GREENVILLE, PA—World-renowned science, technology and environmental writer Eugene Linden and singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer will headline a series of events during Thiel College’s Earth Week 2008 from April 7 to 9.
This year’s event, the 10th annual celebration, will focus on “Honoring Earth’s Hospitality,” and include speakers, entertainment and a workshop for grade-school children.
MONDAY, APRIL 7
Karla I. Gustafson: “Xenos: A World Where All Are Strangers—or—Mapping the Journey from Bad Guests to Good Hosts”—4 p.m., Lutheran Heritage Room.
Karla Gustafson, a professor of ethics at Husson and Unity Colleges in Maine, explores the idea that Christian hospitality compels us to act with the Earth-honoring ethic of relatedness. Gustafson holds many degrees including a master’s in zoology from the University of Maine, a master’s of divinity from Bangor Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in ethics from Union Theological Seminary. She is active in both environmental and animal welfare work.
Margaret Lowman: “Earth’s Hospitality and Rainforest Canopy Biodiversity”— 7 p.m., Lutheran Heritage Room.
Meg Lowman, aka CanopyMeg, will share how the hospitality of nature enriches the life found in the rainforest canopy and what we can learn from that hospitality. Lowman is the director of environmental initiatives at New College in Florida. Her career spans more than 25 years of research in canopy ecology, particularly plant-insect relationships, in Australia Peru, Africa, the Americas and the South Pacific.
TUESDAY, APRIL 8
Elementary Student Workshop—9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Gymnasium
Area grade school students will be on Thiel’s campus to participate in the workshop “Hospitality of the Earth.” Presenters from the Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh will join with Thiel faculty and students to engage these young people in learning about the earth’s hospitality. This workshop is also open to home schooled children; to reserve a spot, call Dr. Joyce Cuff at 724-589-2066.
John Bartlett: “The Citizen’s Proposal for Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest”—4 p.m., Lutheran Heritage Room.
John Bartlett of Friends of the Allegheny Wilderness will lecture on his organization’s efforts to increase the percentage of the Allegheny National Forest that is granted “protected” status. Bartlett will show how we can “act locally” to ensure that increased wilderness protection is a priority of the stewardship of the forest.
John Caputo: “The Very Idea of Hospitality”—7 p.m., Lutheran Heritage Room
John Caputo, the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Humanities at Syracuse University, will discuss the concept of hospitality. Drawing on recent philosophical reflection on this theme, he will relate the concept to the idea of the Earth as host and include thoughts on the post-humanism movement that attempts to break down the human vs. nature dichotomy. Caputo specializes in continental philosophy of religion and contemporary approaches to religion and theology, among other topics.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9
Bryan Wagoner: “The Borders of Hospitality”—4 p.m., Lutheran Heritage Room.
Bryan Wagoner is the Global Institute scholar-in-residence at Thiel College and teaches courses in religion and Greek. He will discuss the notion of hospitality and how it relates to the immigration policies and practices of the United States. Hospitality requires limits, an issue that is at the forefront of how to best manage the country’s borders.
Eugene Linden: “Earth’s Hospitality and a Hospitable Environmental Politics”—7 p.m., Lutheran Heritage Room.
Eugene Linden is a world-renowned science, technology and environmental writer. He will address the fact that ecological and environmental inhospitality has its consequences. His most recent work, “Winds of Change: Climate, Weather and the Destruction of Civilizations,” reveals that civilizations become prosperous and complacent during good weather only to collapse as a result of drastic climate change and their consequences. Linden has written extensively about global warming, endangered animals, biodiversity, water supply threats, global deforestation and the politics of the environment.
Carrie Newcomer: “Earth’s Hospitality and the Geography of Light”— 8:30 p.m., David Johnson Memorial Chapel.
Singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer returns to Thiel College for her second Earth Week celebration in support of her 11th album, “The Geography of Light.” A musician, teacher, activist and Quaker, Newcomer will explore the way that hospitality shines a light that helps the giver and receiver shed those labels and move beyond them, while darkness enters and division occurs when hospitality fades and withdraws. Her contemporary folk songs include Appalachian and classical influences and she has shared the stage with artists like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Alison Krauss.
All of the events throughout the Earth Week celebration are free and open to the public. The events are sponsored by the Global Institute of Thiel College. Questions can be directed to co-directors of the Global Institute, Dr. Curt Thompson at 724-589-2016, Dr. Joyce Cuff at 724-589-2066 or Dr. Derek Nelson at 724-589-2191.