Wisdom for the Planet
This question was the crux of a talk in UVA’s Campbell Hall, home of the School of Architecture. Oregon State University professor and researcher Jane Lubchenco presented, “Enough of the Doom and Gloom: Holistic Approaches Bring Hope for People and the Ocean.” While acknowledging that overcoming the myriad challenges facing our biggest bodies of water is daunting, Lubchenco assured her audience it is possible, but only if we learn to “replenish the bounty and use it wisely.”
The former under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is confident that by empowering fishermen and enacting policy reforms that result in sustainable fishing, our oceans will continue to provide us with food well into the future.
Lubchenco’s lecture was one of two talks sponsored by the Lillian K. Stone Distinguished Lectureship in Environmental Policy, hosted jointly by the Schools of Architecture and Law. Thatcher A. Stone (Col ’78, Law ’82) and Frank Kittredge (Arch ’78) funded the lectureship through the Madison Lane and Rugby Road Charitable Trust in honor of Stone’s mother, Lillian, a long-time influential senior staff member of the U.S. Department of the Interior and early advocate for environmental impact assessments.
Duke law professor Jedediah Purdy presented “Environmental Justice: Again,” in the Law School’s Caplin Pavilion. He used the historical lens of the American environmental movement to explain two of the main charges environmental justice critics have consistently made against mainstream environmental law enacted in the 1970s and 80s.
Critics point to a failure to focus on where severe environmental harms often occur—that legislation, such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, left out more urban areas, ignored factors of poverty and race, and obscured attention from built spaces where people spend most of their time working and living.
Purdy argued that when the laws were created they were not meant to stand alone, but were instead considered part “of a larger remaking of the human environment, which would also advance equality.” He proposed ways to revive the spirit of this earlier environmental justice movement to re-engage in its themes of fairness and equality.