OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

environment and natural resources

Newport seminar promotes local self-reliance

NEWPORT, Ore. – A five-hour seminar that promotes local self-reliance while discussing energy and the economy will be held Thursday, May 28, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Newport Recreation Center.

The workshop is the third offered by the Oregon State University Extension office in Lincoln County and the Oregon Coast Community College Small Business Development Center. Cost of the seminar is $10 without lunch or $20 with lunch.

Discussion will be on solar energy, wave energy, bio-diesel, buying local, efficient recycling, virtual farmers markets, using wood/or wood pellets for energy, and growing your own food, according to Sam Angima, chair of the Lincoln County Extension office. A video on using small wind turbines for local energy production will be shown during the lunch break.

"People have called our office asking what they can do to start local efforts to use alternative energy and become more self-reliant in their own communities," Angima said. "We realized local issues can be solved best by local people, and we've invited community professionals and college faculty to discuss past, present and future methods."

Registration is required and can be accessed online at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lincoln/agriculture/self-local-reliance, or locally at the OSU Extension Office at 29 S.E. 2nd St., in Newport, or by calling 541-574-6534.

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Sam Angima, 541-574-6534

New book by OSU Press examines environmentalism of William O. Douglas

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In his judicial opinions and in his popular books, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas was a passionate advocate for conservation of wilderness and its importance to the American people.

Now a new book by the Oregon State University Press explores how Douglas’s passion for nature helped define the modern environmental movement.

Written by Adam M. Sowards, “The Environmental Justice: William O. Douglas and American Conservation,” is available at bookstores or can be ordered by calling 1-800-426-3797. It also is available online at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/press/e-f/EnvironJustice.html.

Sowards is a professor of history at the University of Idaho. His book, a decade in the making, began as a doctoral dissertation and blossomed into a full book after a lengthy research process. There was no shortage of background with which to work.

Douglas’s lengthy career, his combination of personal and professional writings, and the transformation of the country’s “conservation politics” movement from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s provides a rich source of material. Ironically, Douglas almost wasn’t around to lead that movement. In the opening chapter, Sowards describes how Douglas and a childhood friend were on a horseback trip near Mount Rainier in 1949, when the horse reared, throwing Douglas down the steep hillside.

He rolled some 30 yards down a shale embankment and looked up to see his horse, Kendall, tumbling down the same path. The horse landed squarely on Douglas, breaking 23 of his 24 ribs, leaving him in agony.

Wrote Douglas: “First I feared I would die. Then, as the pain continued unabated from the broken ribs, I feared I would not.”

With 38 fractures in those 23 broken ribs, it took weeks of recuperation before Douglas could return to his career. But that vignette, Sowards notes, is emblematic of Douglas’s career – reflecting his connection to the outdoors, his toughness, and his struggles to overcome personal challenges.

Douglas was inspired by his youthful experiences hiking in the Pacific Northwest and later would use his influence to reshape American conservation thought, politics and law. He personally led public protests in favor of wilderness, and worked fervently to secure stronger legal protections for the environment.

Sowards is the author of a previous book, “United States West Coast: An Environmental History.”

The OSU Press also offers a related book, “Nature’s Justice: Writings of William O. Douglas,” which can be found online at: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/press/m-n/NatJust.html. Newly available in paperback, the book is a collection of Douglas’s varied writings that represent his wide range of interests. It was edited by James O’Fallon of the University of Oregon. The volume is part of the OSU Press’s Northwest Readers Series, edited by Robert Frank of Oregon State.

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Micki Reaman,
541-737-4620

OSU seeks comments on sustainable agriculture

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is seeking comments on a statewide study of sustainable agriculture in order to gauge potential for establishing a new program to help the agriculture and food business communities meet sustainability standards.

The study is part of a statewide conversation about sustainable agriculture in Oregon. It compiles comments from groups of people across the state who were asked how OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences can provide the agriculture and food industries with research and information about sustainability and certification standards in the marketplace.

The focus groups included growers, food processors and retailers, food service industries and non-governmental organizations across the state.

