Living in a World of Limits – Spring 2013

Improving the human condition, equitably, sustainably and within limits that protect the natural environment, is perhaps the critical challenge of the 21st century. The Clarke Forum theme of the spring 2013 semester will explore this challenge from multiple perspectives that span and integrate the arts and humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, with a goal of informing the continued infusion of sustainability across the Dickinson curriculum. Topics will range from the local to the global and include practical models for building sustainable communities, social, environmental and health effects of developing natural gas in Pennsylvania and Mozambique, social movements to combat global climate change, and interpreting and responding to planetary boundaries.

Peterson Toscano

Theatrical Performance Artist

Everything is Connected

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Connecting contemporary issues to his own bizarre personal experiences, literature, science, and even the odd Bible story, Peterson Toscano takes his audience on an off-beat mental mind trip. A shapeshifter, he transforms right before your eyes into a whole cast of comic characters who explore the serious worlds of gender, sexuality, privilege, religion, and environmental justice.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability Education, the Office of LGBTQ Services, the Center for Service, Spirituality and Social Justice, the Women’s and Gender Resource Center, the Department of Religion, the Department of Theatre & Dance, and the Churchill Fund. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Drawing on comedy, storytelling, and history, Peterson Toscano creates original content for the stage and the Internet that inspires curiosity about climate change. Peterson’s unique personal journey led him into performance art. After spending 17 years and over $30,000 on three continents attempting to de-gay himself through gay conversion therapy, he came to his senses Read more

Richard Alley – “Joseph Priestley Award Recipient”

Pennsylvania State University

Joseph Priestley Award Celebration Lecture

The Good News on Energy, Environment and Our Future

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Watch Live

Humans have burned trees, whales, and now fossil fuels far faster than they grew back, enjoying the energy but suffering the environmental impacts and then shortages. Now, we are the first generation that can build a sustainable energy system, improving the economy, employment, environment, ethics, and national security.

The Joseph Priestley Award recipient is chosen by a different science department each year. The Department of Earth Sciences has selected this year’s recipient. The event is supported by the College’s Priestley Fund and is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of biology, chemistry, earth sciences, environmental studies, mathematics & computer science, psychology, and physics & astronomy.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Richard Alley (Ph.D. 1987, Geology, Wisconsin) is Evan Pugh University Professor of Geosciences at Penn State.  He studies the great ice sheets to help predict future changes in climate and sea level, and has conducted three field seasons in Antarctica, eight in Greenland, and three in Alaska.  He has been honored for research (including Read more

Michael Mann

Professor, Penn State University

Mann Final PosterThe Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Monday, April 22, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.
A book sale and signing will follow

Mann will discuss the topic of human-caused climate change through the prism of his own experiences as a reluctant and accidental public figure in the societal debate over global warming.

This event is jointly sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues, Penn State Dickinson School of Law and School of International Affairs and co-sponsored by the Departments of Earth Sciences and Environmental Studies.

Photo Courtesy of Greg RicoBiography (provided by the speaker)

Dr. Michael E. Mann is a member of the Penn State University faculty, holding joint positions in the Departments of Meteorology and Geosciences, and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).

Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. His research involves the use of theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth’s climate system.

Dr. Mann was a Lead Read more

Bill McKibben

Schumann Distinguished Scholar, Middlebury College; Recipient of The Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism

Mckibben posterFront Line of the Climate Fight

Thursday, April 11, 2013
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
A book signing will follow the lecture

McKibben will highlight the ways in which environmental groups are working around the country and the world to scientifically and politically challenge the power of the fossil fuel industry before it breaks the planet.

This event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and The Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism and co-sponsored by the Department of Environmental Studies.  It is also part of The Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series and the faculty seminar series titled, Living in a World of Limits.

