The Aldo Leopold Distinguished Lecture Series will engage the University of Northern Iowa community, providing opportunities throughout the academic year to interact with a dynamic set of visiting speakers focusing on our relationship with the natural world.
Erin Brockovich is one of those rare individuals whose own true story has become part of our public consciousness. Seen by millions as a symbol of American justice and the importance of fighting for the truth, Brockovich continues to speak out on behalf of those who can’t. After uncovering a 30-year long history of poisoning the groundwater in Hinkley, CA by PG&E, Brockovich dug in and didn’t give up until she had exposed the truth—and had gotten justice for its victims. She truly is proof that one person can make a difference, and she believes that everyone—in their own way—can do the same.
Justin Brice Guariglia
As the world searches for ways to continue to work together to address the climate crisis of the Anthropocene, it is evident that deep care lies at the heart of real action and is critical when enacting social change. Art has a powerful ability to communicate this kind of care and urgency through the fog of divisive and dismissive dialogue, so when the question is asked, “Can art help change the world?”, Guarigla argues, the answer is a resounding, “YES”.
Katharine Hayhoe Dr.
When we hear people objecting to climate change, they often use science-y or even religious-y sounding arguments. "It’s just a natural cycle," some say, or "God is in control, so humans can’t affect something as big as our planet.” Yet if the conversation continues a few minutes longer, it rapidly becomes apparent that the real objections have nothing to do with lack of information or knowledge or belief. Our attitudes towards climate change are primarily the result of where we fall on the political spectrum, and our corresponding aversion to what we perceive to be the only solution: allowing the government to destroy the economy, impose unfair regulations, and rob us of our personal liberties. Is there solid evidence that climate is changing and humans are responsible? Are there solutions that are economically viable and appealing across the political spectrum? And why would any of us even care? Join Katharine Hayhoe as she untangles the complex science behind global warming and highlights the key role our values can play in shaping our conversations on this crucial topic.
Terry Tempest Williams
Williams is the author of 15 books on topics ranging from the national parks, women’s health and democracy. Winner of the Community of Christ International Peace Award, the Robert Marshall Award from the Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award, a Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Williams’s work demonstrates how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. Known for her impassioned and lyrical prose, Terry Tempest Williams is the author of the environmental literature classic, "Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place." Her 2004 collection of essays, "The Open Space of Democracy," was the sustainability common read this semester.
Bob Inglis is the Executive Director of republicEn.org, a growing group of conservatives who care about climate change. He served in the U.S. Congress from 1993 to 1999 and again from 2005-2011, a Republican representing Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina. On leaving Congress Inglis went full-time into promoting free enterprise action on climate change, launching a 501(c)(3) educational initiative now based at George Mason University and known as republicEn.org. (exceprt from Citizens' Climate Lobby)
David Archambault II
When the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe took a stand against the oil industry and Federal government to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline just upstream of their lands, their protest quickly came to represent the long and arduous struggle of indigenous peoples everywhere to protect their sovereignty and ancestral heritage. In his Presentation, the leader of this ongoing efforts. Former Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault, will reflect on his Tribe's rich history, and how honoring the past has powered efforts to preserve that heritage for future generations. He will share his experiences with the "Standing with Standing Rock" movement, the leadership decisions he's had to make in the moment, and strategies he's learned for successfully carrying the fight forward. And finally, he will discuss next steps, not just for Standing Rock, but for all of Indian Country to stand together against injustice.
Dwindling Numbers for an Iconic Insect: A Conservation Biologist Ponders Moving Beyond the Documentation of Declines
Karen Oberhauser Dr.
Monarch butterfly populations have been declining over the last 20 years. Because insect numbers are notoriously difficult to assess, and because they often show large annual fluctuations, simply documenting this decline has been a challenge. It is now important to move beyond simple documentation, and toward responding to the challenge posed by monarch conservation, and insect conservation in general. I’ll describe the amazing biology of migratory monarch populations, how citizens and scientists are documenting monarch numbers across their migratory cycle, and then discuss what all of us can do to help preserve this charismatic insect for generations to come.
A mass extinction event 65 million years ago killed off the dinosaurs, along with three quarters of the species on earth. Today, the world is changing so rapidly that scientists fear another extinction event-- the sixth extinction -- is underway. What does this mean for people and for the millions of other species who share our planet?
Jennifer Lowry MD
Not only do children have more opportunities to be exposed to environmental chemicals, but as children grow and mature, their unique physiologic, developmental, and behavioral differences make them especially vulnerable to chemical exposures. Because children are smaller than adults, their surface area–to–body mass ratio is greater. Children eat more food and drink more water per unit of body weight than do adults, and breathe at a faster rate. Infants and children of all ages spend more time on the floor or ground than adults. Therefore, children will come into more contact with contaminants on these surfaces. Chemical exposures can disrupt the critical and rapid stages of development that occur in prenatal and early childhood life that can affect their health for a lifetime.