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Campus theme of sustainability, environment to be explored in public lectures


A series of three lectures in March will explore Western Carolina University’s campus theme of sustainability and the environment.

The lectures, collectively titled “Connected to Nature: Human-Nature Bonding and 21st-Century Environmental Advocacy, Conservation and Education,” will be presented by Christian Diehm, professor of philosophy and environmental ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Christian Diehm

Diehm will draw on philosophy and social science to analyze multiple dimensions of nature connectedness, including what it is, what promotes it, what results from it and what its relevance might be to academics, conservation professionals and everyday people.

All lectures will be held from 5 until 6:30 p.m. in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center and are free and open to the public.

  • Monday, March 16, “Connection to Nature: What It Is and Why It Matters” will highlight some of the different ways in which “connectedness to nature” has been articulated in both environmental philosophy and social science, and evidence that a sense of connection to the natural world is an important factor in how people behave toward it.
  • Tuesday, March 17, “Outdoor Experience, Connection to Nature and Environmental Advocacy” will examine the conservation significance of outdoor experiences and why it continues to be an important factor in pro-environmental attitudes and outlooks, even in a rapidly urbanized world.
  • Thursday, March 19, “Loving More than Human Life” will look at claims that humans need nature not only materially, but recreationally, aesthetically and psychologically, and how biophilic theory has influenced fields ranging from environmental education to urban planning.

The campus theme of “Sustainability and the Environment” was chosen after a survey of faculty, staff and students by WCU’s Office of Undergraduate Studies. For the past nine years, WCU has selected an interdisciplinary theme for conversations, curricular and co-curricular connections and community enrichment.

The lectures are part of WCU’s Jerry Jackson Lecture in the Humanities series and sponsored by the Campus Theme committee, as well as the Department of Philosophy and Religion and the Honors College, along with additional support from the College of Education and Allied Professions and the College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information, contact John F. Whitmire, WCU associate professor of philosophy and religion, at 828- 227-7262 or


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