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WWU / Fairhaven College of Interdiscipinary Studies

World Issues Forum: Winter 2014

The World Issues Forums occur weekly on Wednesdays from 12:00-1:20pm each quarter.

All events are free and everyone is welcome. See our college calendar to view this schedule by date, where the World Issues Forum events are listed in red.


video - Subscribe to our World Issues Forum Channel to see videos as they become available.


Co-sponsors include: Anthropology, Canadian American Studies, Center for Law, Diversity and Justice, Communications, Huxley, Mt Baker Sierra Club, Political Science, Women’s Studies, Western Reads, WWU Diversity Funds, Associated Students—Environmental Center and Ethic Student Center.



Winter 2014 Schedule
Date & Time Lecture

Wed 1/15

12:00 - 1:20pm





#joya“The Science of Climate Change: A Settled Matter?””

Jack Herring,, Dean of Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, WWU


Understanding the human impact on the Earth’s climate is one of the most pressing and complex scientific questions of this time. While our understanding of climate dynamics is improving, those opposing immediate action on climate change often point to scientific uncertainty to bolster their arguments. In some cases, the science is largely settled, but many key climate feedback mechanisms are poorly understood. This leaves global humanity with immense ethical questions about how to decide what risk of climate change is tolerable and who will bear the brunt of preventing the change or adapting to it.


Wed 1/22

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



“Protecting the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge”

Princess Daazhraii Johnson is the Executive Director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee, one of the oldest Indigenous non-profit groups in Alaska.


The Gwich'in Nation has been working at protecting the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge now for over 30 years. The birthing & nursing grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, for which Gwich'in villages throughout Alaska and Canada depend upon, is located on the Coastal Plain sometimes referred to the 1002 Area which continues to be the target for oil & gas development. In addition to this immediate threat, Alaska is also at the forefront of Climate Change. Mrs. Johnson will discuss the grassroots efforts of the Gwich'in to protect their way of life and how they have been able to sustain these efforts over the years.


Wed 1/29

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



“The Global Environmental Challenge of China"

Robert V. Percival Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law, Director Environmental Law Program University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law


China’s rapid development has come at a staggering cost to the environment. More than 1.2 million Chinese die each year from exposure to air pollution, which at times has been so bad as to shut down economic activity in major Chinese cities. As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China now has more impact on the health of the planet than any other country, giving everyone a stake in efforts to combat Chinese pollution. This lecture will explore why the enactment of extensive bodies of environmental law has not been enough to turn the tide in China and the prospects for overcoming this immense challenge to the world’s environment.



Wed 2/5

12:00 - 1:20pm






"Global Food Production and Climate Change”

David Battisti, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, and Tamaki Endowed Chair, UW


By the end of the century, the season averaged growing temperature will very likely exceed the highest temperature ever recorded throughout the tropics and subtropics. By 2050, the increase in temperature alone will cause a 20% reduction in the yield of all of the major grains (maize, rice, wheat and soybeans). The breadbasket countries in the midlatitudes will experience marked increases in year-to-year volatility in crop production. Increasing stresses on the major crops due to climate change, coupled with the increasing demand for food due to increasing population and development, present significant challenges to achieving global food security.


Wed 2/12

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium




“Climate Change and Human Rights: Lessons from Alaska”

Nancy Lord, author and former Alaska State Writer Laureate



Lord will present ways in which Alaska Native populations, with long histories of resilience and adaptability, are challenged by climate change that threatens their abilities to live on ancestral lands and gather traditional foods. She'll share examples of their strategies for coping with environmental change and suggest what we might learn and do as good global citizens


In conjunction with Western Reads, Lord will present ways in which Alaska Native populations, with long histories of resilience and adaptability, are challenged by climate change that threatens their abilities to live on ancestral lands and gather traditional foods. She¹ll share examples of their strategies for coping with environmental change and suggest what we might learn and do as good global citizens.


Wed 2/19

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium




“RED SKY AT MORNING: Ethics and the Climate Crisis”

Kathleen Dean Moore, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University, Director of the Spring Creek Project of Ideas, Nature and the Written Word


Global warming and the souring of the seas are real and dangerous threats to all ecosystems and the people who depend on them. This is a scientific and political issue, but it is fundamentally a moral issue and it calls for a moral response. Come hear author and activist Kathleen Dean Moore speak about our responsibility to take urgent action. What must be done? What can we do?


