March Happy Hour: Educating for the Anthropocene [CANCELLED]

Due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and health guidelines recommended by the CDC and WHO, Solar Austin will be cancelling our March happy hour at Scholz. We hope to continue our gatherings in the coming months, but at the moment, the safety and health of our community remains our top priority. Remember to please stay home if you’re feeling sick, and stay tuned for updates! If you have any questions, feel free to email us at info@solaraustin.org. Take care out there, Austin!

Growing Austin’s resilience, sustainability, and environmental justice movements often begins in the classroom. This March, Solar Austin is leading the discussion of how our scholarship and teaching can better develop the tools and resources needed to navigate the changing climate characteristic of the Anthropocene.

As a concept, the Anthropocene signals recognition that humans are a formative force impacting the shape and character of the planet. It is also well recognized that ensuing generations will bear the brunt of the negative impacts of previous centuries of human influence. Taking these facts into consideration, how should our institutions of higher education be preparing these youths for the ethical, political, and scientific challenges that lay ahead? 

Featuring representatives from each of Austin’s four major colleges and universities, this month’s speaker panel will showcase and spur discussion around local educational and research initiatives that focus on environmental justice, resilience, and sustainability transitions. Together, Austin’s educational leaders will convey some of the ways that our city’s academics are rising to meet the ethical and informational challenges of developing programs of higher education that are appropriate to the context of an uncertain climate future.

This event is affiliated with the Austin Anthropocene Field Campus, a four-day research project in Austin dedicated to producing open-source course material on environmental justice issues relevant to renewable energy transitions in urban settings.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto Blvd)
RSVP and Get More Details Here

Our Featured Presenters:

Dr. Karen Magid serves as the Director of Sustainability & STEM for Huston-Tillotson University’s Center for Sustainability and Environmental Justice in Austin, Texas. Prior to HT, Dr. Magid served as a Technology Transfer Specialist in the Peace Corps in Mexico. Dr. Magid did her post-doctoral work at the ETH-Zurich and holds a PhD in Materials Science from the University of California – Berkeley. 

Dr. Magid is currently co-Executive Director of The Dumpster Project, a nonprofit based in Austin that is transforming a used trash dumpster into a home with a focus on K-12 STEM and sustainability education. On campus, Dr. Magid is a co-advisor of the HT environmental student group, Green is the New Black, and helped found the environmental justice forum Building Green Justice. She is also the Site Director for the Austin Pre-Freshman Engineering Program (AusPREP).

Dr. Peter Beck is Professor and Coordinator of Environmental Science and Policy and former Director of the Professional Science Master’s in Environmental Management and Sustainability at St. Edward’s University. Dr. Beck’s research and teaching interests focus on policies that integrate environment and development goals, conservation incentives, and campus sustainability. He teaches a variety of environmental policy courses, including Sustainable Austin, Environmental Politics and Policy, Sustainable Development in Costa Rica, Communities and Wildlife Management in Africa, and Survey of Africa for Global Studies majors. He has led five student groups to Costa Rica with the EcoLead program and has taught field courses for graduate students in Costa Rica and for undergraduates in France, Chile, and South Africa.

Dr. Beck serves as a delegate to the Organization of Tropical Studies in Costa Rica and is a member of the Wild Basin Advisory Board. Prior to joining St. Edward’s University, Dr. Beck spent five years working in Kenya and Uganda and has been a consultant on African environmental conservation with the World Wildlife Fund and the World Bank.

Dr. Heather Houser is an Associate Professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research areas include contemporary U.S. fiction, environmental humanities, and science and technology studies.

Dr. Houser’s current book, Infowhelm: Environmental Art and Literature in an Age of Data, will be published by Columbia UP in Spring 2020. Her book illustrates how recent fiction and visual art incorporate scientific data to propose nuanced epistemologies for rapid environmental change.

Starting in 2019, Dr. Houser serves as the chair of the Organizing Committee of Planet Texas 2050, which is UT’s first Bridging Barriers grand challenge on climate resilience in Texas and beyond.

J. Wade Allen is Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Austin Community College. Allen received his B.A. in Philosophy from University of Texas, San Antonio and his M.A. in Philosophy from University of Houston. After teaching at Houston Community College, Allen found his home teaching at Austin Community College since 2009. Allen is passionate about normative ethics, animal rights, environmental ethics, and the philosophy of religion.

In addition to his Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics classes, Allen has given several presentations at the ACC Arts and Humanities Philosophy Forums, in which he examines our obligations to future generations, animals rights, and the issue of guns on campus. Allen is currently preparing and coordinating a Climate Change forum for ACC’s Philosophy, Religion, and Humanities department. Once launched, the forum will tackle the science of climate change, government and state responsibilities, and individual, ethical challenges concerning this issue.

Getting There:

Please consider taking the bus to the happy hour. There are many buses within easy walking distance of Scholz Garten. Plan your trip here. If you drive, State Parking Garages can be found next to, behind, and across from Scholz Garten. San Jacinto Blvd., 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and Trinity have parking garage entrances.

Support the Cause:

Although our happy hours are free and open to all, we hope you’ll consider donating to Solar Austin. Help us keep solar energy growing in the Austin area. You can purchase a ticket to the happy hour or use the donate button here on our website to avoid fees.

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