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Social Justice and the Environment Week

September 19-25, 2014

By Kate Claffey

Sponsored by the Social Justice Week Committee with support from (in alphabetical order): Called to Lead; Center for Community and Civic Engagement; Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking; Chemistry Club; Dean of Faculty; Dean of Students; Pre-Law Club; Politics, Philosophy, and Legal Studies; Residence Life; Sociology and Anthropology; Social Work; Women and Gender Studies

Social Justice is a key component of Elizabethtown College's mission and this series of events is designed to foster discussion about social justice at the school and beyond.  The week is held in September and set to coincide with International Peace Day.

This week-long event kicks off with a camping trip along the Appalachian Trail and conservation walk around campus, includes a panel and a debate on varying issues of environmental policy and practice, and provides an opportunity for members of the college community to delve into issues of environmental justice and gender through a book club.

All events are free and open to entire Elizabethtown College community and we strongly encourage all students, faculty, and staff to attend. Please contact Dr. Rita Shah for additional information, questions, or concerns.  

Friday, September 19-Saturday, September 20:
Service Learning and Camping along the Appalachian Trial
2:00 pm Friday-3:00 pm Saturday 
Meet in front of Leffler Chapel and Performance Center  
Led by Jean-Paul Benowitz, students will leave campus around 2 pm Friday afternoon and travel to both the Michaeux and Pine Grove State Forests, where they will camp overnight. As part of the camping trip, students will learn about the history of the Appalachian trail and the conservation efforts along the trial while also helping with some of the conservation activities at the various locations they visit. Similar to the Etown Walks, the goal is to help students understand how the environment is connected to their daily lives, even if they do not always see it. Please contact Jean-Paul Benowitz for additional information or to register to attend. 

Sunday, September 21:
Etown Walk
2:00 pm
Meet at the BSC Terrace 15 minutes before departure.
The kick off day, also International Peace Day, will begin the week by discussing environmental issues at Elizabethtown College. The goal of this day is to help students understand that environmental issues are not abstract, but impact their daily lives, even when they do not always see the impact. This event will encompass an environmental walk around the Etown campus led by Dr. David Bowne. Please contact Dr. David Kenley for additional information.     

Monday, September 22:

Promised LandPromised Land 
7:00-10:00 pm
Gibble Auditorium
As part of Social Justice Week, with an emphasis on environmental justice, the 2012 film “Promised Land,” directed by Gus Van Sant, will be shown. Starring Matt Damon and Hal Holbrook, the screenplay is written by Damon and based on a story by Dave Eggers. The film follows the resource extraction process, hydraulic fracturing, and two corporate salespeople who visit a rural town in an attempt to buy drilling rights from the local residents. The discussant will be Dr. David R. Bowne, assistant professor of biology. Please contact Jean-Paul Benowitz for additional information.  

Tuesday, September 23: 
Book Club
Book Club: New perspectives on environmental justice: Gender, sexuality, and activism  
6:00-7:30 pm 
High Library Winter's Alcove
The book club will discuss issues of environmental justice in a smaller setting so as to have an in-depth and nuanced conversation. The book chosen, New perspectives on environmental justice: Gender, sexuality, and activism, includes essays on the role women played in the environmental justice movement and the intersection of gender, sexuality, and environmental issues. Please contact Dr. Shannon Haley-Mize for more information or to obtain a  copy of the book (limited supply). 

