Campus News

Sustainable food systems expert to give Odum Environmental Ethics Lecture

Gary Nabhan
Gary Nabhan

Gary Nabhan, an agricultural ecologist, ethnobotanist and author whose work has focused primarily on the plants and cultures of the desert Southwest, will give UGA’s Odum Environmental Ethics Lecture Oct. 26 at 4 p.m. in Room 123 of the Jackson Street Building. Nabhan’s lecture, “Integrating Indigenous Science, Academic Science and Citizen Science for All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventories in Threatened Landscapes,” is open free to the public.

Nabhan is a scholar of conservation and environmental themes, particularly with respect to food. He is a prolific writer, having authored or co-authored 28 books on diverse topics, many for popular audiences. He currently holds the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center. Nabhan is also a professed member of the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans, and much of his environmental activism and work for food justice have involved the ­Franciscan Action Network and other grassroots, interfaith initiatives.

The focus of the lecture will be a June 2016 cover story of the journal BioScience, which explored the emergent properties and creative tensions among “three sciences” in documenting and protecting landscape-level biodiversity in culturally influenced terrestrial and marine habitats. His talk will highlight 20 years of success in community-based projects with the Seri or Comcaac community in the Sea of Cortez region of Mexico.

Each year the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts joins the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program to co-sponsor the Environmental Ethics Lecture, which honors the late ecologist Eugene P. Odum, a UGA instructor from 1940 until his retirement in 1984. He has been called the “father of modern ecology” and was the author of the pioneering book Fundamentals of Ecology. Odum was instrumental in the creation of the Institute of Ecology at UGA, the Savannah River Ecology and the Sapelo Island Marine Science Institute. The Odum Environmental Ethics Lecture is hosted by Dorinda G. Dallmeyer, director of the EECP.

“Over the last 25 years, the challenges posed by our changing global ecosystem have outstripped the abilities of scientists alone to solve them. And scientists know this,” Dallmeyer said. “Academic ecologists and anthropologists now enlist help from citizen scientists and seek out the insights of indigenous communities whose experience may span centuries of living sustainably in tune with their local environment. Through his many books and essays, Gary Nabhan is an eloquent spokesman for this integrated approach binding people to place, and how we adapt and share the necessities for life with all the inhabitants of the biosphere.”

This year’s lecture is co-sponsored by the UGA department of anthropology and the Center for Integrative Conservation Research.