Wed 2/26

12:00 - 1:00pm

Fairhaven Auditorium


7:00pm - Bellingham Public Library sponsored by Mt. Baker Sierra Club




“Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence”

Christian Parenti, , Professor at the School for International Training Graduate Institute, SIT; Director, Climate Change, Food, Water, and Energy Program, IHP


Drawing on his recent book Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (2011) and recent travels in the Global South, Christian Parenti will discuss the intersection between war and climate change and what can be done about it.

Wed 3/5

12:00 - 1:20pm

VU Multi-Purpose Room




“The Next Energy Economy: Moving Forward with Grassroots Strategies to Mitigate Global Climate Change”

Winona LaDuke, (Anishinaabe), An internationally acclaimed author, orator and activist protecting the lands and life ways of Native communities.






Speaker Biographies

Jack Herring started his new role as Dean of Fairhaven College on August 1. He comes to Western from Prescott College in Arizona, where he served as Dean of the Campus Undergraduate Program for five years, and another ten prior to that teaching integrated courses in environmental science and policy. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Atmospheric Science, with a BS in Chemistry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


In addition to his interest and experience in environmental science, Jack has worked as a Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., with two state environmental agencies and as founder and Board Chair of an Arizona non-profit that engages community members in becoming stewards of their public lands. He has taught field-based and seminar-style courses, with a particular emphasis on giving students access to the best set of tools to become effective advocates for positive environmental change. The issue of global climate change and the policy choices related to energy use are in the bulls-eye of Jack’s teaching expertise.


He also has a strong interest and background in the geography, politics and environment of Alaska, where he has taught field courses in environmental science, policy and expeditionary backcountry travel for 20 years. Jack chose to come to Fairhaven for the opportunity to promote innovative, integrative education within the context of a comprehensive, public, liberal-arts university. Jack and his family recently moved into a new-old home in Fairhaven/South Hill, where they are looking forward to reengaging with the land, water and snow-based recreational opportunities of the Pacific Northwest.

Princess Daazhraii Johnson is the Executive Director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee - one of the oldest Indigenous non-profit groups in Alaska. She was raised by strong Gwich'in women and mentored from a young age to speak out on protecting the Gwich'in way of life. She is a graduate of the Elliot School of International Relations at the George Washington University. Mrs. Johnson is also a published poet and a stage & film actor. Her most recent stage role was that of Cordelia in a Gwich'in language version of Shakespeare's King Lear. She works with many groups in Alaska and across the Nation that are working on educating the public on Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and engaging communities to take an active role in the grassroots.

Robert V. Percival is the Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and the Director of the Environmental Law Program at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. He has a B.A. from Macalester College summa cum laude and a J.D./M.A. from Stanford University. At Stanford Law School he served as the managing editor of the Stanford Law Review and he was named the Nathan Abbott Scholar for having the highest grade point average in the graduating class. Prior to joining the Maryland faculty, Percival served as a law clerk for Judge Shirley M. Hufstedler on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White. He also served as a special assistant to the first U.S. Secretary of Education and as a senior attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund. Percival is the principal author of the leading U.S. environmental law casebook, which has been published in both the U.S. and China.


Percival has traveled widely in China, making more than two dozen visits since his first trip in 1981. In 2008 he spent a semester teaching as a J. William Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. In 2009 Percival represented the U.S. Department of State on a lecture tour of China. He has consulted on projects for China’s National People’s Congress, China’s former State Environmental Protection Agency, and the China Council on International Cooperation on Environment and Development. Percival has presented lectures at more than 20 Chinese universities and before more than a dozen professional associations and government agencies in China. He teaches a summer course in Comparative U.S./China Environmental Law at Vermont Law School. Percival also has taught environmental law as a visiting professor at Shandong University, Harvard Law School, and the Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relation's and the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law.

David Battisti is The Tamaki Endowed Chair of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. David received a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences (1988) from the University of Washington. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin until 1990. Since then, he has been on the Faculty in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, and has served as the Director of JISAO (1997-2003) and of the UW's Earth Initiative (2003-2006).


Battisti's research is focused on understanding the natural variability of the climate system. He is especially interested in understanding how the interactions between the ocean, atmosphere, land and sea ice lead to variability in climate on time scales from seasonal to decades. His previous research includes coastal oceanography, the physics of the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, midlatitude atmosphere/ocean variability and variability in the coupled atmosphere/sea ice system in the Arctic. Battisti is presently working to improve the El Nino models and their forecast skill, to understand the mechanisms responsible for the drought cycles in the Sahel, and to better understand the monsoons. He is also working on the impacts of climate variability and climate change on food production in Mexico, Indonesia and China.


