Environmental Issues Highlighted For First Time at UW Shepard Symposium

March 24, 2010
Woman smiling
Vandana Shiva is the keynote speaker for the 14th annual Shepard Symposium on Social Justice, April 7-9, at the University of Wyoming.

World-renowned physicist and environmental leader Vandana Shiva is the keynote speaker for the 14th annual Shepard Symposium on Social Justice, April 7-9, at the University of Wyoming.

All symposium events are free and open to the public and registration is recommended.

Shiva will discuss "Soil Not Oil: Food Security in Times of Climate Change" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in the Fine Arts concert hall. A reception and book signing follow the presentation.

Recipient of the 1993 Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award), Shiva is known as one of the world's most passionate and knowledgeable spokespersons for environmental and economic justice.

In her keynote address and in her most recent book, "Soil Not Oil," Shiva discusses socially-just and environmentally-sound principles for feeding the planet . She expands her analysis to broader issues of globalization and climate change, saying that a healthy environment and a just world go hand in hand. Shiva proposes a solution based on self-organization, sustainability and community rather than corporate power and profits.

"The Shepard Symposium has never highlighted environmental issues before," says Kate Muir Welsh, UW Department of Elementary Education professor and the event's chairperson. She says "eco-justice" includes issues of access to things that sustain the world's population -- clean drinking water, inhabitable land, breathable air and plentiful, healthy food.

"Sadly more and more of the world's population do not have such access," Muir says. "This year's symposium and the many workshops and presentations will provide an opportunity for participants to exchange information and engage in dialogue about these social justice concerns."

A physicist, ecologist, activist, feminist, editor and author of many best-selling books, Shiva established Navdanya, a movement for biodiversity conservation and rights in India that supports local farmers, rescues and conserves crops and plants that are being pushed to extinction and makes them available directly to farmers. She is the founding director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, a network of participatory researchers specializing in ecology, health and sustainability.

Numerous concurrent sessions begin Thursday April 8, beginning at 9:35 a.m. and Friday, April 9, starting at 8 a.m. All sessions are in the Wyoming Union.

La Vida Loca, a one-man show that tells the story of a Mexican immigrant, will be performed by Carlos Manuel in the Fine Arts studio theater at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Chris Paine, director of the 2006 film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and the forthcoming "Revenge of the Electric Car," is Thursday's keynote presenter. His presentation is at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Concert Hall.

A hip-hop event that features Molina Soleil and Aju is scheduled from 9-11 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Ballroom that evening.

UW faculty member Jessica Smith is the endnote speaker. She will discuss the relationship between Wyoming's energy development and environmental social justice at 11 a.m. Friday in the Wyoming Union Ballroom.

An event to benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation in the Wyoming Union Ballroom that evening closes the symposium.

A complete symposium schedule is available at http://shepardsymposium.org/.

For more information, contact Sylvia Parker, UW Science and Mathematics Teaching Center, at (307)766-6671 or e-mail sparker@uwyo.edu.

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