The OSU Extension Service has posted the report online and created a space on the website to allow Oregonians to comment on and continue this conversation about sustainable agriculture. The report is available at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/blogs/sustainable_agriculture/report/.

Movement to develop a clearinghouse for information about sustainable agriculture began in 2002, when member-grower representatives of NORPAC Foods, Inc., sought to develop agricultural stewardship and sustainability guidelines.

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski directed the Oregon Solutions Network to help establish a single, comprehensive source for a full range of resources related to sustainable agriculture. In 2006, 26 organizations signed a Declaration of Cooperation to establish the Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Resource Center. In discussions regarding the center’s location and funding, criticisms arose that the agricultural community had not been involved more broadly.

In response, the OSU Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Extension Program offered to conduct a series of focus groups to engage a larger representation of agriculture.

Several themes emerged from the focus group conversations. Among them:
• Oregon has an opportunity to be a sustainable agriculture leader;
• Sustainable agriculture is a consumer-driven trend;
• Lack of certification standards creates risks;
• The term “sustainable agriculture” is confusing;
• There are multiple needs for information, education and research on this topic.

The public is invited to comment on the study and its findings. OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences is monitoring the conversations on the website but is not moderating the discussion.

Source: 

Bill Braunworth,
541-737-1317

Ocean of junk focus of presentation, panel discussion in Newport

NEWPORT, Ore. – Parts of the Pacific Ocean are beginning to resemble a landfill and the increasing accumulation of debris – mainly plastic – is the focus of a special presentation on Monday, April 27, at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Two environmental activists from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in California will visit the center as part of their 2,000-mile bicycle tour from British Columbia to Mexico to raise awareness about what some are calling the “North Pacific Garbage Patch.”

Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins will speak, present photos and participate in a panel discussion with OSU researchers and community leaders. The presentation runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Hennings Auditorium at the center, and is free and open to the public.

Eriksen and Cummins are perhaps best known for their project to build JUNK, a raft made from 15,000 bottles, which sailed to Hawaii last summer. The Algalita Marine Research Foundation has been studying the accumulation of plastic debris in the ocean and its 2008 survey concluded that the density of plastics in the ocean has doubled in the past 10 years.

The group also found evidence that lantern fish – which are common prey for tuna, salmon and groundfish – are ingesting plastic.

Others participating in the panel discussion include Kim Raum-Suryan, a faculty research assistant with OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute; Gretchen Ammerman, of the North Lincoln Waste District; and Jeff Feldner, a former commercial fisherman now working for Oregon Sea Grant. Other panelists may be added.

The event is sponsored by the Newport chapter of Surfrider Foundation, Friends of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and CoastWatch.

More information on the JunkRaft project is available at: http://junkraft.com/home.html

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Bill Hanshumaker,
541-867-0167

Strategic Industry Partnership Will Boost OSU Surveying Initiative

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University is forming a partnership with two industry-leading companies to help address the need for more geospatial surveying professionals and embrace the trend toward “geomatics,” as this age-old profession evolves in an era of sophisticated 3-D data flow, remote sensing, and other new technologies.

OSU has signed a memorandum of understanding with David Evans and Associates, Inc., and Leica Geosystems, Inc.

Through this three-way partnership, Leica Geosystems will make available hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of state-of-the-art geospatial equipment and software for use by OSU students on an ongoing basis. Industry experts from David Evans and Associates will work closely with OSU students and faculty in training and laboratory studies. Increased geomatics research efforts, course expansion, and new faculty are also anticipated as a result of this industry and education initiative.

“Understanding land surveying and data capture has been, and will always be, an integral part of being a civil engineer or construction manager,” said Scott Ashford, professor and head of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, a major educational program at OSU with about 1,000 students.

“But the new techniques of land surveying and 3-D data capture now incorporate so many new technologies that it’s become the science of geomatics, and our educational programs have to reflect these changes in the industry,” Ashford said.

“Some civil engineering programs that can’t keep up with these changes are just dropping their surveying education classes, but we plan to go the opposite way, to rejuvenate and expand our curriculum, to help our graduates become work ready,” he said. “This unique partnership will allow us to do that, and we’re very grateful for this assistance.”

