Gonzaga Lecture on War, Environment to be Held During Earth Week
As part of its Earth Week events, Gonzaga University will host a lecture by international policy analyst Roy Woodbridge, titled “War, Ecological Decline and the Provisioning of Societies” at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 19 in the Barbieri Courtroom at the GU School of Law.
The presentation is free and open to the public. Earth Day 2006 is April 22. Woodbridge, a consultant from Vancouver, B.C., argues in his recent book “The Next World War: Tribes, Cities, Nations and Ecological Decline,” (University of Toronto Press), that the world faces a “predictable, preventable catastrophe” in the next 20 years, as inequalities in the distribution of environmental goods and services lead to escalating global conflict. To avert this impending disaster, Woodbridge asserts the need for a coordinated, international effort on the scale of a world war.
However, instead of pitting nations against one another, Woodbridge notes that such an effort would unite nations against the common enemy of ecological decline. The so-called “war effort,” Woodbridge asserts, should instead be aimed at securing sustainable flows of natural resources and distributing them equitably around the globe.
“Nature is drawing lines in the sand that our societies dare not cross without incurring great suffering,” Woodbridge wrote in a recent report. “Nothing less than mobilizing the world’s peoples on a scale as if for waging war against an implacable foe will produce the decisive action required to avoid crossing these lines.”
Woodbridge also argues that today’s environmental movements, with their emphasis on “sustainable development,” have lost focus and momentum, and can’t compete against the prospect of economic growth, which drives ecological decline. What is needed, he suggests, is a radical reorganization of priorities, practices, and technologies that will allow us to make better, more efficient use of the dwindling natural resources upon which the world has become so dependent.
Woodbridge sees environmentalists as the people most likely to lead this charge, but said he believes such an effort will require a shift in the directions and methods of the environmentalist movement in order to be successful.
Woodbridge bases his claims in large part on his extensive experience in the international environmental policy arena. He spent 15 years in the Canadian government, including senior positions in the departments of Environment; Energy, Mines, and Resources; and Industry, Trade, and Commerce. Also, he spent 10 years at the head of two industry associations, the Mining Association of Canada and the Canadian Advanced Technology Association. For the past 14 years, he has been the president of Vancouver-based Woodbridge and Associates, a consulting firm working with international companies and organizations on public policy issues related to the environment.
Woodbridge’s lecture is the last event in a faculty-organized series entitled “The Other Side of War,” which included presentations on war and its impacts on society from a number of different perspectives. Woodbridge’s visit to campus is sponsored by the Office of the Academic Vice President, and the College of Arts and Sciences.
For more information, please contact David Boose, associate professor of biology at Gonzaga, at (509) 323-6634 or via e-mail at email@example.com