Saguaro cactus. Photo: David Harvey.
Institute of the Environment 2017

UA Hosts Interdisciplinary Conference for Environmental Studies and Sciences

Thursday, June 1, 2017

by Abby Dockter, Institute of the Environment The University of Arizona will host mosre than 250 scientists and students at the ENR2 Building for the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences Conference, “Environment, Wellness, and Communities,” from June 21 to 24. The conference will explore problem-solving and collaboration in the face of environmental challenges, student involvement in those efforts, and the meaning of sustainability. Tom Fleischner, executive director of the Natural History Institute and professor emeritus of environmental studies at Prescott College, will give the keynote address. “There is a link between our changing environment and health, but we realized that health was too narrow because wellness also includes livelihoods,” said James Buizer, chairman of the National Council for Science and the Environment board of directors, who led the effort to bring this conference to Tucson. “So it is about well-being—not just health, but the overarching well-being of an individual, a family, a community, a neighborhood, a city or a state.” The Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences was founded in 2008 as a professional organization to bring together scholars from environmental fields. The organization emphasizes community across disciplines and the free flow of knowledge about interconnected human and environmental systems. “The conference is bringing in county and city and state and local officials. It’s bringing in nonprofit organizations, foundations and also community organizations. It’s bringing in tribes. And not just from the region, but from around the world,” Buizer said. The goal of the annual conference is to make sharing information easier among interdisciplinary scholars. Conference attendees participate in small, informal presentations or engage in round-table discussions. The call for proposals encouraged paper and poster presentations, panels, discussions, workshops and field trips to explore Tucson. “If I had to pick one place, the University of Arizona is America’s environmental university,” Buizer said. “We are really connected to our place, to the city, to the county. We work together both in programs and in helping to move science into policy in action.”