Another aspect of the problem, Ashford said, is the nation faces an increasing shortage of professional geospatial information surveyors, which are essential to the type of infrastructure improvements, road building and construction projects that are now envisioned as part of the nation’s economic recovery effort. The average age of a surveying professional is 56, and many new geomatics professionals are needed in this field, skilled in the latest technologies.

“We believe that industry and manufacturers should share in the social responsibility to help educational institutions stay on top of new technologies, changing work flow methodology, and new techniques in capturing 3-D spatial data,” said Ken Mooyman, president and CEO of Leica Geosystems, Inc. “We recently endorsed this unique concept at the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, and are proud to be part of this strategic partnership.”

Jim Griffis, senior vice president of David Evans and Associates, Inc., said “t takes significant planning, time, and ongoing commitment from all parties to make it successful. DEA is a leader in the civil engineering industry and we need to help set the education bar at higher levels to continue hiring graduates that understand the latest in geomatic sciences.”

Some new technology to capture geospatial data, such as 3-D laser scanners called LIDAR – for Light Detection And Ranging – are now routinely used to allow a geomatics surveyor to accomplish as much in a day as used to be done in several weeks. But much of this is done in an office as well as the field, Ashford said, using advanced design and processing software, 3-D mapping, and geographic information systems. This makes surveying more complex than ever, but also more cost efficient, accurate and with fewer time delays.

“We’re already in the era where we have ‘stakeless design and construction’ on some road building jobs, where an operator runs the grader but a global positioning system tells it where to go, when to turn and how deep of a grade to cut,” Ashford said. “This is a huge industry transformation and the next five or 10 years are going to see even more changes. Students working with these programs really get into it – it’s perfectly suited for the PlayStation generation.”

Undergraduate students at OSU getting a degree in civil and construction engineering will have enough surveying courses available that they can take the state surveying exam to become a licensed professional, Ashford said. Through this initiative, OSU hopes to garner additional industrial support for an endowed professorship in this area and become one of the leading geomatics programs in the nation, he said.

“Geomatics is in the future of our profession, and we need more higher education programs to get involved in it,” Ashford said. “We need new research on the latest applications, resulting in high paying, professional jobs that provide opportunity for our graduates.”


About David Evans and Associates: DEA is headquartered in Portland, Ore. This national leader in sustainable design and management solutions is consistently ranked among Engineering News Record's Top 100 Pure Design firms in the U.S. DEA was also voted one of the top 10 civil engineering design companies to work for in 2008 by Civil Engineering News.

About Leica Geosystems – when it has to be right: With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 3500 employees in 28 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.

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Robby Dudley,
Leica Geosystems,
770-326-9550

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LIDAR

Some of the new tools being frequently used by surveyors include LIDAR, which is illustrated in this image.
Coast House 1
The same beach seen through a conventional photograph is here.

Oregon State University Celebrates Earth Week

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is celebrating Earth Week beginning Saturday, April 18, with a community-wide EarthFaire on the Corvallis waterfront, the annual Procession of the Species Parade through downtown Corvallis, and a climate policy town hall meeting at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

On Saturday, cities across the nation will be partaking in town hall type forums organized by local Focus the Nation teams to engage people from Congressional representatives, to elected city officials, as well as community members in amplifying a discussion on America’s transition to a green economy. From 3 to 7 p.m. at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, key panelists will first talk about what they are working on now with regards to a green economy. Then they will talk about what they need to help create the green economy. An informational session will be provided to what kind of legislation is moving forward in Salem.

The panel discussion will be followed by a round table discussion, which will address how Corvallis citizens, university and city administrators, and government officials can connect their resources and engage each other to work out what the green economy would look like.

The events continue through April 24, with most of the activities taking place on or near campus, including the annual Community Fair April 21, which features information on 50 different campus and community groups focusing on sustainability, the environment and related topics.

“Around the world, people are realizing we have to really take the environment seriously and our impact seriously,” said Michaela Hammer, OSU Student Sustainability Initiative visibility coordinator. “Earth Week is becoming less of a special event and more about showcasing what we can do all year round.”

