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‘Depolarizing’ Discussions on the Environment is Focus of ‘Conversation’

‘Conversation in the Discipline’ will explore ways to foster a culture of intellectual openness
2/10/2015

Dr. Steven F. Hayward, a widely known author and scholar, will be among a panel of experts who gather at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Feb. 13 to explore ways to discuss environmental issues without the conversation becoming polarized.

The daylong session, "Depolarizing the Environment: Thinking Broadly about Science Policy and Politics," will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 13, in the Gateway Center on the ESF campus.

The event is part of the SUNY Conversations in the Discipline program, which is designed to bring together SUNY faculty and visiting scholars from other institutions to examine new trends, address changes and challenges, review promising research findings, and become acquainted with professional developments in their fields and on other campuses.

Joining Hayward for this thought-provoking discussion will be Dr. Sarah Pralle, associate professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and Dr. Quentin Wheeler, president of ESF. Dr. Peter F. Cannavò at Hamilton College & Robert Wilson, an environmental historian at the Maxwell School, will be on the afternoon panel.

The panel will explore how the science of the environment can be better engaged with the political and social realms we inhabit, and how to foster a culture of intellectual openness at the difficult interface of environment, politics, culture and science.

Questions that will be explored include: What avenues, if any, exist for constructive engagement across political divides on topics such as hydrofracking and climate change? What can academics do to promote constructive discussion at the difficult interface of environment, politics, culture and science?

Hayward is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Public Policy and a daily contributor on powerlineblog.com, one of the nation's most-read political websites. He was the inaugural visiting scholar in conservative thought at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2013-14. He is the author of six books, including The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, 1964-1980; The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counter-Revolution, 198-1989; and the Almanac of Environmental Trends.

Pralle is the author of several articles on environmental politics and policy and is the author of the book, Branching Out, Digging In: Environmental Advocacy and Agenda Setting.

Wheeler, director of the ESF-based International Institute for Species Exploration, came to ESF last year from Arizona State University, where he was Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment. Previously, he served in distinguished academic roles for 24 years at Cornell University, where he earned the rank of tenured full professor. Wheeler also previously served as the Keeper and Head of Entomology at The Natural History Museum in London and was director of the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation. He is the author or editor of six books, includingWhat on Earth? -100 of Our Planet's Most Amazing New Species.

Cannavò is the author of The Working Landscape: Founding, Preservation, and the Politics of Place in which he examines the conflict between development and preservation as a major factor behind our contemporary crisis of place. Cannavò's work and teaching are in areas of political theory; environmental theory, politics, history; the politics of place; and ethics and public policy. He is the director of Hamilton's Environmental Studies Program and is sustainability director for the Levitt Center.