Paleoclimatologist Jack Hall must make a daring trek from Washington, D.C. to New York City to reach his son, trapped in the cross-hairs of a sudden international storm. The film depicts catastrophic climatic effects following the disruption of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation in a series of extreme weather events that usher in global cooling and lead to a new ice age.
Written and directed by Roland Emmerich. Starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum and Sela Ward. (2014)
Architects Timothy Lock and Riley Pratt, in collaboration with students in Colby’s Architectural Design Workshop, explore how architectural practice is changing for a carbon-neutral built environment and addressing the goals set by the Paris Accord and the American Institute of Architects 2030 commitment.
The Clara M. Southworth lecture series, endowed in 1969 by the interior designer from Portland, Maine, is meant to “bring annually to the campus a distinguished lecturer or lecturers to speak on a subject in the broad field of environmental design with emphasis on understanding some of the underlying philosophies of design which relate to the way in which men live.”
In the space of a few hours on October 23, 1947, a furious wildfire destroyed almost all of the small western Maine town of Brownfield. Neighbors fought and fled the fire, then returned, determined to rebuild their community as best they could. Drawing on interviews with townspeople, letters, photographs, and newspaper reports, Radner tells an epic story of terror, courage, generosity, and hope.
Lovell storyteller Jo Radner spent a year interviewing people who experienced the Brownfield Fire – residents who did and did not lose their homes, as well as others who aided in the rescue and rebuilding effort. From those interviews and from letters and historical photographs and newspaper reports, Radner has created a powerful story of terror, courage, neighborly responsibility, recovery, and – yes – even humor.
Richard Blanco is the fifth presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history—the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exiled parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work. His work is also influenced by his other career as an environmental engineer. “People sort of misunderstand and I have to clarify … I didn’t give up engineering to become a poet. I’ve been a poet-engineer all my life,” he said.
In 2013, he was a guest of honor at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, because, in the words of its director, his poetry “explores our connections to place – our physical place, our place in the communities we inhabit, and our place in a complex and rapidly changing world.”
He is the author of the memoirs The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey; the poetry chapbooks Matters of the Sea, One Today, and Boston Strong; the poetry collections Looking for the Gulf Motel, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, and City of a Hundred Fires; a children’s book of his inaugural poem, “One Today,” illustrated by Dav Pilkey; and Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler. Blanco’s many honors include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Paterson Poetry Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, and two Maine Literary Awards.
Oak Spring Lecture
Moving Our Most Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving
Mustafa Ali, The Hip Hop Caucus
7 p.m., Ostrove
Mustafa Ali is the Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization for the Hip Hop Caucus. The Hip Hop Caucus is a national, non-profit and non-partisan organization that connects the Hip Hop community to the civic process to build power and create positive change. As HHC Senior Vice President, he leads the strategic direction,expansion and operation of the Hip Hop Caucus’ portfolio on Climate, Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization. Mustafa is renowned as a National Speaker, Trainer and Facilitator specializing in Social Justice issues focused on revitalizing our most vulnerable communities. Throughout his career, Mr. Ali has conducted over 1,000 presentations across the country, including speeches, guest lecturers and trainings. He has also worked with over 500 domestic and international communities to secure environmental, health and economic justice. Mustafa Ali joined the Hip Hop Caucus, after working 24 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Brooke Williams has spent the last thirty years advocating for wilderness. He is the author of four books, including Open Midnight, Halflives: Reconciling Work and Wildness, and The Story of My Heart, by Richard Jeffries, as rediscovered by Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams. His journalistic pieces have appeared in Outside, Huffington Post, Orion, and Saltfront. Williams teaches a Colby Jan Plan course in Environmental Storytelling.
The Colby Symphony Orchestra begins the spring semester with Dvorak’s Symphony no. 8—another work in the “pastoral” setting of the countryside, reminiscent of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony—and New York-based composer Emily Wong’s Symphony no. 1 Structures.
Danish three-man art collective Superflex, whose work addresses consumerism and the environment, created this evocative 21-minute film in which a life-size replica of the interior of a McDonald’s burger bar is gradually flooded with water. Furniture is lifted up by the water, trays of food and drinks start to float around, electrics short circuit and eventually the space becomes completely submerged. Directed by Rasmus Nielsen, Jakob Fenger and Bjørnstjerne Reuter Christiansen. (2009)
Author, filmmaker and activist John de Graaf contends that a new focus on natural beauty and human design, restoring ecosystems and revitalizing communities can help bring polarized Americans together toward great justice and sustainability. Is he right? Come and judge for yourself and prepare to be inspired.
