|October 30, 2012
ECHO’S CAFÉ Scientifique Presents
Race & Environmental Justice: Bridging the Gap Between Us
Thursday, November 8, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
BURLINGTON, VT. — ECHO’s adult program, Café Scientifique offers yet another hot button topic for discussion with Race & Environmental Justice. ECHO will be transformed into a salon setting with an adult forum led by University of Vermont’s Tom Macias, Associate Professor of Sociology. This event will be held Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
This evening’s Café Sci topic was chosen to complement the current traveling exhibit at ECHO which is RACE: Are We So Different? The exhibit looks at race from a variety of perspectives including the socio-economic effects of race.
The speaker, Tom Macias (complete bio below), has a rich history in economics, history, sociology, environmental justice and consumer behavior on environmental outcomes. His presentation will be followed by a vibrant discussion with ECHO guests as they ponder such questions as: How do differences along the lines of race and social class affect overall concern for the environment in society?; How do our social connections to people different from ourselves affect our attitudes towards environmental issues?; Are the social and personal benefits we receive from using and disposing a laptop computer worth the social and environmental costs they incur?; In which ways are our decisions as consumers informed by an understanding of the social and environmental impacts of our behavior?; How might a more equal society allow us to be a more sustainable society?; What are the relative merits of technological versus social and community-level approaches to solving our current environmental crisis?
Café Scientifique offers adults 21+ the opportunity to talk about pressing science topics in a relaxed atmosphere. Visitors are encouraged to listen to an expert, and then engage in thoughtful conversation while enjoying free hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar, sponsored by VT Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society.
SPEAKER’S BIO: TOM MACIAS, Associate Professor of Sociology, UVM
Tom was struck by the socially constructed nature of society while in the Peace Corps as volunteer in Costa Rica and Argentina. His attention was drawn to how things such as race and ethnic categories, social class status and consumer-based lifestyle expectations were inseparable from the particular histories, social relations, and cultures in which they’re found.
His sociological research began in the Southwest where he has written about environmental justice issues surrounding forest management in northern New Mexico, and the multigenerational context of ongoing Mexican immigration in Santa Clara County, California and Maricopa County, Arizona. In each of these three contexts, Mexican-origin identity means something very distinctive, ranging from long established rural communities with claims to centuries-old Spanish land grants to recent arrivals and the targets of heated anti-immigrant politics in a sprawling desert metropolis.
Since his arrival in Vermont, his research interests have shifted with a focus on the effect of consumer behavior on environmental outcomes. He is particularly interested in how efforts at conservation might reduce human impacts on the natural environment. His more recent publications concern the role community social ties, sometimes referred to as social capital, work to support local agriculture and alternative forms of transportation. An underlying theme in his research is that in a world where market forces see individuals in society as primarily a consumer source of profit, people fare much better when they have a variety of people to rely on for information, friendship and mutual support.
For more information call (toll-free) 1.877.324.6386 or visit www.echovermont.org.
ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center is located at the
Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, on Vermont’s Burlington
Waterfront. ECHO features 70 live species, more than 100
interactive experiences, changing and permanent exhibits and
seasonal events — all exploring the Ecology, Culture, History,
and Opportunity for stewardship of the Lake Champlain Basin. The
2.2 acre Leahy Center environmental campus is also highlighted
by the Lake Champlain Basin Program Resource Room, UVM’s
Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, Lake Champlain Navy
Memorial, ECHO’s Eclectic Gift Shop, and ecology-themed Café
managed by Sugarsnap. Open year-round, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Day. For more information visit
echovermont.org, call (toll-free) 1.877.324.6386, or write to
ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Leahy Center for Lake
Champlain, One College Street, Burlington, VT 05401.