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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Earth Charter Community Summit kicks off today with a month of speakers and panels focused on building a sustainable future.

The Earth Charter values include respect and care for the community of life; ecological integrity; social and economic justice; and democracy, nonviolence and peace.

The month includes events for Indigenous People’s Day, a panel of youth activists working at the intersection of climate change and racial justice and a “grand finale” talk by labor activist Dolores Huerta.

“Sustainability is one of our foundational elements at UW Oshkosh and we rightly take pride in what we have achieved so far in terms of bringing sustainability into our teaching, research and campus operations,” said Stephanie Spehar, UWO Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations (SIRT) director and associate anthropology professor. “However we can always do better and the Earth Charter Community Summit is an opportunity for us to really reflect on what it means to make our institutions sustainable, what it would take to create a more sustainable world and to recommit ourselves…to doing what’s necessary.”

Earth Charter video

“As a way of kicking off the summit, please watch the video of various members of our campus community―including the chancellor―reading the preamble of the Earth Charter,” Spehar said.

Brad Spanbauer, associate biology lecturer and campus sustainability officer, and student intern Abby Bullard, created the video.

Forever Gone

Earth Charter 2020 kicks off with a special keynote lecture from 4:30-6 p.m.

Link to attend

J. Drew Lanham, ornithologist and wildlife ecologist at Clemson University, is the author of award-winning The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.

Lanham is birder, naturalist and hunter/conservationist who published essays and poetry in Orion, Audubon, Flycatcher and Wilderness and in several anthologies.

In his piece for Orion magazine, Lanham discusses how the history of the decline of the Carolina parakeet and other bird species, the loss of landscapes, the history of enslavement and mistreatment of Black people in the U.S. are all tied together.

“Human trade and trafficking; genocide; driving other creatures to extinction―it is all built on a corrupt human belief that some are worthier than others,” he said.

A distinguished professor of wildlife ecology and master teacher at Clemson University, he and his family live in upstate South Carolina―”a soaring hawk’s downhill glide from the southern Appalachian escarpment that the Cherokee once called the Blue Wall.”

The keynote discussion is sponsored by the UWO anthropology and global religions and cultures departments.

Check here for the full Earth Charter agenda for the month of October.

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