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AESS 2014 Breakfast Roundtables
Thursday, June 12, 2014
 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. 

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Reducing the AESS Carbon Footprint: Call for Ideas
Holding conferences is productive, fulfilling, great for social and academic network building -- but what about the environment?  As an association concerned about sustainability and the environment, what should AESS be doing to reduce its carbon footprint for our conferences?  How can we set a creative, innovative, and thoughtful example for other academic associations whose conferences also carry environmental impacts?  The AESS executive council is looking for ideas from members -- come brainstorm some implementable, pragmatic approaches to this guilt-inducing climate-warming challenge we all face.

Stephanie Kaza, University of Vermont

The Arts and Humanities Respond to the Anthropocene
Accelerating climate change, rapid urbanization, biodiversity loss and other anthropogenic forces are changing the way humans see, and are a part of, nature. One the one hand, we are asked to confront our collective role in driving global environmental change. On the other hand, we are observers in its unfolding, making meaning from the consequences of our ‘success.’ 

While scientists and policy makers are challenged to measure and regulate the dominant role humans now play in ecological systems, humanities scholars and artists grapple with the ethical, political, cultural, and communicative dimensions of this challenge. Signs of this grappling are increasingly visible in the growing discourse of the environmental humanities and the eco-arts -- fields growing in leaps and bounds as new centers and institutes, dedicated journals, conferences, and other venues emerge around the world.

Our Roundtable will bring together a rich cast of environmental thinkers and artists to discuss the role of the arts and humanities in this ‘Age of Humans.’ A preliminary roster of participants include performance artist and dancer Jennifer Monson, sculptor and eco-artist Jackie Brookner, journalist Andy Revkin, essayist and biologist Amy Seidl, and cultural theorist Adrian Ivakhiv. Others will be welcome to share in the conversation, with impromptu performances thrown into the mix. 

Amy L Seidl, University of Vermont

Educating for an ethic of care to develop environmental stewardship behavior in the Anthropocene
Globally scientists and educators are calling for planetary stewardship. My research proposes that educating for an ethic of environmental care, inherent in all curricula, is foundational to developing capacity for stewardship. Essential requirements to educate for and develop a care ethic include teacher modelling and affording students’ opportunities to care. Development of an ethical disposition to care requires a reconstruction of the ‘western cultural framework’ to develop through practice, a new ecological nature care ethic. Development of care ethics and environmental stewardship behaviour is imperative as the lack of an adequate ethic to care lies at the core of the ecological crises. 

I propose that education for environmental stewardship behaviour involves i) developing respect, appreciation, affinity with and understanding of the natural world and its beauty, complexity and system interdependence; ii) recognition that humans (and all living creatures) depend on nature’s complex life support systems and iii) understanding of the imperative for healthy Earth Systems. In education for environmental stewardship behaviour, these understandings and knowledge are foundational in the development of critical thinking and problem solving abilities, and foundational in the development of desire and confidence to act and maintain life supporting Earth Systems and the natural world. Additionally, environmental stewardship fosters well-being which includes happiness, a sense of fate control and community capacity. Further, the relationship between well-being, livelihood, and natural and social capital define the prospects for long term sustainability. 

Participants will be invited to discuss and share pedagogy that develops a nature care ethic. 

Marcia Thorne, James Cook University

Using social networking applications in environmental studies and science courses and program assessment
Living in the Anthropocene involves challenges as well as opportunities—including the benefit of a wide array of electronic possibilities at our disposal. Join us to share experiences and gain new ideas for using social networking applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Diigo, and more in teaching, research, and program assessment in Environmental Studies and Science

Karin Warren, Randolph College