By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — A focus on ethical practices relative to the earth, its resources and to humans will be addressed through lectures, performances and even field trips for St. Ambrose University’s yearlong “Sustainability” series.
This is the sixth academic year that St. Ambrose has offered a yearlong theme. Father Bud Grant submitted the proposal for the sustainability theme, updating a proposal he had submitted for the previous academic year.
The professor of theology and advisor of Green Life environmental club said once the theme was approved, the St. Ambrose community worked to line up speakers. Fr. Grant will be one of them.
“I am very excited about the quality and quantity of the events,” he said.
For more than 20 years the theologian has researched and taught about the environment. “At first I objected to stewardship and sustainability. But since then, the human impact on the environment is so grave. There is no wilderness to preserve anymore. Now we have nature to manage.”
Today people need to mitigate and adapt. Those two aspects fall into stewardship and sustainability. “We can’t save — only manage.”
He said while teaching a University of Illinois master’s program he used the example of a plane going down that can’t be controlled. What do you do?
“With our planet so damaged, is it a crash or crash landing? There is no question about keeping it (the plane) in the air.”
One particular lecture he especially looks forward to was added to the lineup after posters publicizing the theme were distributed.
On Dec. 1 at 4 p.m. in the Lewis Board Room of Ambrose Hall, St. Ambrose alumni Matt Ehlman and Troy Johnson will speak on “Shall We Feed the Hungry.” Fr. Grant said they will address international development, the impact of aiding the world, and philanthropy.
Fr. Grant’s talk, “Violence and the Environment: Ecocide and Genocide,” will be presented March 27 at 7 p.m. in the Rogalski Center. It is part of the Wilber Symposium on the Christian Tradition and Non-Violence series. He will show that violence is committed against the environment, and not just against people. Sometimes an action is taken to address one issue, he noted, but the side effect can hurt resources or the environment.
Student-only opportunities are another aspect of this year’s theme that Fr. Grant appreciates.
For example, St. Ambrose students viewed a movie outdoors on campus Aug. 29. Another one was scheduled for Sept. 12. “There are no lectures, no panels. They can start their own discussions.”
In October and in April students can attend demonstrations on sustaining Iowa prairies in western Iowa.
All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated. For more information or a complete list of activities, visit www.sau.edu and click on the sustainability logo.
By Anne Marie Amacher