Working against the odds in conservation

Environment & Sustainability Spring Symposium

Working against the odds in conservation

Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 1:30pm

This year's Environment & Sustainability Symposium challenged students to overcome obstacles.

From April 10 to 11, Western welcomed activists, lawmakers and visionaries to the University Center as part of the annual Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) Spring Symposium. Central to this year’s discussion was overcoming obstacles in tough times.

The event began with a keynote by Eryn Wise, a Dakota Access Pipeline activist who recently spent five months in the Standing Rock Reservation. She serves as an organizer for Honor the Earth and delivered an inspiring message on perseverance within conservation efforts.

The next day began with a panel discussion entitled “Action Against the Odds,” moderated by ENVS professor Kate Clark, Ph.D.

Panelists included Boulder City Councilmember Sam Weaver, who worked to move the city of Boulder to clean energy production. He discussed how to move cities to smart grids, pointing out the numerous challenges activists and lawmakers face in changing regulations.

Thompson Divide Coalition Executive Director Zane Kessler also contributed to the discussion, encouraging students to build a varied group of supporters. He provided a historical perspective on conservation, outlining some of Theodore Roosevelt’s initial efforts to establish the National Forest System.

A passionate local activist gave another powerful take on how to direct effort in the face of great challenge. Alli Melton of High Country Conservation advocates reflected on years of battles to protect the familiar Red Lady Mountain outside of Crested Butte.

Through local community as well as broader movements to protect Colorado, ENVS students witnessed the large and varied support conservation efforts have in challenging times. Future ENVS projects will continue this summer, including summer studies of food and resilient communities.

Story by Anna Lhuillier. Photo by Christopher Wilson.