Elizabeth Rush

Exciting environmental events featured in early March

With each record-breaking storm or flood it becomes clearer that climate change and rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States. Writer Elizabeth Rush travelled from vanishing shorelines in New England to inundated bayous in Louisiana to chronicle the impact of sea level rise on vulnerable communities and ecosystems. She employed a literary approach for her recent book Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. “I believe that language can lessen the distance between humans and the world of which we are a part; I believe that it can foster interspecies intimacy and, as a result, care.” 

Elizabeth RushRising book coverElizabeth Rush, the 2019–20 OHC Robert D. Clark Lecturer, will give a talk, “On Rising Together: Creative and Collective Responses to the Climate Crisis,” on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive St. in Eugene. 

What might we learn from the people living on climate change’s front lines about the future that we share? In her talk, Rush will speak about a small community on the eastern shore of Staten Island––a place that hurricane Sandy both undid and remade from the ground up––investigating the storm’s aftermath and the radical decisions residents made about how to overcome their shared vulnerability. She will give voice to those who have traditionally been left out of environmental discourse and how we might make the conversation more whole moving forward. 

Rush teaches Creative Nonfiction at Brown University. In 2019 Rush was named the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artist and Writer. She joined scientists from the United States and Great Britain aboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer for a 50 day scientific “cruise” to the Thwaites Glacier, one of the most remote regions in the world.

Rush’s talk is free and open to the public. The First United Methodist Church has free parking. For more information contact ohc@uoregon.edu or call (541) 346-3934.

Earlier that week the UO’s Student Sustainability Center will host, and the OHC will cosponsor, the annual Washington and Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) “Root Causes to Sustainability Challenges and Positive Actions to Address Them” March 2–4, 2020 in the EMU. WOHESC offers a platform for inspiring change, facilitating action, and promoting collaboration related to sustainability within the region’s higher education institutions. Conversation, workshops, and networking opportunities will empower participants to advance environmental performance at Washington and Oregon State institutions of higher education.

Jessica Black
Jessica Black
Terry McDonald
Terry McDonald

This year’s keynotes are Jessica Black, Director of the Center for Indigenous Health, Culture and the Environment, and Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Heritage University in Toppenish, WA; and Terry McDonald, Executive Director of the St. Vincent DePaul Society of Lane County. The conference also features panels including “Understanding the Crisis of our Time: Writing About Climate Change.”

For more information, conference program, and registration go to: wohesc.org

In addition, the 2020 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) “Migration” will be held March 5–8, 2020 at the University of Oregon. PIELC is a preeminent annual gathering for environmentalists worldwide. It is organized solely by the volunteers of Land Air Water (LAW), a UO student environmental law society. 

Elizabeth Rush will participate on a panel on March 5 at 4 p.m. PIELC includes over 125 panels, workshops, and presentations. Each day of the conference culminates with keynotes from respected activists, scientists, politicians, philosophers, and authors.

For more information and the conference program, visit pielc.org

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