One popular Earth Week event is the annual Earth Day Hoo Haa, an afternoon celebration on April 22 at a student-run organic farm on the outskirts of Corvallis. Featuring speakers, live music, family-oriented events and the opportunity to get your hands dirty, it draws folks of all ages.

Other highlights of Earth Week include a Living Hat contest April 20, where participants show off their haberdashery skills as well as their green thumbs when they craft a hat out of living materials. The brand new OSU Bike Co-op is playing host to a bike race and open house April 23 to share the organization’s mission, which includes providing a place for students to learn how to work on their bikes and take free classes on bike maintenance.

And the newly formed OSU Permaculture Club will teach participants how to start seeds and make seedballs during an event at the Student Sustainability Center on April 22.

The following is a calendar of events, which also can be accessed at http://recycle.oregonstate.edu/EarthDay/eventCalendar.cfm:

Saturday, April 18
• 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.: EarthFaire, First and Monroe Avenue. Exhibitors, music, crafts and more.
• Noon - 1 p.m.: Procession of the Species, First and Jackson Street. Join the parade dressed as any species.
• 3-7 p.m.: Focus the Nation Town Hall, Corvallis-Benton Public Library. Ask legislators about climate policy.

Sunday, April 19
• 9 a.m.-noon: Naturalist adventure, Avery Park Rose Garden. Explore nature at this local park.

Monday, April 20
• 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.: Sorting it Out: Trash audits in MU quad. Help rescue recylables from the landfill.
• 12:30-1:30 p.m.: Alternative Transportation Panel, MU 211. Options for ridesharing, mass transit, biking and more.
• All day: Living Hat Contest. Make a hat out of living materials to promote Earth Week.

Tuesday, April 21
• 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.: Annual Community Fair, MU Quad. Interactive informational fair with 50 different groups.
• 7-9 p.m.: Climate Crisis 101, Student Sustainability Center, 738 S.W. 15th St. Overview of the climate crisis.
• 7-9 p.m.: Call & Response Movie Showing, Club Escape, OSU. Documentary to end human trafficking.

Wednesday, April 22
• Noon - 3 p.m.: Potting and Seed Balling, Student Sustainability Center. Start seeds and make seed balls to take home.
• 3-7 p.m.: Earth Day Hoo Haa!, Organic Growers Farm, 1 mile east of Corvallis, Hwy. 34. Organic food, music, plantings and more.
• 3:30-4:30 p.m.: GECO Climate Change Speaker Series, Burt 193. Karen Shell speaks about her climate research.
• 7-9 p.m.: Blue Vinyl Movie Showing, 1001 Kelley Engineering. Documentary on PVC’s environmental effects.
• 7-9 p.m.: The Call Lecture, Milam Auditorium. Speakers discuss human trafficking.

Thursday, April 23
• 3-5 p.m.: Simple Sustainability, OSU Women’s Center. Learn how to reduce your environmental impact.
• 5 p.m.: Get to Know Your Local Bicycle Co-op, MU Quad. 5:30-9 p.m., Student Sustainability Center. Bike race and open house to learn about the co-op.

Friday, April 24
• 3-4:30 p.m.: Synthetic Sea, Synthetic Me: Plastics in the Ocean, Strand Ag Hall. Speakers discuss plastic’s effects on the marine environment.
• 7-9:30 p.m.: SSI Earth Week Party, Student Sustainability Center. Food, games and entertainment.
• 7-8 p.m.: Flames for Change Vigil, MU steps. Candlelight vigil and rally against human trafficking.

OSU Earth Week is sponsored by Campus Recycling, Student Sustainability Initiative and ASOSU Environmental Affairs, as well as Corvallis Public Works and First Alternative Co-op.

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Oregon State alumni set to clean up Corvallis this Saturday

Oregon State University alumni are set to participate in a multi-city OSU day of service Saturday, May 16. It is a day for Beavers to get together and get busy helping as they share in the community service spirit of Beaver Nation.

Alumni, students and friends of OSU will work together in six cities – Portland, Seattle, Bend, Corvallis, San Jose and San Francisco – during what will become an annual OSU Alumni Association day of service. The long-term goal is to grow the event each year.

