EVENT CANCELED; SPEAKER RAN INTO TRANSPORTATION DIFFICULTIES, PREVENTING HER FROM COMING
Creating a partnership between traditional cultures and scientific innovation is possible and beneficial to the planet, says an environmental biologist who will speak at Indiana State University in observance of Earth Day.
Robin Kimmerer, professor of environmental biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, is the founding director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, which aims to create programs drawing on the wisdom of both indigenous populations and scientific knowledge for shared goals of sustainability.
“I believe that environmental science and traditional knowledge can be symbiotic in nature, where the strengths and limitations of each knowledge system are balanced by the other,” Kimmerer said. “For example, the scientific method necessarily separates the observer and the observed, attempts to be strictly objective, rational and reductionist. Science engages the human powers of intellect, but explicitly excludes the other ways that humans have of understanding the world.
“Many of the questions of sustainability that we face involve the intersection between human culture and values and the natural world,” she added. “So relying on a single knowledge system, which excludes human values, is inadequate to address the challenges we face. Traditional knowledge is more holistic and includes values, ethics and responsibilities … so makes a good partner to balance scientific ways of knowing.”
Our Green Valley Alliance for Sustainability (OGVA) is having their annual Sustainability Conference on Oct 31-Nov 1 (Thursday and Friday). This is the continuation of the Green Town conference that we held in 2011 and the other OGVA conferences since then. It brings together government officials, private industry, and higher education to talk about sustainability solutions for our community. Please logon to http://www.ourgreenvalley.org/ to register for the conference.
This is always a great conference to learn about sustainability initiatives in our community and to get energized about how we can move forward and make the Wabash Valley a more sustainable place and to improve quality of life. This year, we have Eco-Artist Betsy Damon (http://www.greenmuseum.org/content/artist_index/artist_id-62.html) as a keynote speaker and we will be bringing in Year of the River themes into the conference. We have made great strides since our Green Town Conference in 2011 but we still have much that we can do. Come and join us to share in this conversation!
James H. Speer, PhD, Executive Director of the Institute for Community Sustainability
Professor of Geography and Geology, Department of Earth and Environmental Systems