Grinnell College to Explore Issues of Environmental Degradation and Conflict

February 05, 2018

Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018

Change in schedule:

Shiloh Fetzek and Lisa Dale have switched presentation times, with Fetzek speaking at 11 a.m. and Dale at 4 p.m.

Grinnell College will host a symposium on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, to explore concerns about environmental degradation that range from the international sphere and matters of national security to local concerns unique to Iowa.

The College's Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights is sponsoring the symposium, which is free and open to the public. All events will take place Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, in Room 101.

"This symposium is an outgrowth of programming we sponsored in the fall of 2016 on immigration and refuge, which planted the idea that the refugee crisis in Syria originated in part from a major drought," says Barbara Trish, professor of political science and director of the Rosenfield Program at Grinnell.

"It got us thinking about how clashes at the international, domestic, and local levels are frequently impacted by environmental conditions, a topic we decided to explore further in this year's symposium," Trish adds. "We find that this focus captures many of the most salient conflicts faced by nations, states and even localities. "

The Environmental Degradation and Conflict Symposium will begin at 11 a.m. on Feb. 8, with a lecture titled "Environmental Policy One Year into The Trump Administration." Lisa Dale, who teaches at Columbia University's Earth Institute in the sustainable development program, will give the lecture, which is part of Grinnell's series of Scholars' Convocations.

Dale previously directed Yale’s Center for Environmental Law and Policy, and she was Colorado’s assistant director for Parks, Wildlife, and Lands from 2012-15. She holds a doctorate in environmental policy from Colorado State University and has written a textbook and numerous articles about environmental policy.

At 4 p.m. Shiloh Fetzek, a senior fellow for international affairs at The Center for Climate and Security, will give a speech titled "Climate Change and Security, Risk Mapping, and Risk Management." Members of the campus community and the general public are invited to engage with symposium participants after the Fetzek talk during a free buffet dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. No reservations are required. 

Dinner will be followed at 6:30 p.m. by a panel discussion titled "Both Sides Now — Public Policy and Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa." Facilitating the discussion will be Brandi Janssen ’98, a clinical assistant professor specializing in farm safety at the University of Iowa's College of Public Health.

The panelists, each of whom brings a different perspective to the conversation, will be:

  • Mark Kennett, a local farmer and owner of Kennett Ag Services
  • William G. Stowe ’81, CEO and general manager of the Des Moines Water Works; and
  • Roger Wolf, director of environmental programs and services at the Iowa Soybean Association.