In Corvallis, the Trillium Children’s Farm Home is hosting the event.

A number of projects will take place during the cleanup event, located at 4455 N.E. Hwy. 20 in Corvallis. In the community garden, volunteers will build wooden raised vegetable beds, tear out and rebuild counter slats for the greenhouse area, and plant vegetable beds. In the therapeutic horse area, volunteers will replace wire fencing, move hay bales, fix supports and generally maintain the area.

Participants should be 18 years or older, although high-school aged volunteers can participate if accompanied by an adult. Volunteers should wear work clothing and sturdy shoes and bring gloves.

To pre-register, call 541-737-2351 or go to www.osualum.com.

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EPA Recognizes OSU as Pac-10 Leader in Purchasing “Green” Power

CORVALLIS, Ore. – For the second year in a row, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized Oregon State University for its purchase of green power, singling out OSU as the leading institution in the Pacific-10 Conference for its sustainability efforts.

The EPA announced this week that OSU led all Pac-10 institutions by purchasing nearly 67 million kilowatt-hours of green power. The purchase of that much green energy is equivalent to reducing the carbon dioxide emissions of nearly 8,800 passenger cars annually, the agency pointed out.

EPA’s recognition of the achievement is part of the agency’s EPA Green Power Partnership, which since 2006 has recognized collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation. The Individual Conference Champion Award, which OSU is receiving for 2008-09, recognizes the school with the highest green power purchase.

Green power is generated from renewable sources and is considered cleaner than conventional sources of electricity because it has lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Brandon Trelstad, OSU’s sustainability coordinator, said Oregon State’s ability to purchase green power is a result of a commitment to sustainability by students at the school. In 2007, OSU students overwhelmingly voted to assess themselves a fee of up to $8.50 per student each term to pay for green energy. The proposal passed by a margin of 71 percent to 29 percent, making OSU one of the first universities in the country to adopt such a measure.

“It has made a significant difference,” Trelstad said. “Those funds have boosted our ability to purchase renewable energy certificates from off-site sources, including wind energy, biogas and biomass.”

This is the latest in a series of sustainability initiatives that has brought national attention to OSU.

In 2008, the EPA named OSU one of 25 organizations to earn its Green Power Leadership Award, and the Kaplan College Guide listed the university as one of the nation’s top 25 “green colleges.” Also in 2008, Country Home magazine named Corvallis the greenest city in America in a listing of more than 350 cities – primarily because of its association with OSU.

Earlier this year, OSU became one of the first universities in the country to tap the kinetic energy generated by students working out on cardio machines and turning it into a form of renewable energy. OSU retrofitted 22 elliptical exercise machines in its student fee-funded Dixon Recreation Center and is collecting the power produced by students and feeding it back into the power grid.

“The amount of power generated isn’t overwhelming,” Trelstad said, “but it really helps students think about issues relating to energy production and consumption and encourages their activity in other areas. OSU students are quite energy-conscious – and becoming more so every day.”

Last month, the university finished its annual greenhouse gas inventory and reported a 30 percent reduction in net emissions during the past year – another direct result of student-supported green power purchases.

The university’s ability to use renewable power should get a boost later this year when the new $55 million energy center becomes fully operational, replacing a decades-old steam heating plant. The new center will be capable of burning renewable fuels – like methane and diesel – in the future, allowing OSU to produce about half of its electricity through co-generation.

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Brandon Trelstad,
541-737-3307

Study Rules Out Ancient Bursts of Seafloor Methane Emissions

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Measurements made from the largest Greenland ice sample ever analyzed have confirmed that an unusual rise in atmospheric methane levels about 12,000 years ago was not the result of a catastrophic release of seafloor “hydrate deposits,” as some scientists had feared.

The findings, to be published Friday in the journal Science, are good news for those who have worried that this unusual mechanism of releasing methane into the atmosphere might provide a serious reinforcement to global warming at some point in the future.

The five-year project was funded by the National Science Foundation, American Chemical Society and other agencies.

