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Skidmore College
Environmental Studies and Sciences

2003 - 2004

Environmental Sustainability and Higher Education Conference

This event was designed to assist student, staff, faculty, and community leaders in understanding:

  • the meaning of sustainability and its importance for a secure and civil society.
  • the critical role of higher education in creating a sustainable world.
  • strategies for making sustainability a foundation of higher education learning and practice.
  • their role in creating the transformative changes needed in higher education.

The day-long forum included a live satellite telecast with a panel of national experts which was transmitted to 150 colleges across the country. It was an opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to join city officials, area colleges, and local business leaders and professionals in learning about what is going on, talking about what we can do as individuals, and discussing the role that higher education can and should play.

Sodexho Campus Services, the Environmental Studies Program, and a local architectural firm teamed together to sponsor this event, which included presentations about sustainability in New York state, the Capital District, and in our local community. Skidmore's approach to environmental responsibility (noted in the Strategic Plan) and Green Building were discussed as part of the planning process for the New Music Center (a Green Filene) and future student housing.

Our local panel included a student - Christina Oliva '04, a faculty member - Sue Van Hook, and an administrator - Karl Broekhuizen, along with Geoff Bornemann - the city's Planning Officer, Jean Stark - a LEED-certified architect from JMZ Architects in Glens Falls, and Charle-Pan Dawson from NYSERDA - New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Annual Environmental Studies Welcoming Reception

Containment: Life After Three Mile Island

A Film by Chris Boebel and Nick Poppy

Synopsis: Containment: Life After Three Mile Island examines the legacy of the March, 1979 accident at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island nuclear plant (TMI) through the lens of the nearby community of Middletown. The film explores the accident’s long-term effects on local residents, including the rise of anti-nuclear activism, psychological consequences and the debate over health effects.

A question & answer session with the producers and a reception immediately followed the film.

“Trashing the Planet? The Role of the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO in the Destruction of the Earth”

David Batker
Director of the APEX (Asia-Pacific Environmental Exchange) Center for Applied Ecological Economics at Seattle in Washington

APEX currently has observer status at the United Nation’s Basel Convention which regulates the trade in toxic waste and is very actively involved in advising nations on developing ecologically sustainable and equitable policies regarding the traffic in toxic waste. In addition to his involvement in APEX, David Batker is part of a group that is involved in developing regulations concerning the production and disposal of computers and electronic waste at local, state, national and international levels, and is engaged in coordinating the collaboration between spot prawn fishery managers in five jurisdictions from Alaska to California on integrating management with ecosystem health and ecological economics.

“Globalization, Tourism, and the Invention of Nature in China and Taiwan”

Robert P. Weller
Professor of Anthropology, Boston University

By examining the development of nature tourism in contemporary China and Taiwan, the talk explored the relations between global and indigenous environmentalisms. "Nature" is an introduced concept in China, and conservation and tourism efforts built around it are open to alternate constructions. Neither theories of globalization as inevitable Westernization nor those of creolization and melange modernities capture these dynamics very well. The carriers of these understandings of the environment differ greatly in their power and salience, which limits the policy influence of alternative environmentalisms.

Multi-dimensional study of the Watervliet watershed and reservoir

Todd Fabozzi
GIS Specialist for the Capital District Regional Planning Commission
Principle author of this study

Todd discussed the problems of the effects of growth and development within the Watervliet watershed. He is currently studying other watersheds in the area, including Saratoga Lake. His focus is on the factors that need to be included in such a study with examples drawn from the Watervliet Reservoir analysis.

A copy of this study can be found at:
(This file is 11 megs in size!)

Bolivia and Globalization talk

Marcela Olivera

Marcela is Bolivian and has worked extensively in Bolivia with the recent and intense struggles against the privatization of their water. She recently moved to DC where she works internationally on issues involving globalization, the WTO, and the World Bank. This was a worthwhile and educational experience that enhanced our discourse on development, multi-national economic projects, and the consequences on the poor.

Zankel Lecture: Eat Like a Man: America’s Deadly Romance with Beef

Professor Pushkala Prasad, Skidmore College

The talk focused on the American beef industry’s ability to sustain its legitimacy in the wake of numerous crises concerning the safety of industrial beef and its increasing environmental unsustainibility. Professor Prasad examined beef’s historical and ongoing appeal through the discourses of nationalism and masculinity. She also discussed some of the organized resistance to industrial beef from consumer, environmental and medical organizations, and will address some of the implications of increased beef consumption.

Earth Day Festival

ES Capstone Event as part of the Academic Festival

See the Spring 2004 capstone project descriptions for more information.