Ecologist, Author Uhl to Speak at Susquehanna University
Published on August 30, 2010SELINSGROVE—Ecologist Christopher Uhl, professor of biology at Penn State, will present a talk, “Seeing Ourselves and Earth With New Eyes,” Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. in the university’s Weber Chapel Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
In addition to publishing numerous articles, Uhl is the author of “Developing Ecological Consciousness: Path to a Sustainable World” (Roman and Littlefield, 2004), which aims to cultivate a sense of respect and reverence for the natural world. He is completing a second book, “Teaching As If Life Matters,” which he says “grows out of my personal struggles as a teacher and my deep yearning to create learning environments that expand awareness and engender compassion.”
As an ecologist, Uhl looks at the world and sees a finite planet being overwhelmed by humans. As he summarizes, “soils are thinner, ground water increasingly polluted and scarce, the atmosphere tainted, climate destabilized, and many plant and animal species endangered.”
Early in his career, Uhl had an interest in both medicine and ecology, and he has joined these interests under the rubric of “ecological healing." During the 1980s, he studied the ways in which Amazon ecosystems heal after human assaults. In the 1990s, he focused on the role that universities might play in healing—for example, by assuming roles of leadership in the so-called Sustainability Revolution.
Uhl’s talk is part of this year’s Common Reading program at Susquehanna, which engages first-year students, faculty and staff in a semester-long dialogue around common reading material related to the university’s annual theme. Reflecting the 2010-11 theme, this year’s Common Reading assignment is an anthology of works about A Sustainable Future, including excerpts from “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan, and “The Future of Life” by Edward O. Wilson. Wilson will deliver a lecture at Susquehanna on Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. in Weber Chapel Auditorium.