The United Nations has warned that there will catastrophic consequences if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced by 2030. Kinari Webb, founder the nonprofit Health in Harmony emphasized the importance of taking action before it becomes to late, at a talk sponsored by the Walter Capps Center last week. “We have 11 years to figure this out on our planet. What we do now matters forever,” Webb said.
When UC Santa Barbara put out a climate report in 2014, professor Ken Hiltner was in complete awe at the enormity of the carbon footprint that academic conferences left behind, amounting to about 55 million pounds of carbon dioxide. With a joint appointment in Environmental Studies and English Literature, Hiltner was ideally suited take action. He spoke in a recent interview about his Nearly Carbon Neutral Guide to academic conferences and the intersection of humanities and the environment.
Author and environmentalist T.A. Barron has $500,000 to establish endowed fund for environmental leadership in the humanities that benefits undergraduate students.
“Environmental advocacy is above all else an act of persuasion,” said John Majewski, the Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at UCSB. “Given all the ways in which our culture communicates about significant and important issues — including literature, music, film and the arts — the humanities have a vital role in addressing the critical environmental issues that now confront us.”
With more than 70 faculty members who teach courses that address issues in the environmental humanities, UCSB already is an international leader in the field. The campus already has a range of related programming, from the English department’s Literature and the Environment Center, to the Environmental/Climate Justice Hub based at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, among others.