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Tuesday, April 11th
10:45 AM

Kurt Vonnegut and a (Lack of) Love for Nature

Tim Morris, Whitman College

Kimball Theatre

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Kurt Vonnegut’s novels are consistently quirky and fun. They also deal with common themes of societal criticism. My presentation focuses on the way Vonnegut’s works reflect on the relationships between humans and the natural world. By using an ecocritical approach to read Cat’s Cradle, Galapagos and God Bless You Mr. Rosewater I attempt to shed light on the way the books contribute to our understanding of environmental sustainability, environmental disaster and human connection to the environment. I read Vonnegut’s novels to promulgate ideas, such as the power of society’s basic understanding of environmental value, that are similar to more mainstream environmental writers.

11:00 AM

A Cartesian Approach to Environmental Ethics

Ryan Garrett, Whitman College

Kimball Theatre

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Environmental ethicists have attacked the philosophy of René Descartes for supposedly being pivotal in preventing the formulation of proper environmental concerns and attitudes. In my presentation, I argue that Descartes’ philosophy is effective in developing a proper environmental ethic. Descartes believed God created two kinds of substances, mental and physical; humans are composed of a mental and physical substance, plants and animals of only a physical substance. Descartes argued that humans, animals and plants, despite their difference in substance, share the same status of creatures and interact with one another. The interactions between humans and physical substances, i.e., animals and plants, can be pleasurable. Morally, Descartes argued that humans properly serving God receive theistic pleasure from promoting the welfare of their communities. Humans, animals and plants exist in an ecological community with one another. Thus, Descartes’ philosophy naturally develops a theocentric environmental ethic.

11:15 AM

Rhetorical Strategies of the 1994 Cordova Fishermen's Blockade

Lindsey Hammer, Whitman College

Kimball Theatre

11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill was the largest and most devastating manmade environmental disaster in U.S. history. In its aftermath, the fishermen of Cordova, Alaska, one of the most affected populations, were deprived of any restitution or recovery aid. In 1993, these fishermen took to their vessels to blockade the Valdez Narrows, preventing Exxon's tankers from entering or exiting the Valdez port. This forced Exxon into settlement talks with fishermen and prompted the federal government to grant $21 million for research and restoration in Prince William Sound. In my presentation, I argue that the Cordovan fishermen were able to accomplish their blockade through the use of multiple rhetorical tools.

11:30 AM

Ask the Forest About War: Environmental Peace-Building in Post-Conflict Nepal

Jack Bynum, Whitman College

Kimball Theatre

11:30 AM - 11:45 AM

In today’s world only 10 countries can be considered truly free from violent conflict. Forty percent of violent conflicts are directly linked to disputes over natural resources. My presentation asks: Can we take environment—a frequent source of conflict—and switch the paradigm towards a space for common ground? I will examine the environmental impact of Nepal’s 10-year civil war (1996-2006) and the role of Community Forest User Groups in rebuilding peace before, during and after the conflict as well as the potential for community forestry to rebuild peace in war-torn areas around the world. In an increasingly unknowable conflict-prone globe, community forestry can provide the roots to grow resilient forests, resilient communities, and resilient and lasting spaces for peace.