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Nature and Legacy:
Humanists, Scientists and the Environment

We are pleased to announce that the focus of the second annual Humanities/Science Project is the environment.

The Humanities/Science Project is a three-year collaborative program launched by the Cogut Center and COSTS, fostering critical conversations about life and knowledge. In 2008-2009 the focus was on the scientific and cultural history of evolutionary theory, in the 150 years since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species.

2009-2010 features an environmental film series as well as a three-part speaker series called “Nature and Legacy: Humanists, Scientists and the Environment.” Panel discussions include the topics of “Toxicity” and “Climate Change."

Sponsored by the Cogut Center for the Humanities, Committee on Science and Technology Studies (COSTS), Center for Environmental Studies and Environmental Change Initiative.

September 23
"Butte, America"
Film screening and discussion with the filmmakers
Smith-Buonanno Hall 106
7:00 - 9:00pm

This documentary, narrated by Gabriel Byrne, reveals the social and environmental costs of mining in Butte, Montana. This is the New England premiere the film chronicles industrial exploitation and its effects on the people and the land. It is the New England film premiere.

This New England film premiere will be followed by discussion with producer/director Pamela Roberts and co-producer/co-writer Edwin Dobb.

For more on the film:

This screening also co-sponsored by the John Nicholas Brown Center and Urban Studies Program.

November 5
"Climate Change"

Lectures and panel discussion
Pembroke Hall 305
4:00 - 6:00pm

Elijah Huge
( Wesleyan)
"Architecture after the Well-Tempered Environment"
For an abstract and lecturer bio, click here.

Timmons Roberts
( Brown)
"International Climate Justice: Unequal Risks, Unequal Coping Resources, and the Need for Adequate and Predictable Funding for Developing Countries to Adapt"
For an abstract, click here.

Hugh Ducklow
, (Brown/Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole)
"Climate Change: Science, (Un)Certainty and Denial"
For an abstract, click here.

A panel discussion and Q&A will follow individual presentations.

To see photos from this panel discussion, click here.

March 9
"Blue Vinyl" (2002, 98 minutes, in English)
Film screening
Smith-Buonanno 106
4:30 - 6:00pm

A toxic comedy look at vinyl, the world's second largest selling plastic. With humor, hope and a piece of vinyl siding firmly in hand, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director Daniel B. Gold travel from Helfand’s hometown to America’s vinyl manufacturing capital and beyond in search of answers about the nature of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Her parents’ decision to “re-side”
their house with this seemingly benign cure-all for many suburban homes turns into a toxic odyssey with twists and turns that most ordinary homeowners would never dare to take. The result is a humorous but sobering and uniquely personal exploration of the relationship between consumers and industry in the feature-length documentary Blue Vinyl, which won the cinematography award in the documentary competition at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.

The filmmaker, Judy Helfand, will be on campus on March 18 to participate in the "Toxicity" panel (see below).

March 18
Lectures and panel discussion
Pembroke 305
4:30 - 6:30pm

Speakers: Brown faculty Kim Boekelheide and Phil Brown, and filmmaker Judy Helfand ("Blue Vinyl").

The speakers on this panel will address the problem of environmental toxicity from the standpoints of a scientist involved in a Superfund clean-up project and who uses a model system in the laboratory to study the effects of multiple toxicant exposure; a sociologist who works with scientists and community activists to improve communication about the potential dangers of chemicals in the environment; and a filmmaker who uses her art to engage the public with the problems of toxicity.

For speaker bios and abstracts, click here.

April 2 - 30
"Mountaintop Removal: A Legacy of Human Suffering and Environmental Devastation"
Photojournalism exhibit
Pembroke Hall - lower level gallery
9:00am - 5:00pm M-F

“Most Americans have no idea who suffers for their electricity. In West Virginia, we live in a war zone. Coal companies detonate 3.5 million pounds of explosives here every day. They blow up our mountains, blast our homes, and poison our families.” —Environmental activist Judy Bonds

Olivia French traveled to West Virginia in March 2009 to witness and document the devastating toll that the coal mining technique known as mountaintop removal is taking on the environment and people of Appalachia. Then a high school junior, Olivia spent several days meeting activists and residents of coal country, chronicling their stories to bring back to her school community in Connecticut. Her photographs, research and personal experiences are exhibited as part of the Cogut Center's focus on "Nature and Legacy" in 2009-10.

This exhibit is free and on display in the ground floor hallway of Pembroke Hall, 172 Meeting Street.

For a copy of the exhibit poster, click here.

For more information on the creation of this exhibit, click here.

April 22
" Schwarzenegger, Silver Buckshot, and the Outback — the Keys to a Sustainable Future"

Pembroke Hall 305
5:00 - 6:30pm

Terry Tamminen, Operating Advisor Pegasus Capital Advisors & former Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency of California

In the final installment of our year-long series "Nature and Legacy" we explore timely issues on a sustainable future with leading policymaker and advisor Terry Tamminen.

In addition, Mr. Tamminen will be meeting with various environmental researchers, policymakers, faculty and student groups while on campus.

To see photos from this talk, click here.

For a copy of the exhibit poster, click here.