It now appears almost certain that the major methane increases that occurred near the end of the last Ice Age were due to the growth of wetlands and the methane releases associated with that, which occurred shortly after some significant warming in the Northern Hemisphere. They did not come from sudden bursts of methane trapped in deep seafloor deposits.

The newest conclusions were made possible by identification of some ancient ice exposed at the edge of a Greenland ice sheet, and samples of it cut with chain saws that totaled thousands of pounds.

“To get enough air trapped in ice to do the types of measurements we needed, it took some of the largest ice samples ever worked on,” said Edward Brook, a professor of geosciences at Oregon State University, and international expert on using ice samples to explore ancient climate.

“The test results were unequivocal, but it was a lot of heavy lifting,” Brook said. “It was like working in a quarry. We could have used some help from the OSU football team.”

Methane, and the possible sources of it, is a significant concern to scientists because it is a potent greenhouse gas. It has natural sources in places like wetlands and permafrost, and its concentration has more than doubled since the Industrial Revolution from human activities such as natural gas exploration, landfills and agriculture. Natural gas used for home heating is composed mostly of methane.

But more hidden, and potentially of much greater concern, are massive deposits of methane buried beneath the sea in solid hydrate deposits, where cold temperatures and pressure supposedly keep it stable and unable to enter the atmosphere in large amounts. There have been concerns that this methane might be released suddenly by warming of ocean waters or other causes. These huge deposits of methane hold more carbon in them than all the known oil and gas fields on Earth.

If only 10 percent of that seafloor methane were to be released in a few years, it could be the equivalent of a 10-fold increase in the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the researchers said in their report. And 12,000 years ago, methane levels went up 50 percent in less than 200 years, according to studies by Brook and others. Researchers wanted to know why.

“There are hundreds to thousands of times more methane trapped in seafloor deposits than there is in the atmosphere, and it’s important that we know whether it’s stable and is going to stay there or not,” Brook said. “That’s a pretty serious issue.”

To test whether the seafloor deposits had been the source of the large methane increase thousands of years ago researchers measured levels of carbon 14, an isotope of carbon, from the Greenland ice samples. The seafloor deposits are old and have very little carbon 14 in them. Based on the results of those measurements, the scientists were able to determine whether the methane increases 12,000 years ago were linked to seafloor deposits or not.

“The data made it pretty clear that seafloor methane hydrates had little to do with the increase in methane thousands of years ago,” Brook said. “This largely rules out these deposits either as a cause of the warming then or a feedback mechanism to it, and it indicates the deposits were stable at that point in time. The increased methane must have come from larger or more productive wetlands that occurred when the climate warmed.”

Researchers now hope to do similar experiments in Antarctica to verify the results of this study, Brook said.

This research was a collaboration of scientists from Oregon State University, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, National Space Institute in Denmark, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia.

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Ed Brook,
541-737-8197

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Edward Brook, with shovel, from Oregon State University, with consultant Paul Rose in trench.

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Jeff Severinghaus, UC/San Diego with consultant Paul Rose

Lecture Addresses Ecological Destruction of Western Europe

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Willamette University emeritus professor Gilbert LaFreniere will deliver a lecture titled “Reflections on the Ecological Transformation of Western Europe” on Wednesday, May 6, at Oregon State University. The free public talk begins at 4 p.m. in Memorial Union Room 206.

The lecture will address what LaFreniere calls “the massive ecological destruction of western Europe.” He claims the entire Mediterranean basin has been transformed into a human artifact, and most of Western Europe has been similarly affected by deforestation, loss of species diversity, and near total humanization of pre-existing ecosystems.

LaFreniere is an emeritus professor of geology and environmental science at Willamette and author of the 2008 book “The Decline of Nature: Environmental History and the Western Worldview.” He taught geology, environmental ethics, and environmental history at Willamette for more than 25 years.

He earned his degrees in intellectual history from the University of California at Santa Barbara after working as a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and Santa Barbara County. LaFreniere also authored the book “Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Idea of Progress” (1976).

This lecture is sponsored by OSU’s History Department with funding from the Horning Endowment in the Humanities. For more information contact the History Department at 541-737-8560.

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Elissa Curcio,
541-737-8560

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Gilbert LaFreniere