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Eastern to host ‘Humans and the Environment’ sustainability symposium

Published on March 16, 2023

Eastern to host ‘Humans and the Environment’ sustainability symposium

Event highlights ‘Sustainability Across the Disciplines’

symposium poster“Humans and the Environment,” a symposium on sustainability across disciplines, will be held March 24 at Eastern Connecticut State University. The symposium brings together four scholars and writers from throughout Connecticut who will share their research and reflections on the connections between humans and the environment. 

The symposium will be held in the Student Center Theatre from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Presentations will span multiple ecological regions and historical periods, with each speaker sharing their own disciplinary perspective on different sustainability concepts.

“This symposium demonstrates that understanding human impacts on the environment—and mitigating those impacts—are not the sole purview of the natural sciences, but that the social sciences, arts and humanities play a vital role as well,” said Patricia Szczys, executive director of the Institute for Sustainability at Eastern. 

Speaking to the slate of presentations, Dean Emily Todd of the School of Arts and Sciences said, “We were specifically interested in scholars and writers whose work is relevant to Connecticut…. By choosing ‘sustainability’ as a unifying theme, we aim to demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of building a sustainable future.”

Symposium speakers include Manuel Lizarralde, professor of botany and environmental studies at Connecticut College; Margaret Gibson, former Connecticut poet laureate (2019-2022) and professor emerita at the University of Connecticut; Nohemi Huanca-Nuñez, a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; and Bradley Camp Davis, history professor at Eastern whose research focuses on Southeast Asia.

The symposium will open with welcome remarks by Eastern President Elsa Núñez at 9 a.m. and close with a roundtable discussion featuring all speakers at 12:30 p.m.

  • At 9:15, Lizarralde will present “Amerindians Sustainability in the Americas: From the Bari people of Venezuela to the Mohegans in Connecticut.”

  • At 10 a.m., Gibson will read new poems and poetry from her 2021 book, “The Glass Globe,” which connects personal grief to grieving about the natural world and the climate crisis.

  • At 11 a.m., Huanca-Nuñez will present “Tropical Forest Regeneration in Human-Modified Landscapes.”

  • At 11:45, Davis will present "The Forest and the Trees: Resource Frontiers and Environmental History in Southeast Asia (and elsewhere)."

Davis also will speak about “the significance of environmental history and environmental humanities for connecting the study of the past to the environmental challenges faced by our shared global community,” he said. “From this perspective, studying the past is not just practical, it is also urgent.”

The “Humans and the Environment” symposium is co-sponsored by the Institute for Sustainability and the School of Arts and Sciences.

Written by Lucinda Weiss

Categories: Sustainability