All-Day Celebration Planned for Newly Expanded Environmental Program


Publication Date: 10/28/2008

Environmental crusaders and writers Mark London, Thomas E. Lovejoy and Charles C. Mann will be on hand at Rhodes College November 11 for an all-day celebration of the college’s newly expanded Environmental Studies Program. Events include a class lecture, conversations with the experts, reports on campus environmental initiatives, an inauguration ceremony, and a public panel discussion.

In The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of Globalization (2007), London and coauthor Brian Kelly document changes that have occurred since 1980 in the Amazon. Through observation and interviews, the authors paint a picture of the political, environmental, and social tumult that has developed as a result of Brazil trying to strike a balance between protecting the forest and protecting the economic welfare of its people. London graduated from Amherst College in 1974 and attended law school at George Washington University. He is a trial lawyer and a partner in the firm of London and Mead in Washington D.C.

Lovejoy, who is credited with coining the term “biological diversity” in the 1980s, is president of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. He has served as the World Bank’s Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Assistant Secretary at the Smithsonian Institution as well as served on science and environmental councils under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. Lovejoy holds B. S. and Ph.D. (biology) degrees from Yale University and is coauthor of Atlas of Bird Migration: Tracing the Great Journeys of the World′s Birds (2007), Climate Change and Biodiversity (2005), and Lessons from Amazonia: The Ecology and Conservation of a Fragmented Forest (2001).

Mann, in his widely acclaimed book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus (2005), challenges the conventional wisdom that the Americas were sparsely populated continents with underused territory before the Europeans arrived and argues that the indigenous peoples of the Americas might have radically shaped the natural landscape of the continents to the point that even features of the Amazon rainforest can be seen as products of human intervention. Mann has written for The Atlantic Monthly, Science and Wired as well as covered science, technology and commerce for various national and international newspapers and magazines. He is working on a companion volume to 1491; an early excerpt appeared in National Geographic in 2007.

The environmental program at Rhodes plays to the college’s strengths in interdisciplinary learning and is designed to allow students to choose an Environmental Science or Environmental Studies minor based on their inclinations for science and social science/humanity courses. With a major grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, three postdoctoral positions in history (Dr. Tait Keller), international studies (Dr. Jennifer Sciubba) and anthropology/sociology (Dr. Robert Lusteck) have been funded to offer courses/programming for students to tackle complex environmental issues and implement research/outreach projects in areas such as environmental law and activism.

With additional initiatives such as the Environmental Planning Cooperative, Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Environmental Residents Program, Kinney Environmental Program, and student internships, Rhodes plans to establish itself as a leader in the national higher education conversation on the environment.

Environmental Program Celebration Schedule

9:30 a.m.
Mark London Speaks to Latin American Studies Class Taught by Dr. Michael LaRosa
Room 205 in Palmer Hall
For enrolled students only

11 a.m.
“Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910” Presentation by Dr. Jeffrey Jackson of the Department of History
Orgill Room in Clough Hall
Free and open to the public

Environmental Programs Summit
Hyde Hall in Burrow Refectory
By invitation only

2 p.m.
“A Conversation with Charles C. Mann”
Orgill Room in Clough Hall
Free and open to the public

4:15 p.m.
Environmental Program Inauguration Ceremony Hosted by President William E. Troutt
Thomas Lovejoy will discuss how interdisciplinary programs such as the one at Rhodes tie in with the national and international conversation about environmental issues.
Barret 051
Free and open to the public

7:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion of Environmental Issues Led by Mark London, Thomas E. Lovejoy and Charles C. Mann
McCallum Ballroom in Bryan Campus Life Center
Free and open to the public

Those with specific inquiries can contact Dr. David Kesler, Environmental Science Program Director, at 901-843-3555 or