October 17, 2019

22nd Environmental Affairs Symposium Tackles Climate, Environment, and Uneven Development

This year’s Environmental Affairs Symposium analyzes the environmental impact of uneven development with the help of environmental scholar and climate activist Sunita Narain. Her keynote address, titled “The New Green Deal for a Global Compact: Learning to Do Things Differently for Inclusive Futures,” will discuss solutions to combat global climate change. 

by Yancee Gordon BA ’21

The Environmental Affairs Symposium is about crossing boundaries, whether they be intellectual, geographical, or communicative. Diverse perspectives are welcome, and the attendees are encouraged to reevaluate how they approach environmental issues. The 22nd annual Environmental Affairs Symposium will focus on the key issue of uneven development that encompasses the inequality of resources, population distribution, and wealth.

This year’s keynote address will be given by Sunita Narain, an activist and environmental scholar who has undertaken extensive research on the effects of uneven development, especially in concern to renewable energy and climate-induced migration. As the director general for the Centre for Science and Environment India, Narain had advocated the need for an effective and equitable climate change agreement.

Narain is an expert in her field, especially on climate change in India. The issues she studies traverse boundaries. Uneven development is a global dilemma. It can be seen in comparison between the global south to north, or on a smaller scale right here in Oregon where the urban/rural divide has been exacerbated due to uneven development. 

“While we may think we have a common understanding of a problem, we see that we are dealing with very different realities when we get more specific,” said Georgia Reid BA ’20, a student coordinator of the symposium. “I decided to major in environmental studies because it challenges my ideas about the environment, and I learned to ask questions rather than assume answers.”

The keynote will take place the evening of October 22 in Templeton Campus Center, Stamm, with an interactive reception starting at 6 p.m. and lecture at 7 p.m. On Wednesday, October 23, a lunch with Sunita Narain will be open to Lewis & Clark students; an RSVP is required. Later that day, a faculty panel facilitated by Associate Professor of Geological Science Liz Safran and including Associate Professor of International Affairs Elizabeth Bennett, Professor of Law Melissa Powers, and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Associate Professor of History David Campion will discuss key issues with Narain. The symposium will conclude on Thursday, October 24, with a climate conversation with Narain, facilitated by Associate Professor of Theatre Rebecca Lingafelter.

All events are free and open to the public. 

Environmental Studies