Thursday, March 25, 2010

Environmental issues the topic of this year's Shepard Symposium April 7-9 at UW

The Shepard Symposium on Social Justice brings knowledgeable speakers and talented artists and writers into Wyoming to address the big issues: human rights, tolerance, diversity and -- dare we say it -- social justice.

Social justice. Social justice. Social justice.

Lately, I can't get enough of that term.

This year's Shepard Symposium tackles another biggie -- environmental and economic justice.

When Glenn Beck gets wind of this, his head will explode.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation has been working with the University of Wyoming to present this event for 14 years. The foundation's work on behalf of human rights for LGBT people is becoming well known. UW also gets some credit for providing the venue and other support. Yes, it's what universities do -- put on interesting educational events. But UW is also the nexus of Wyoming's energy industry which is almost totally focused on oil and gas and coal. As we know, fossil fuels are the source of most global warming and the main reason we discuss environmental issues. Many of the West's oil geologists and landmen/women and other oil/gas company staffers are trained at UW. It's also the home of the Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources at New thinking arrives at UW almost as fast as they erupt worldwide. Wind power. Solar. Biomass. Coal gasification and carbon sequestration are big research items. Lets' give the scientists some leeway as their work continues. A big chunk of Wyoming's income comes from the digging and shipping and burning of fossil fuels. Drill, baby, drill. Dig, baby, dig. Just don't forget those excise taxes, baby.

So come to the Shepard Symposium. The events are free. This year's keynote speaker is internationally-known physicist and environmentalist Vandana Shiva. Shiva will discuss "Soil Not Oil: Food Security in Times of Climate Change" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in the UW Fine Arts concert hall in Laramie. A reception and book signing follow the presentation.

Here's more info from a UW press release:

In her keynote address and in her most recent book, "Soil Not Oil," Shiva discusses socially-just and environmentally-sound principles for feeding the planet . She expands her analysis to broader issues of globalization and climate change, saying that a healthy environment and a just world go hand in hand. Shiva proposes a solution based on self-organization, sustainability and community rather than corporate power and profits.

"The Shepard Symposium has never highlighted environmental issues before," says Kate Muir Welsh, UW Department of Elementary Education professor and the event's chairperson. She says "eco-justice" includes issues of access to things that
sustain the world's population -- clean drinking water, inhabitable land, breathable air and plentiful, healthy food.

"Sadly more and more of the world's population do not have such access," Muir says. "This year's symposium and the many workshops and presentations will provide an opportunity for participants to exchange information and engage in dialogue about these social justice concerns."

A physicist, ecologist, activist, feminist, editor and author of many best-selling books, Shiva established Navdanya, a movement for biodiversity conservation and rights in India that supports local farmers, rescues and conserves crops and plants that are being pushed to extinction and makes them available directly to farmers. She is the founding director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, a network of participatory researchers specializing in ecology, health and sustainability.

Numerous concurrent sessions begin Thursday April 8, beginning at 9:35 a.m. and Friday, April 9, starting at 8 a.m. All sessions are in the Wyoming Union.

La Vida Loca, a one-man show that tells the story of a Mexican immigrant, will be performed by Carlos Manuel in the Fine Arts studio theater at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Chris Paine, director of the 2006 film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and the forthcoming "Revenge of the Electric Car," is Thursday's keynote presenter. His presentation is at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Concert Hall.

A hip-hop event that features Molina Soleil and Aju is scheduled from 9-11 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Ballroom that evening.

UW faculty member Jessica Smith is the endnote speaker. She will discuss the
relationship between Wyoming's energy development and environmental social
justice at 11 a.m. Friday in the Wyoming Union Ballroom.

An event to benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation in the Wyoming Union Ballroom that evening closes the symposium.

A complete symposium schedule is available at

For more information, contact Sylvia Parker, UW Science and Mathematics Teaching Center, at (307)766-6671 or e-mail


bigfrank said...

When you say Global Warming do you mean man-made? I hope not. This has been debunked now so bad that Big Al is getting called a laughing-stock in Apple meetings!
Climate changes happens. Warm and cool over and over again.
The problem with this global warming poo is that the ones pushing it are going about it all wrong. I laugh for looking at the evidence not the political sides shows that man can't be the cause of it. Sure we could have a microscopic effect on it but that is it. I live a greener life than Big Al and I am betting 60% that preach man-made global warming. Not because I am going to save the polar bear. I have many reasons for it and this is where those preachers fall short. They keep filling your head with hog wash and not the things normal people will go for.
In defense of the green moment we MUST change the way we are living. Just like this country and the politician are dumping away our money in wasted spending we the people are doing the same with the earths resources. (Kind of hypocrisy on the democrats side huh? save the earth blow the money and screw the country? Republicans just screw it all)
Environmentalist must change the reason of the message for they are standing on the sinking ship of man-made global warming crap and go more to save the resources for the future and take care of the earth instead of poising it.

Michael Shay said...

The term "global warming" is a term beyond which we can't go. Flashpoint! But let's agree on one thing -- "we must change the way we are living."