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Lawrence University, WI "Green Roots"
Lawrence University is a liberal arts college and conservatory of music in Appleton, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1847, the school held its first classes on November 12, 1849. Lawrence was the second college in the United States to be founded as a coeducational institution.
The school is a member of the Colleges That Change Lives and a Great Books College.
- Light More Light!
- Veritas est Lux
Lawrence University Environmental Initiative
Green Roots Mission Statement
This is a critical moment in the Earth’s history. Though reasonable people may debate the causes and disagree about what is to be done, there is little doubt that humanity faces significant, global environmental problems affecting the quality and sustainability of human, and non-human, life on this planet. At such an historical moment, Lawrence and other institutions of higher education have an obligation to respond. Therefore, Lawrence University is launching Green Roots, a two-year long environmental initiative that will establish the framework within which we will initiate specific institutional policies and procedures to “green” the Lawrence campus and cultivate the habits of mind and disposition that lead to care of the Earth.
As we embark on this campaign, we want to emphasize that the complexity of the environmental problems we face (e.g., resource depletion, soil erosion, global warming, species extinction, environmental degradation) demand careful study and analysis of the issues, creativity in seeking solutions and common ground with those whose perspectives differ, and, of course, critical and imaginative thinking – all of which are fostered in the liberal arts. Care of the Earth, therefore, begins, as it must at a university, with the disciplined study of the liberal arts necessary to ecological intelligence and the commitment to living in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Care of the Earth, as poet and novelist, Wendell Berry, reminds us, also begins with care of the places where we live and work. These are the places, the cultural and geographical landscapes, that shape us as individuals and as peoples, and in which we sink roots that nourish and sustain us. It follows, as the philosopher Nel Noddings argues, that responsible global, as well as local, citizenship demands an understanding of and sympathy for people’s attachment to place. Responsible citizenship also requires, we would add, that we act in a manner that cares for the places in which we, and others, live and work. Hence, the hallmark of an educated person in the 21st Century must be knowledge of the places we call home, an awareness of their interconnectedness, and an acceptance of our civic duty to act in ways that protect their wellbeing. This too, we believe, must be inherent in the study of the liberal arts at Lawrence.
Care of the Earth requires that we approach the natural world with the same sense of wonder that famed biologist, Rachel Carson, wished could be the gift to every child as an “unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.” A sense of wonder, moreover, that can be the source of the hope and optimism with which we work to protect the environment. This sense of wonder must infuse our scholarly and artistic endeavors and, indeed, become characteristic of a liberal arts education at Lawrence.
Care of the Earth, then, requires rigorous, scholarly exploration of environmental issues, a placed-based education, and the nurturing of wonder and delight in the natural, and human-made, world. At the same time, care of the Earth cannot happen if we do not translate knowledge into action, attitudes into behavior. In this we are guided by Aldo Leopold who reminds us, by his life as well as his writings, that the “land ethic” essential to our survival is expressed by what we do in the world, and not simply by what we know or profess. All of this, therefore, will underlie Green Roots at Lawrence ...
As part of this process, we will implement a variety of curricular and co-curricular projects across the natural and social sciences, humanities and fine arts; sponsor public events addressing environmental themes and issues; establish links with other institutions and organizations that have similar commitments to environmental stewardship; and seek ways to conserve resources and reduce Lawrence’s environmental impact. Our intent is that Green Roots will spread throughout the Lawrence community and to all aspects of campus life, including student groups and activities, intercollegiate athletics, artistic endeavors and performances, the preservation and maintenance of college grounds and buildings, and our relationships with the local community.
... We recognize that this is simply the beginning of an on-going process of liberal education at Lawrence that prepares our graduates to sink deep, green roots in their communities and commits them to environmental stewardship wherever they call home.