Wednesday, September 24:
Environmental Policy Discussion
11:00 am-12:00 pm 
Musser Auditorium, Leffler Chapel and Performance Center
The goal of the panel is to discuss environmental issues from a policy perspective. Specifically, the panel will include a 30 minute moderated discussion of how policy decisions and environmental activism can help, but also potentially hurt, each other’s goals and a 30-minute Q&A with the audience. Please contact Jonathan Rudy for more information. Panelists include: 

Dr. Tom Murray, Professor of Biology and Director of the Environmental Science Program at Elizabethtown College. Dr. Murray’s primary research interests are in aquatic ecology and the restoration of impaired aquatic systems. He and his students are currently involved in a stream temperature research project with faculty and students at eleven other colleges and universities in the US and Canada as part of the EREN (Ecological Research as Education Network). That project investigates the impact of riparian buffers on stream temperature, a topic of particular interest in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. In addition, he and his students are engaged in the Conewago Collaborative Initiative, a multi-agency, long-term effort to restore the Conewago Creek. In that project, Dr. Murray’s students have been working on the US Fish and Wildlife restoration project at Hershey Meadows, 15 acres of new wetland and restored stream corridor located just outside Elizabethtown.

Joanne Kilgour, Esq., Director of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter in the organization’s Harrisburg office. Before joining the Sierra Club, Joanne held the position of Legal Director at the Center for Coalfield Justice in Washington, PA, working on matters related to underground mining and natural gas extraction. Joanne received her undergraduate education at Carnegie Mellon University and her legal education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she earned a certificate in Environmental Law, Science, and Policy and was awarded the Thornburgh Prize for Legal Service.

QuigleyJohn Quigley, principal of John H Quigley LLC and former Secretary of PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. He is a national leader on sustainable shale gas development and has advocated this position nationally and internationally on television, radio, and newspapers. He was a participant on CERA’s 2012 conference panel on hydraulic fracturing that was sponsored by Shell Oil; and keynoted the 2012 Howard Baker Forum Technology Workshop on shale gas in Washington, DC. His clients/consultancies include state/national/international NGO’s, foundations, state/foreign governments, and private industry.


Thursday, September 25:
Environmental Justice Debate
3:30-5:00 pm
The culmination of the Social Justice week is a debate between individuals on each side of Environmental Justice. The goal is to discuss the various sides of the issues of poverty and disparate impacts of environmental decisions across groups. Please contact Dr. Rita Shah for more information. Debaters include: 

Matthew Haar, Esq., litigation attorney and partner in the Harrisburg office of Saul Ewing LLP and member of the firm's Oil and Gas practice. He has experience litigating matters related to exploration, production and transportation of oil and natural gas, as well as disputes related to ownership of mineral rights, condemnation of rights of way for gas pipelines, personal injury and property damage.  He routinely represents clients in Pennsylvania state and federal courts as well as before Pennsylvania State Administrative Agencies.


Donald A. Brown, Scholar In Residence, Sustainability Ethics and Law; Professor, Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, PA. He is also currently a part-time Professor, Nanjing University of Science Information and Technology, Nanjing China where he lectures on climate change ethics. He taught courses on International Environmental Law, Human Rights Law, and Comparative Law and is a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 5th Assessment Report.  Previously he was Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics, Science, and Law at the Pennsylvania State University where he taught interdisciplinary courses on climate change and sustainable development.  Prior to that, he was an environmental lawyer for the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and Program Manager for United Nations Organizations at the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of International Environmental Policy. In this position he represented US EPA negotiating sustainability issues at the United Nations including climate change, international water issues, biodiversity, and Agenda 21.  Mr. Brown has written extensively on climate change and sustainability issues and lectured on these matters in 35 countries. His newest book has just been published in November 2012 by Rutledge, Earthscan, Navigating the Perfect Moral Storm, Climate Ethics. He manages an award winning blog, a publication that examines ethical issues that arise in climate change policy formation. He has written over 140 books, book chapters, and articles on climate change ethics.

Dr. Kyle C. Kopko, Etown class of 2005; Assistant Professor of Political Science; Director of the Pre-Law Program at Elizabethtown College. Dr. Kopko holds a Ph.D. in political science with a concentration in constitutional law from The Ohio State University, and a B.A. in political science from Elizabethtown College. His research has been featured in Election Law Journal, Judicature, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Political Behavior. He regularly teaches courses on constitutional law, judicial process, and American politics.


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