Presentation on theme: "Go to the Ant: Finding Truth in the Natural World Bruce Conn."— Presentation transcript:
Go to the Ant: Finding Truth in the Natural World Bruce Conn
Atheistic Perspectives God does not exist, and thus humanity is nothing more than one of many species that arose purely by chance; thus, the notion of environmental morality is nonsense.God does not exist, and thus humanity is nothing more than one of many species that arose purely by chance; thus, the notion of environmental morality is nonsense. God does not exist, but environmental morality is essential and must be based on human self preservation.God does not exist, but environmental morality is essential and must be based on human self preservation.
Theistic Perspectives God does exist, and we are created in his image, but there is no basis for our having an environmental morality.God does exist, and we are created in his image, but there is no basis for our having an environmental morality. God does exist, we are created in his image, and it is our obligation to maintain an environmental morality.God does exist, we are created in his image, and it is our obligation to maintain an environmental morality.
Scientific Considerations of Greening the University Greening the Ivory Tower, as described by Sarah Hammond CreightonGreening the Ivory Tower, as described by Sarah Hammond Creighton –Environmental action as education Greening the University’s MissionGreening the University’s Mission –Education as environmental action
Greening the Ivory Tower First Floor Plan Water-conservation measures Recycling and waste-reduction measures Drive-in vehicle port to link with the outdoor laboratory Energy-efficient heat exchange system Landscaping with native vegetation Museum of local natural history for public outreach
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6: 6-8 Greening the University’s Mission
“Consider the lilies of the field.” “Consider the birds of the air.” These passages incorporate the idea of God as provider and sustainer.
Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! Luke 12: 27-28
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6: 26-27
An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles It has been handed down through oral tradition that the renowned British scientist J.B.S. Haldane was once asked by an English cleric what his life of observing nature allowed him to infer about the Creator, to which Haldane replied that apparently the Creator has "an inordinate fondness for beetles."
An Inordinate Fondness for Humans If we are not a special creation of God, we have no reason for assuming any responsibility for providing stewardship of the natural world.
Why should fondness for humans lead us to sustain the environment? Among many reasons……. Environmental degradation invariably results in human losses.Environmental degradation invariably results in human losses. Infectious diseases are ecological phenomena.Infectious diseases are ecological phenomena.
What is the University’s role in this? Focus on the mission!
What unique resources do universities have to offer to the greening of the world? A deep base of expertise.A deep base of expertise. A community of intellectual diversity.A community of intellectual diversity. A pool of young enthusiastic minds.A pool of young enthusiastic minds. A long-term focus on enduring values.A long-term focus on enduring values. A rare network with like institutions.A rare network with like institutions. A rare set of global connections.A rare set of global connections.
What is my university’s role in this? Focus on Sewanee’s mission.Focus on Sewanee’s mission. Focus on Sewanee’s special gifts.Focus on Sewanee’s special gifts.
What unique resources does Sewanee have to offer to the greening of the world? A solid foundation in the sciences.A solid foundation in the sciences. A rich tradition in the humanities.A rich tradition in the humanities. A strong School of Theology.A strong School of Theology. Strong ties to the Episcopal Church and broader Anglican communion.Strong ties to the Episcopal Church and broader Anglican communion. A geographically diverse student/alumni base.A geographically diverse student/alumni base. A unusual combination of forestry and land management within a liberal arts framework.A unusual combination of forestry and land management within a liberal arts framework. Large, diverse, resource-rich land holdings.Large, diverse, resource-rich land holdings. Strong ties to other sites (e.g. St. Catherine’s Island).Strong ties to other sites (e.g. St. Catherine’s Island).
Universities and Land The University of the South: 10,000 acresThe University of the South: 10,000 acres Duke University: 8,000 acresDuke University: 8,000 acres SUNY Syracuse: 25,000 acresSUNY Syracuse: 25,000 acres Harvard University: 4,000 acresHarvard University: 4,000 acres Sweetbriar College: 3,000 acresSweetbriar College: 3,000 acres Yale University: 11,000 acresYale University: 11,000 acres Berry College: 28,000 acresBerry College: 28,000 acres
Benefits of Land-based Scientific Research & Teaching to Greening the University Utilization of unique resource for educationUtilization of unique resource for education Generation of the ultimate renewable resource: Research & education fundingGeneration of the ultimate renewable resource: Research & education funding Better management of natural resourcesBetter management of natural resources Fulfillment of spiritual need to know creation more fullyFulfillment of spiritual need to know creation more fully Sustainable development of intellectual and natural capitalSustainable development of intellectual and natural capital
Sustainable development of intellectual capital As we have increased the use of our own land for research and education, we have dramatically increased our ability to influence a larger audience through publications and presentations in the natural sciences.
Developing a 28,000-acre Laboratory
Berry College: An Oasis of Green
View of Berry from Heaven
Engaging the whole campus Timber, water, wildlife, and students.
Wildlife Research and Management
Natural Resource Inventory
Cooperative Ecological Research Cooperative Environmental Education
Environmental Education and Outreach
Agricultural Studies and Management of Agro-ecosystems
Zoonotic Diseases Research
Water Resource Management Aquatic Sciences
Berry- Sewanee Cooperation Archaeological Inventory Cultural Heritage Research
Student Involvement Community Involvement
< Ridge Ferry … … and the Trail of Tears >
Engagement in Civic Planning
Forest Management at Berry
Forest Management at Sewanee
A Campus Without Boundaries But our campus can be more than just the turf that we own in a legal sense. One of the greatest assets of a university or college is its ability and tendency to form linkages with other institutions and places. Wherever our faculty or students travel, they can claim that piece of land as their own – spiritually, ethically, and intellectually, if not legally. This provides a means of greening the entire country.
Collaboration With Other U. S. Institutions on Berry’s Campus Harvard UniversityHarvard University –Voucher specimen curation Johns Hopkins UniversityJohns Hopkins University –Zoonotic pathogens in agricultural areas University of GeorgiaUniversity of Georgia –Impact of wild deer populations on human concerns Auburn UniversityAuburn University –Management of Mountain Longleaf Pine Lee UniversityLee University –Herpetofaunal inventory University of the SouthUniversity of the South –Development of archaeological resources
Harvard University: Berry Students at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, linked with research on Berry campus.
A Campus Without Boundaries Even when our faculty and students travel abroad, we can take with us our ethic of environmental stewardship. By thus defining our campus as any place that we study and work, we are capable of greening the entire planet.
International Collaboration on Berry’s Campus University of Valencia, SpainUniversity of Valencia, Spain –Forest fire impacts and recovery University of Lethbridge, CanadaUniversity of Lethbridge, Canada –Diseases of wild fish populations Polish Academy of Sciences, PolandPolish Academy of Sciences, Poland –Reproduction and transmission of parasites Institute of Technology at Sligo, IrelandInstitute of Technology at Sligo, Ireland –Biology of aquatic invasive species
Costa Rica: Tropical Ecology Greening other sites.
Ireland: Biology Research On the River Shannon Greening other sites.
Belize: Coral Reef Ecology Greening other sites.
Canada: Marine Biology on the Maritime Islands Greening other sites.
South Africa: Agriculture at the University of Stellenbosch Greening other sites.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19: 1-3