UWSP: Jared Diamond and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are featured speakers at EMSU 2006

University Relations and Communications, 715-346-3046, Fax 715-346-2042, www.uwsp.edu/news

Jared Diamond, a scientist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an environmental activist, attorney and best-selling author, will be the featured speakers at a conference on environmental sustainability in Stevens Point in June.

Diamond and Kennedy will address the 4th International Conference on Environmental Management for Sustainable Universities (EMSU 2006). The conference, scheduled for June 26-30, is hosted by the Global Environmental Management Education Center (GEM), a center within the College of Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

The sustainability conference is expected to draw 200 participants from the United States and internationally for discussions on how campuses and communities can better work together for a sustainable future. Previous EMSU conferences have been held in Mexico, South Africa and Sweden.

“We are delighted to have two such distinguished voices at our conference to catalyze hope and action to build a sustainable future,” said Victor Phillips, GEM director.

Diamond is currently a professor of geography at UCLA. His book, “Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Civilizations,” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 and challenged people’s assumptions about the rise and fall of civilizations. Diamond’s companion book, “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,” became an international best-seller.

Diamond’s lectures tackle the giant questions: Why do some societies thrive and prosper, while others shrivel and die; how can humanity maximize the opportunity for human happiness, while saving the planet from ecological ruin and collapse; are there lessons we can learn from other great civilizations who have grown to world dominance?

Kennedy, known for his staunch defense of the environment, serves as senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney at Pace University School of Law Environmental Litigation Clinic and is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio.

He has worked on environmental issues across the Americas and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands.

The theme of EMSU 2006 is “Transforming Ideas into Action: Building Sustainable Communities Beyond University Campuses.” The conference is targeted for a broad audience from university, business, government and nongovernment organizations.

The conference will feature discussion sessions on engaging business and industry commitment, enhancing intercultural understanding, greening energy systems, informing local land use decisions, educating for a sustainable livelihood, and introducing best environmental management operations.

In each case, Phillips said, the emphasis will be on partnerships that reach beyond university campuses. “GEM and our partners worldwide are helping local communities in Wisconsin and abroad solve natural resource problems in one stream segment, one farm field, one factory, one village at a time,” Phillips said.

Major funding for this conference is provided by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, and the Wisconsin River Power Co.

More information about EMSU 2006 is on the Web at www.uwsp.edu/cnr/GEM/EMSU/Home.htm.
For more information, contact Ron Tschida, GEM Communications Coordinator,
(715) 346-4266; [email protected]