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2013 Sustainability Lecture


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*Fulfills the spring 2013 Signature Course University Lecture Series requirement
Doors open at 6:30 for refreshments | Free and open to the public
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The President’s Sustainability Steering Committee and the Office of Sustainability have collaborated with the School of Undergraduate Studies to offer the 2nd annual sustainability-focused lecture that fulfills the spring 2013 Signature Course University Lecture Series requirement.

Dr. John B. Callicott, University Distinguished Researh Professor and formerly Regents Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Texas, and Dr. Sahotra Sarkar, Professor of Philosophy and Integrative Biology at UT Austin, will discuss sustainability and the ethics of our personal actions in this lecture entitled Sustainability: 7 billion and counting. Why do my actions matter?

During this era of rapid human population growth, global climate variability, unemployment, resource depletion, and political stalemate, students at The University of Texas at Austin are faced with questions such as ‘what is my personal role in shaping our world's future?', 'what is a good life?', 'does it even matter?' —questions that underlie the essence of sustainability. Current and future student generations face critical decisions about the efficient and equitable use of the planet’s natural resources, which will only become more difficult as the world’s population continues to grow. Callicott and Sarkar will address the complexity of developing and practicing environmental ethics and challenge attendees to think critically about their individual role as students, community members, and citizens of the planet in creating our common future.

The session will be moderated by Jim Walker, Director of Sustainability, in an engaging format where students and audience members will be encouraged to think critically about the topic, share their insights and ask questions. The event will be held in KLRU Studio 6A (CMB Building), the former home to Austin City Limits.

Contact alicegerhart@austin.utexas.edu for more information.

About our 2013 Presenters

Image of Sahotra SarkarDr. Sahotra Sarkar
Department of Philosophy
Section of Integrative Biology
University of Texas at Austin

Sahotra Sarkar (born 1962) is a philosopher of science and conservation biologist at the University of Texas at Austin. He is one of the founders of systematic conservation planning within conservation biology. In philosophy of science he is known for his work on reductionism and his criticism of hereditarian thinking in biology. He is also a noted critic of creationism and intelligent design. Sarkar is originally from India. He is the author of several books and articles about philosophy and science. He earned a BA from Columbia University, and a MA and PhD from the University of Chicago.


Image of John CallicotDr. John Baird Callicott
University Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies
University of North Texas

J. Baird Callicott is University Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and formerly Regents Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Texas. He is co-Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy and author or editor of a score of books and author of dozens of journal articles, encyclopedia articles, and book chapters in environmental philosophy and ethics. Callicott has served the International Society for Environmental Ethics as President and Yale University as Bioethicist-in-Residence, and he has served the UNT Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies as chair. His research goes forward simultaneously on four main fronts: theoretical environmental ethics; comparative environmental ethics and philosophy; the philosophy of ecology and conservation policy; and biocomplexity in the environment, coupled natural and human systems (sponsored by the National Science Foundation). Callicott is perhaps best known as the leading contemporary exponent of Aldo Leopold’s land ethic and is currently exploring an Aldo Leopold Earth ethic in response to global climate change. He taught the world’s first course in environmental ethics in 1971 at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His teaching at UNT includes graduate and undergraduate courses in ancient Greek philosophy and ethical theory in addition to environmental philosophy.