October 6, 2015

Moral Theologian to Discuss ‘Pope Francis, The Environment and Christian Life’

Moral theologian Jana Bennett will discuss “Pope Francis, The Environment and Christian Life” on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Ridenour Room of the Dauch College of Business and Economics. The event is free and open to the public, and is co-sponsored by the Departments of Religion and Philosophy, Philosophy Club, the Newman Center, and the College of Arts and Sciences’ biennial Symposium Against Indifference.

In writing his recent encyclical “Laudator Si,” many readers have accused the Pope of stepping into political and economic questions about which he knows little. In her presentation, Bennett will suggest that a different reading of the encyclical will help us dig deep into Christian tradition and perhaps think a bit differently about environmental concerns.

Bennett is associate professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton, where she teaches theology and ethics. She co-edits catholicmoraltheology.com, a blog that discusses liturgy, scripture and current issues in relation to moral questions. She is currently writing a book on moral theology and Christian contemplation.

September 29, 2015

Waste Film Series Begins Oct. 5

The CAS Symposium Against Indifference and Ashland Center for Nonviolence are co-sponsoring a film series that will feature three films that are free and open to the public during the month of October. The films will be shown in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium and will feature a brief discussion following each film.

The film “Waste Land” will be shown on Monday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. while the film “Nerve: How a Small Kentucky Town Led the Fight to Safely Dismantle the World’s Chemical Weapons” will be presented on Monday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. and the film “Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1” will be presented on Monday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m.

The film “Waste Land” follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to reimagine their lives. “Waste Land” offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.

The film “Nerve: How a Small Kentucky Town Led the Fight to Safely Dismantle the World’s Chemical Weapons” (with original score by Ben Sollee) tells the 25-year David vs. Goliath story of how a humble Vietnam vet and carpenter Craig Williams (2006 winner of the Goldman Prize – the “green Nobel” – for his work), galvanized his town to break down political barriers, spark a worldwide movement and take on the Pentagon to stop dangerous chemical weapons incineration for the sake of the environment and human health around the world. This inspiring story with small-town roots but profound global impact has the potential to empower ordinary people to take on the most overwhelming environmental challenges successfully, with fresh eyes and renewed vigor.

The film “Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1” by Adam Jonas Horowitz is a shocking political exposé, and an intimate ethnographic portrait of Pacific Islanders struggling for survival, dignity and justice after decades of top secret human radiation experiments conducted on them by the U.S. government. On March 1, 1954, the U.S. detonated a hydrogen bomb in the Castle Bravo test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The largest atomic test blast conducted by the United States, the yield of the Castle Bravo bomb was 1000 times greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

September 22, 2015

Chief of Sustainability for City of Cleveland to Kick-Off Symposium

Chief of Sustainability for City of Cleveland to Kick-Off AU’s College of Arts and Sciences Symposium Jenita McGowan, chief of Sustainability for the City of Cleveland, will be the first speaker in AU’s College of Arts and Sciences’ biennial Symposium Against Indifference. The theme for this year’s series is “Environmental Sustainability.”

McGowan will discuss “Building a Green City on a Blue Lake” on Monday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Trustees’ Room of Myers Convocation Center. The event is free and open to the public, and is co-sponsored by the Morgan Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Environmental Science Program.

McGowan will speak about Sustainable Cleveland 2019, a 10-year initiative to engage Clevelanders from all walks of life in creating a more sustainable city. This initiative seeks to develop new strategies that allow Cleveland to use sustainability as an innovation engine for economic growth, while also reducing the city’s ecological footprint with solutions that save the city money. She will discuss how everyone can take action to promote sustainability at home, at work and in the community.

This year’s symposium coordinator is Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, trustees’ professor of chemistry, who said the events comprising this year’s symposium will explore issues related to creating a sustainable world, from climate to environmental pollution to agricultural practices and more.

“As Dr. Patricia Saunders, director of AU's Environmental Science program, states in her introduction to the symposium (http://cas-symposium.blogspot.com/), ‘Environmental sustainability is about people. The environment is where we live, and we make choices about how to go about doing so and who and what else matters…our choices make a difference’,” Weidenhamer said.

August 6, 2015

The 2015-16 Symposium Against Indifference: Environmental Sustainability

The College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce Environmental Sustainability as the theme of this year's Symposium against Indifference.  Dr. Patty Saunders, Director of AU's Environmental Science Program and faculty member in the Department of Biology/Toxicology, reflects below on the importance of environmental sustainability. See the schedule for this year's symposium events HERE.

The Importance of Environmental Sustainability 

Sand hill cranes fly over the
Black Fork Wetlands Preserve.
This summer, my family and I took a road trip to visit family in New England. Along the way, we stood above Niagara Falls, craned our necks to see one mountain range after another, inched forward with traffic on I-95, ate lobster rolls, camped by big lakes, followed around ducklings from a neighboring site, breathed in the pine-tree scent, and stopped to top up the gas tank seven times. Like everybody else, we interact daily with nature and are sustained by nature.  Sometimes, as on our trip, we take extra time to wonder at the view.

Travel, technology, and education allow us to “view” farther away and see with greater resolution. More and more, humans are considering how to make our collective environment more sustainable. How do we do a better job of living within our means? …And why make the effort? We all use environmental resources and rely on natural systems to renew and replenish resources, but there is only so much stuff.  An important corollary is that natural systems of renewal and recycling are also limited.