern spotted owl to wild salmon to flora and fauna of lesser note has been a major focus of environmentalism in the Pacific Northwest. One contentious aspect of species protection has been habitat conservation, which has the potential to affect human lives and livelihoods in significant and diverse ways. Do we need to rethink this defining feature of our region’s environmental movement?

Panel Session: Whose Nature? Taming a Wild Idea

4:30 PM, Templeton Student Center

As Raymond Williams said, “Nature is perhaps the most complex word in the [English] language.” Many contemporary environmental conflicts involve issues that transcend any ready distinction between “natural” and “unnatural,” and some scholars are calling for a critical reappraisal of the idea of wilderness. Are these intellectually dubious concepts in need of revision?

Wednesday, October 4

Panel Session: Local and Global: Rethinking Place

The phrase “Think globally, act locally” is used to encourage local-level participation in place-based activities designed to address global issues. But some argue that increasingly significant connections between “local” and “global” phenomena call into question the validity of these distinctions. What are the relationships between local and larger processes and how can they inform a search for new environmental understandings and strategies?

Panel Session: New Political Strategies

In the last few years there has been a lull in environmental legislation in the United States and many landmark laws have been weakened. Has the political process turned environmentalism from a people’s movement into a political lobby? Is the political process now too lengthy and ineffective to be of use to those trying to achieve environmental goals?

Keynote Address: The Death of Environmentalism and the Politics of Overcoming

Michael Shellenberger & Ted Nordhaus
7:30 PM, Agnes Flanagan Chapel

Some claim that American environmentalism has lost its intellectual credibility and political effectiveness, and now stands in need of fundamentasl change. Is there scholarly or pragmatic justification for this charge? If so, what new ideas and strategies might inform a post-environmentalist future?