Guest author Professor Emanuel Carter is a faculty member in SUNY-ESF’s Department of Landscape Architecture. Focusing on planning and urban design, he has interests in the intersection of politics and design, and in thinking of cities as ecosystems–thus prompting the question, “What must be done to make this city sustainable?” Professor Carter has put these ideas into practice in international collaborations with city planning teams in Spain and Chile. Professor Carter will be one of our panelists at the symposium. Here, he offers a counter-proposal to the idea of a “New American Environmentalism” as a renewed dialogue, and challenges us to define “New American Environmentalism” through–and as–action.
From the GUIDE FOR PANELISTS: “The main objectives of the symposium are to:
- invite deeper reflection on the values, visions and strategies that have characterized environmentalism in the past;
- lay the groundwork for a national conversation, informed by science and compassion, and;
- motivate and empower a new generation of students, citizens and young academics to re-imagine and reinvent our future in ways that can enrich and strengthen relationships with the diverse communities that form our living planet.”
An Alternative Set of Objectives
Perhaps the main objectives could be to:
- reflect on the current values, visions and strategies that characterize contemporary environmentalism, discover which ones are effectively catalytic and help decision-makers and citizens learn how to use them;
- use our teaching, research and public service to initiate action – to collaborate in a series of national, regional and local environmental strategies and tactics that are informed by comprehensive and integrated bodies of knowledge that help citizens and decision-makers rehabilitate natural communities and build human settlements that function with the same integrity as natural communities and serve as contributors to the health of regional ecosystems, and;
- use our teaching, research and public service to motivate and empower contemporary citizens and decision-makers to engage in the actions necessary to rehabilitate all communities on the planet and do so in a way that inspires subsequent generations to consider stewardship a normal aspect of citizenship.
The Current Imperatives
The current imperatives are based on: (1) The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; (2) global urbanization, and; (3) the concept of the “urban biosphere reserve.”
It is too late to marshal a new academic argument regarding environmentalism! It is action that matters! The academic world needs to:
- simultaneously collaborate in the restructuring of community and place (testing our hypotheses) and contribute to managing the evolution of how environmentalism is framed, discussed and achieved;
- prove to citizens and decision-makers that we actually understand how natural and human communities work and interact and that here at ESF we can offer information, strategies and tactics that can be implemented within current and emerging political and administrative structures that govern our communities. If we cannot do this we will be of value only to journal editors.