Beyond Sustainability: Imagining an Ecological Future (w/ Dr. David Voelker)

Description: It’s time for an honest conversation about sustainability—not to demolish the concept, but to recognize that it has fallen short in helping us change our unsustainable ways. Although the dominant models of sustainability in theory recognize that environmental problems are entangled with economic and social justice issues, in practice sustainability efforts have tended to focus rather narrowly on what we usually call “the environmental impact” of our activities. We have thus failed to transcend not only the polluting energy systems of the past two centuries but also the economic and ideological systems that see unlimited growth as the only viable option. Unsustainability is not simply a technical problem that can be solved through technological means. To mitigate the multiple environmental crises into which we are rushing, we need to reconsider our roles on this living planet as human beings. Can we imagine an ecological future in which we thrive as members of the larger community of life?

See here for sources from the talk and acknowledgements. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nrAsaxCKsF3jMC2kxExcBiNlmTCFn6iPlI-u79AJAxU/edit

Biography: David Voelker is a Professor of Humanities and History at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay and is co-chair of Common CAHSS 2020. He teaches courses on early American history, environmental history, and environmental humanities. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on American cultural, religious, and political history, as well as many essays on teaching and learning history. He is author of The Powhatans and the English in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake, co-editor of Big Picture Pedagogy: Finding Interdisciplinary Solutions to Common Learning Problems (Jossey Bass, 2017) with Regan A. R. Gurung, and he serves as co-editor, with Joel Sipress, of Oxford University Press’s Debating American History series. He currently chairs UWGB’s Sustainability Committee.

Recorded on 11/30/20 as part of the Common CAHSS: Beyond Sustainability conference at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Introduction by Dr. Ryan Martin and the Q and A is moderated by Dr. Alison Staudinger. See event.

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