Battisti's recent interests are in paleoclimate: in particular, the mechanisms responsible for the remarkable "abrupt" global climate changes evident throughout the last glacial period. Battisti has served on numerous international science panels, on Committees of the National Research Council. He served for five years as co-chair of the Science Steering Committee for the U.S. Program on Climate (US CLIVAR) and is co-author of several international science plans. He has published over 90 papers in peer-review journals in atmospheric sciences and oceanography, and twice been awarded distinguished teaching awards.

Nancy Lord, who makes her home in Homer, Alaska, is passionate about place, history, and the natural environment. From her many years of commercial salmon fishing and, later, work as a naturalist and historian on adventure cruise ships, she’s explored in both fiction and nonfiction the myths and realities of life in the north. Among her published books are three collections of short stories and five works of literary nonfiction, including the memoir Fishcamp, the cautionary Beluga Days, and the front-lines story of climate change, Early Warming. Nancy was honored as Alaska Writer Laureate for 2008-10, a term during which she traveled throughout the state to promote Alaska writers, writing, and libraries.


Nancy is originally from New Hampshire and holds degrees from Hampshire College (B.A. in liberal arts) and Vermont College of Fine Arts (M.F.A. in fiction writing.) She currently teaches part-time at the Kachemak Bay Campus of the University of Alaska and in the low-residency M.F.A. program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She's part of the core faculty at the annual Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference.


Her awards include fellowships from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Rasmuson Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, and a number of artist residencies. Her work has appeared in many magazines, journals, and anthologies, including Best Spiritual Writing, and she sometimes guest-blogs at 49 Writers. Nancy is also actively engaged in conservation and community-building causes. She’s served three terms as a trustee of the Alaska Conservation Foundation, including as chair, and, before that, she chaired Homer’s successful New Library campaign.

Kathleen Dean Moore is best-known for her books about the edges of water – Riverwalking, Holdfast, The Pine Island Paradox, and Wild Comfort. Her recent work has turned toward action to protect rivers, oceans, and all their lives, in the face of the climate and acidification emergencies. Her recent co-edited book is the award-winning Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril. Moore is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Emerita, at Oregon State University.

Christian Parenti is a Professor in Sustainable Development at The School for International Training Graduate Institute. His latest book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (2011), explores how climate change is already causing violence as it interacts with the legacies of economic neoliberalism and cold-war militarism. The book involved several years of travel and research in conflict zones of the Global South. Christian has a PhD in sociology (co-supervised in geography) from the London School of Economics. As a journalist, he has reported extensively from Afghanistan, Iraq, and various parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His articles have appeared in Fortune, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Middle East Report, London Review of Books, Mother Jones, and The Nation (where he is a contributing editor).

Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe) is an internationally acclaimed author, orator and activist. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities with advanced degrees in rural economic development, LaDuke has devoted her life to protecting the lands and life ways of Native communities.


LaDuke is founder and Co-Director of Honor the Earth, a national advocacy group encouraging public support and funding for native environmental groups. With Honor the Earth, she works nationally and internationally on issues of climate change, renewable energy, sustainable development, food systems and environmental justice.


In her own community in northern Minnesota, she is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation based non-profit organizations in the country, and a leader on the issues of culturally-based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy and food systems. In this work, LaDuke also works to protect Indigenous plants and heritage foods from patenting and genetic engineering.


In 1994, Time magazine named her one of America’s fifty most promising leaders under forty years of age, and in 1997 LaDuke was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year. Other honors include the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Thomas Merton Award, the Ann Bancroft Award, the Global Green Award, and the prestigious International Slow Food Award for working to protect wild rice and local biodiversity. In 2007, LaDuke was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. LaDuke also served as Ralph Nader’s vice-presidential running mate on the Green Party ticket in the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections.


In addition to numerous articles, LaDuke is the author of a number of non-fiction titles including All Our Relations, The Winona LaDuke Reader, Recovering the Sacred: the Power of Naming and Claiming, Food is Medicine: Recovering Traditional Foods to Heal the People and her latest, The Militarization of Indian Country. She has also penned a work of fiction, Last Standing Woman, and a children's book, In the Sugarbush.


Outspoken, engaging, and unflaggingly dedicated to matters of ecological sustainability, Winona LaDuke is a powerful speaker who inspires her audiences to action and engagement.






Fairhaven College is grateful to our valued co-sponsors for the Winter 2014 World Issues Forum:

Anthropology, Canadian American Studies, Center for Law, Diversity and Justice, Communications, Huxley, Mt Baker Sierra Club, Political Science, Women’s Studies, Western Reads, WWU Diversity Funds, Associated Students—Environmental Center and Ethic Student Center.



Shirley Osterhaus is the Coordinator of the World Issues Forums:

Shirley's Faculty Profile >