Critical Issues Symposium Will Examine Environment
Posted September 18, 2001
HOLLAND -- The 21st Critical Issues Symposium at
Hope College will take an in-depth look at environmental
issues with "Earth Matters: Daily Decisions, Environmental
Echoes" on Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 2-3.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
The symposium will include local and global
perspectives on the issue, with topics ranging from
contamination in the Kalamazoo River, to oil drilling on the
Great Lakes, to the disposal of chemical weapons. Keynote
address topics will include an overview of the general
topic, perspectives on Christianity and the environment, and
steps for the future.
"In examining the environment we are, in fact,
seeking to understand our relationship with the planet,"
said Alfredo Gonzales, who is associate provost at Hope and
chair of the symposium. "Pollution of any sort--in water,
air or ground--will in large measure diminish the quality of
life as we currently know it. We must, therefore, use our
minds and all of our material resources to care for the
planet. This is our moral duty, this is what it means to be
citizens of the world."
"In sponsoring the Critical Issues Symposium, Hope
College continues its academic tradition of preparing
students to wrestle with the most critical issues of our
time," he said. "We can not think of a more critical issue
than the environment."
The symposium presentations will be preceded by a
concert by the Hope College Jazz Ensemble on Tuesday, Oct.
2, at 6 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.
The opening keynote address, "Designing a Better
World," will be presented on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Dimnent
Memorial Chapel by David Orr, who is professor and chair of
the environmental studies program at Oberlin College in
Ohio. Orr was behind the effort to design and build
Oberlin's Environmental Studies Center, a $7.4 million
building which produces more energy than it uses. His talk
will provide an overview of the environment as a topic in
addition to exploring how deliberate effort in development
can minimize negative ecological impact.
A group of seven concurrent roundtable discussions
will follow at 8:30 p.m. at a variety of campus locations.
Topics include politics and the environment; nuclear energy
and fossil fuels; oil drilling under the Great Lakes;
literary environmentalism; urban development; environmental
racism; and recycling and ecologically-oriented efforts at
At 10 p.m. on Tuesday, musician Erik Muiderman and
combo will present a concert with an environmental theme in
the Knickerbocker Theatre.
The symposium will continue on Wednesday, Oct. 3,
at 9 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel with a keynote address
by Calvin DeWitt focused on Christianity and the
environment. DeWitt is a professor of environmental studies
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, director of the Au
Sable Institute for Environmental Studies and co-founder of
the Evangelical Environmental Network.
During the college's Chapel service on Wednesday
at 10:30 a.m., Wesley-Granberg-Michaelson will discuss the
environment. Granberg-Michaelson, who is general secretary
of the Reformed Church in America and a 1967 Hope graduate,
is author of several books and articles on the environment.
Two series of concurrent focus sessions will
follow, at 11:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. respectively. In
addition to presentations by the event's keynote speakers
and Granberg-Michaelson, the sessions will include topics
such as "Assessing Environmental Risk at Contaminated Sites
Along the Kalamazoo River"; "French Fries, Tuna Fish, and
Nerve Gas: Getting Toxins Off the Menu"; and "Beyond
Headlines and Hype: Grassroots Activists Bringing Social
The concluding keynote address, which will
consider the ocean and the environment as well as actions
that can make a positive difference in the state of the
planet, will be delivered on Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. in
Dimnent Memorial Chapel by Susan Power Bratton, who is
professor and chairperson of environmental studies at Baylor
University in Waco, Texas.
In addition, an "Environmental Fair" will run on
Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the college's Pine Grove
(lower level of Dimnent Memorial Chapel if rain). The fair
will feature displays by a number of local organizations
focused on the environment.
Multiple related events have also been scheduled
in advance and following the symposium. Admission to most
of the events is free.
Performance artist Billy Curmano will present
"Muck Minnow, Gill Boy" on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. at
the Knickerbocker Theatre. An exhibition of Curmano's work
will run Friday, Sept. 28, through Saturday, Oct. 6, at
the Holland Area Arts Council. There will be an artist's reception on Friday, Sept. 28 from 6-8 p.m.
Ken Freestone, executive director of the Macatawa
Greenway Partnership, will present "Ken Freestone and Kermit
the Frog: We Like Bein' Green" on Friday, Sept. 28, at 3
p.m. in room B50 of the Peale Science Center through the
college's Biology Seminar Series.
Harry Potter, an associate professor in the
Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Purdue
University, will present "Power, Social Change and the
Environmental Movement Room" on Friday, Oct. 5, at 8:30 a.m.
in room 240 of Van Zoeren Hall.
The San Francisco Mime Troupe will present "Eating
It," a comedic examination of the topic of genetically
engineered foods, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 8 p.m. in the
DeWitt Center main theatre. Live music will begin at 7:30
p.m., and audience discussion will follow the program.
Tickets for "Eating It" will be sold at the door, and cost
$10 for regular adult admission and $5 for students.
First held in 1980, the Critical Issues Symposium
is an annual all-campus event, offered as a part of the
college's academic program, that examines a socially
significant issue via presentations and small group
discussions led by experts. Past symposium topics have
ranged from apartheid in South Africa, to the American
dream, to genetic engineering and research, to feminism and
faith, to the Internet.