John deGraaf is the founder and outreach director of the And Beauty For All campaign, author of Affluenza, Take Back Your Time, and What’s the Economy For Anyway? and has produced more than 40 documentaries. His first film, A Common Man’s Courage won the award as Best Local Public Television Program in the US for 1977 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Since then he has received more than 100 regional, national and international awards for filmmaking.
Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the most well-known and respected science fiction writers in the world. His work has received 11 major awards from the science fiction field and has been translated into 23 languages. His Mars trilogy was an international bestseller, and continues to be one of the most widely read works of science fiction, a benchmark in discussions of humanity in space. The intensively researched nature of Robinson’s fiction, and the integrated nature of his various interests, ranging from the physical and human sciences to sustainability issues, political economy, urban design and climate change lends a realism to his writing that has been described as “for the future and from the future.” His most recent work, New York 2140, envisions life in New York City after sea levels have risen fifty feet.
Mr. Robinson will speak on themes he explores in his works, which center on the opportunities he sees for humanity to build more sustainable and just societies in response to current and future environmental challenges.
Environmental Humanities scholars with an interest in gathering insights on environmental issues from other disciplines may wish to attend this economics seminar by Dave McEvoy, whose research areas include environmental economics. Though the topic of his talk has not yet been determined, he recently co-authored a paper titled The prospects for Paris: behavioral insights into unconditional cooperation on climate change. Its abstract reads: “Recent survey evidence from the United States suggests that most Americans support domestic policies to address climate change, and this support is not conditional on other countries’ commitment levels. The finding is somewhat perplexing because climate change is by definition a collective problem that requires a collective response. However, the question of why Americans support unconditional climate initiatives has not been addressed. We present survey evidence that shows a willingness to act alone is not the result of misunderstanding the collective nature of the climate problem, but rather people are driven by notions of responsibility, morality and global leadership.”
After an attempt at climate engineering to stop global warming goes wrong, a new ice age is triggered. The last remnants of humanity travel around the globe on the train Snowpiercer, on which a new class system has emerged. This English-language South Korean-Czech science fiction action film is based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette. Directed by Bong Joon-ho. Starring Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, and Tilda Swinton. (2013)
Two English faculty will discuss their work as it relates to Mary Shelly, the department’s spring theme. Arthur Jeremiah Roberts Professor of Literature Mary Ellis Gibson will present the paper “On ‘The Last Man’ and Geoapocalypse” about Indian science fiction and the colonial problematic.
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities Chris Walker will present his paper “Cyborg Agency and Anthropocene Myth: The Afterlives of Prometheus” on myth and science fiction in the Anthropocene. Students are welcome. Refreshments will be provided.
Join the Environmental Studies Program as we welcome Jan Plan instructor Brooke Williams back to campus to share his latest writings and musings on dragonflies.
Brooke Williams has spent the last thirty years advocating for wilderness, most recently with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. His journalistic pieces have been featured in Outside, Huffington Post, Orion, and Saltfront. He is also the author of four books, including “Halflives: Reconciling Work and Wilderness”, “The Story of My Heart”, by Richard Jeffries, as rediscovered by Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams, and “Open Midnight”.
What role can comics and other forms of literary-visual art play in our conversations about the environment? This talk by Thomas Doran, assistant professor, Rhode Island School of Design, explores how comics-art functions as a unique medium for telling stories about how humans and other animals relate to their environments, focusing especially on the form’s capacity for representing time, space, and interspecies consciousness. Sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program.
Q&A with Faculty Seminar in Environmental Humanities
6 p.m., Miller 14
Colby faculty participants in the Faculty Seminar in Environmental Humanities have discussed humanities approaches to environmental issues in a year-long seminar, and they would like to share some of their excitement with you. Come learn their answers to questions like these: What are the environmental humanities? What makes humanities approaches to environmental issues distinctive and important? How might your current research or coursework intersect with the ongoing environmental humanities initiative? What courses in environmental humanities are already being offered at Colby? Refreshments will be provided.
1:00 – Backstrand, Sarah W. (’18)
Kudzu: A Reflection on Interconnectedness and Love
1:14 – Donchik, Katherine A. (’18)
1:28 – Hurley, Meghan A. (’20)
Growth and Decay of Nature, Humans, and Human Nature
1:42 – Kullberg, Alyssa T. (’18)
Catfish bleed crude
1:56 – Plante, Tucker B. (’18)
Bees in the Anthropocene
2:10 – Theyerl, Benjamin T. (’20)
Becoming With the Season; Becoming With Home
The fourth installment of the Mad Max series is set in a post apocalyptic Australian desert wasteland where gasoline and water are scarce commodities. A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in search for her homeland with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max. They escape in an armored tanker truck and a lengthy road battle ensues. Directed by George Miller. Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult. (2015)