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IESA to hold speaker series on environmental principles

Social Sustainability
In an effort to address pressing social and environmental issues, the Institute for Environmental Spatial Analysis (IESA) will be holding a speaker series to highlight community environmental principles and the current events driving them.

Set throughout April, the IESA Colloquium Series will be held on the University of North Georgia's Gainesville campus, and will aim to draw attention local and global individuals and organization that are leading the way in addressing these social and environmental issues.

"This generation of students is in the midst of several revolutions, and one of them is the environmental movement," said Dr. John O'Sullivan, professor of sociology and environmental studies at UNG. "With increasing speed we are learning about the intricacies of how the world's eco-systems are connected and functioning, and the relationships between human society and the environment are also becoming clear. Today's students realize that biology and chemistry are connected to economics and politics."

O'Sullivan added that students in the IESA program know they must take leadership positions at the challenging juncture between the physical and social sciences.

"As the IESA Colloquium Series is developed and run by students, I think it's an indication of what they feel they have to offer each other and society," O'Sullivan said. "They understand that one of the biggest questions of this century is, 'What is it to be a sustainable human society in a changing environment?'"

Tom Torres, a senior in UNG's Applied Environmental Spatial Analysis program and the primary organizer for the series, said that the four speakers who will be presenting are local change agents who are finding unique solutions to these large social problems and are applying them in their communities.

"So often, the mindset is that policy change and lobbying is the only way to effect social change, but that discounts a great deal of the grassroots work being done in our communities," Torres said. "The speakers will be bringing to the forefront issues such as immigration reform, veteran health, food justice, and alternative modes of economy. These issues can be difficult to discuss, so I'm happy to see them represented in our work."

The series, organized by Torres, Patricia Choquette, and Luci Raymundo, will include the following presentations:

  • April 3—Social Sustainability in North Georgia, presented by Kevin Arita and Kat Stratton, noon, Gainesville, Continuing Education and Performing Arts Building.
  • April 8—Dig Your Roots! Local Food in North Georgia, presented by Ben Dockins and Jonathan Winskie, noon, Gainesville, Continuing Education and Performing Arts Building.
  • April 17—Film screening of "The Island President," 6 p.m., Gainesville, Martha T. Nesbitt Academic Building (3110-AB)
  • April 22—Climate Change in the 21st Century: A Clear and Present Danger, presented by Dr. Jamie Mitchem of UNG, noon, Gainesville, Continuing Education and Performing Arts Building.

Also on April 22 will be the gRRReen Team Environmental Program, from 5-9 p.m., on the Dahlonega campus, at the Hoag Student Center Auditorium 342.

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