Portrait of Bill McKibben, author and activist. photo ©Nancie BattagliaBiography (provided by the speaker)

Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries Read more

David Orr

Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, Oberlin College

Final Orr PosterDesigning Resilience in a Black Swan World

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

Black Swan events are those with low or unknown probability, but high, long-lived and often global impacts. Orr will discuss how we should design communities, regions, and nations to improve resilience and prosperity in the context of such events, with a focus on the Oberlin Project and the National Sustainable Communities Coalition.

The event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Office of the President, and co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability Education and the Department of Environmental Studies.  It is also part of The Clarke Forum’s Leadership in a Age of Uncertainty Series and the faculty seminar series titled, Living in a World of Limits.

IMG_9032Biography (provided by the speaker)

David Orr the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and senior adviser to the president at Oberlin College. He is the author of seven books, including Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (Oxford, 2009) and co-editor of three others. He has authored nearly 200 articles, reviews, book chapters, and professional publications. In Read more

Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Extraction – Panel Discussion

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Natural Extraction Panel PosterPanelists:

Peter Bechtel ’81 – Andorinha Azul Ambiental
Tim Kelsey, Penn State University
Veronica Coptis, Center for Coalfield Justice
Erika Staaf, PennEnvironment
Moderated by Julie Vastine, ALLARM

Natural resource extraction has been at the heart of economic growth and, for that reason, remains a source of considerable political and economic controversy.   Both Pennsylvania and Mozambique are currently experiencing a boom in natural gas exploration while they yet confront the economic, social, and environmental consequences of previous forms of resource extraction.  The panel will discuss and compare the two locations, identify commonalities, and see what lessons have been learned.

This event is part of the faculty seminar series titled, Living in a World of Limits and is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center for Global Study and Engagement, Center for Sustainability Education, Career Center, Department of Religion, Office of Institutional and Diversity Initiatives, Department of International Business and Management, Health Studies, Department of Environmental Studies, Community Studies Center, Department of Africana Studies and ALLARM.

BiographiesDSCN0584

Peter Bechtel, an ’81 Dickinson graduate, worked with the World Wildlife Fund in Mozambique on Read more

Peter Bechtel ’81 and Ruth Mkhwanazi-Bechtel

Peter Bechtel ’81, director, Andorinha Azul Ambiental, a company specializing in sustainable development
Ruth Mkhwanazi-Bechtel, program director, Vanderbilt University’s Friends in Global Health in Mozambique

Bechtel Final PosterSustainable Development in Mozambique

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

For many years, Mozambique has been near the bottom of the UN Human Development Index, but recent discoveries of gas, coal, and mineral deposits have created opportunities for rapid economic development.  While the government places some importance on sustainability, there are ongoing problems related to transparency, top-down decision-making, urbanization and climate change.

The event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center for Global Study and Engagement, Center for Sustainability Education, Career Center, Department of Religion, Office of Institutional and Diversity Initiatives, Department of International Business and Management, Health Studies, Department of Environmental Studies, Community Studies Center and the Departments of Africana Studies, International Studies, Earth Sciences and Economics.

This event is also part of The Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series and the faculty seminar series titled, Living in a World of Limits.

DSCN0584Biographies

Peter Bechtel ’81, a graduate of Dickinson College, traveled to Africa with the US Peace Read more

Michael Shellenberger

Shellenberger PosterPresident, The Breakthrough Institute

Love Your Monsters: Why Technology Will Save the World

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 *
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Environmental expert Michael Shellenberger will describe why technology is the key to dealing with the world’s toughest environmental problems from climate change to rainforest destruction and species extinction.

The event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability Education and the Department of Environmental Studies.  It is also part of The Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series and the faculty seminar series titled, Living in a World of Limits.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus are leading global thinkers on energy, climate, security, human development, and politics. Their 2007 book Break Through was called “prescient” by Time and “the most important thing to happen to environmentalism since Silent Spring” by Wired. Their 2004 essay, “The Death of Environmentalism,” was featured on the front page of the Sunday New York Times, sparked a national debate, and inspired a generation of young environmentalists. They also Shellenberger Photoco-authored the 2011 book titled “Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene.”

Over the years, the two Read more