Monthly Archive for January, 2010

Schedule of OneBook/Conversations events on environment & sustainability

Continuing the OneBook/Conversations program’s focus on sustainability this academic year, the organizers have lined up three high-profile events for spring.

Jan. 29, 12:00-1:00, Central Library, 6th floor — “The Sustainable Upside-Down Cement Boat: The Whitehawk Community Experiment” — Lecture by English Professor Ken Roemer –  Details

Feb. 12, 12:00-1:00, Palo Pinto Room, University Center – “Bodily Natures: The Environmental Activism of the Posthuman” — Lecture by PSC Co-Chair and English Professor Stacy Alaimo – Details

March 10, 7:00, Rosebud Theater — Bill McKibben — A presentation by the popular author of Deep Economy, this year’s OneBook selection – Details

OneBook home page

Update on carbon footprint reduction

Yesterday I updated the PSC Steering Committee on the carbon footprint reduction initiative. The committee requested that Sustainability Director Meghna Tare prepare a proposal on how to formally get footprint reduction planning underway.


New course: Justice, Democracy, and Metropolitan Environments

INTS 4388:

Justice, Democracy, and Metropolitan Environments

Spring 2010

Instructor: Prof. Michan Andrew Connor

Issues of environmental protection, sustainability, and “green” practices have received a great deal of attention as technical and scientific problems. Often it is assumed that devising new technology or amassing authoritative scientific knowledge of environmental problems is the key to solving them. In this course we will consider a different point of view, expressed by Ulrich Beck (1986), that “environmental problems are fundamentally based in how human society is organized.”

We will also seek to overcome the perception that “the environment” is equated to “nature” and is separate from human society by evaluating ways that people encounter environmental issues in the metropolitan areas where a majority of Americans now live. “Acting locally” means understanding how environmental issues and movements relate to diverse and socially complex metropolitan communities. Can the environmental movement help metropolitan residents create better relations with their fellow humans and their whole environment?

Most Americans recognize a general need for environmental protection, but there is no clear agreement on how people should participate in achieving that goal. Who will decide what should be done, and whose ideas and values will govern decisions?

Students in this course will use an interdisciplinary approach to understand how sustainability connects to other social issues, and how people experience these in their daily environments. Students will read and discuss scholarly research and primary sources related to environmental movements and metropolitan conditions, analyze messages in popular culture about the environment and metropolitan areas, and complete a series of short written assignments including response papers and an essay that applies different disciplinary perspectives to a particular metropolitan social/environmental problem.

This Interdisciplinary Studies course is open to students in all UT Arlington programs. Course prerequisites can be waived. Contact the instructor.



New course: 1-hour seminar on Deep Economy


EVSE 6100 Environmental & Earth Sciences Seminar

Spring 2010

Deep Economy: A Path to Sustainability?


The One Book selection for 2009-2010 is Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, by Bill McKibben. The book addresses the theme of sustainability, particularly emphasizing the importance of eating and buying locally. Students in this seminar will read and discuss Deep Economy, analyze its arguments from a life cycle analysis perspective, talk to the owner of Potager (restaurant with locally grown food), discuss neo-traditional urban design, and attend and review McKibben’s March lecture at UT Arlington.


For more info, contact Asst. Prof. Melanie Sattler, Dept. of Civil Engineering, 817/272-5410

New Honors course: The Literature and Science of Environmental Crisis

English Professor Stacy Alaimo announces:

HONR-LA 2303 — The Literature and Science of Environmental Crisis

Indra Sinha, the author of a novel about the Bhopal disaster, has said, “the Bhopal issue is so complex, its various strands—legal, medical, social, human, environmental, political—are so intertangled that it would take a Ph.D. to unravel them.” Current environmental crises are complicated matters that require us to understand them from multiple perspectives, including those of the sciences, the social sciences, and the arts and humanities.

This class will focus on how recent literary texts (as well as film, photography, and websites) portray current environmental crises. We will focus on four major issues: toxins, climate change, extinction and biodiversity, and the state of the oceans. We will explore how the literature, film, photography, and web sites portray these issues, examining how they incorporate scientific facts and frameworks, how they make different kinds of appeals to their audiences, and how they attempt to effect change. More broadly we will discuss the relationship between literature and science as well as the question of how well scientific information travels across different domains. The class will require presentations, a midterm and a final exam, a short paper, and a final project that will require cross-disciplinary research. (Students will choose the focus of their final project and choose whether to write a research paper or create a multi-media work.)

The literature includes novels, autobiographies, science writing, and science fiction, including: Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream: A Scientists Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment; Suzanne Antonetta, Body Toxic; Indra Sinha, Animal’s People; Mark Lynas, High Tide: The Truth About Climate Change; E.O. Wilson, The Future of Life; Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake; Ruth Ozeki, All Over Creation; and Sylvia Earle, The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Oceans are One. The films will include Everything’s Cool: A Toxic Comedy about Global Warming, Texas Gold; one episode of The Blue Planet, and the science/art films of Jean Painlevé. We will also discuss activist web sites, government web sites, poems, and scientific texts.

Note: This is an introductory class that does not assume any advanced knowledge in either literature or science.

Prerequisite: membership in the Honors College.

Meghna Tare becomes Sustainability Director; Office of Sustainability is launched

Meghna Tare has been named as the University’s first Sustainability Director.

Meghna TareShe holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from San Jose State University in California and a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of San Francisco. She was an environmental manager with the City of Dallas’ Office of Environmental Quality for the past three years and has taught environmental studies at California State University at Hayward and worked at Stanford University with the Institute of Environmental Science and Policy.

The PSC enthusiastically welcomes her and looks forward to working with her to advance the institution’s sustainability programs.

Tare’s arrival is doubly noteworthy because it marks the opening of the Office of Sustainability. The office is located in Preston Hall, room 204 (Box 19333).

Contact info for Meghna Tare:


Press release, 1/5/10

Shorthorn article, 1/19/10

Congratulations to first Faculty Fellows on Sustainability

The recipients of the first Faculty Fellowships on Sustainability have been announced. Congratulations to all three.

Peggy Semingsen

Dr. Peggy Semingsen, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, on Integrating Topics of Sustainability with Literacy Curriculum for Pre-Service Teachers.
This project will show students preparing to be reading teachers how to incorporate content related to sustainability in their lessons, using children’s books addressing sutainability issues.

Danielle Davis

Dr. Danielle Davis, Department of Educational Leadership, on Environmental Equity & Academic Success: Narrowing the Educational Achievement Gap via Green Practices & Leadership.
This project will help graduate students better understand how environmental problems can disproportionately affect low income and minority communities, which may contribute to the achievement gap seen among students from these communities.

Wendy Casper

Dr. Wendy Casper, Department of Management, on Corporate Social Responsibility or Public Relations Campaign? Walmart’s Sustainability Initiative. This project will involve MBA students in examining corporate sustainability policies to evaluate whether these policies reflect a commitment to social responsibility or a public relations effort, and their potential contributions to the business, the surrounding community and the world.