Jonah Center Favorite — Two Talks at Wesleyan by Prof. Brian Stewart

Earth Day Rant 2015“Sustainability by Number”

Thursday, 23 April, 4:30 p.m.
Exley Science Center Room 58

Through its exuberance, humankind has dug itself into an enormous hole, one that requires some quantification to try to grasp. Through numbers, we will examine the size of the hole and its rate of growth. Giant problems require giant solutions; we will explore the form these solutions might take — and the form they probably will not take.

“Stop Drilling Down!”

Tuesday, 28 April, 7 p.m.
Exley Science Center, Room 150

“Drilling down” is a metaphor for probing a question ever more deeply, learning more and more in the process. It’s what academics do, and it’s a good thing to do — right? Only if we also take the time to synthesize what we and others have learned in an attempt to grasp the whole picture. This talk is an attempt to do just that, examining the human situation from a physical perspective. Drilling down is also quite literally the process by which humans have gotten into their present predicament, as the production of fossil fuels from below Earth’s surface has enabled us to increase our footprint to the point that it engulfs Earth’s biological and even geological systems, leading to the notion that we are in a new geological era, the Anthropocene. What should we do with this knowledge?

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