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DATE: April 26, 2011 11:01:19 AM PDT
Sidney Atkins to Discuss Japan's Controversial Nagara River Dam April 29 at WWU

Contact: Patrick Buckley, Western Washington University associate professor of Environmental Studies, (360) 650-4773 or patrick.buckley@wwu.edu

BELLINGHAM – Sidney Atkins will speak on “Japan: Dam Nation and the Forging of a Nationwide Environmental Movement” as part of Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment speaker series at 3 p.m., Friday, April 29 at WWU’s Communications Facility Room 125.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

Atkins will outline subsequent developments and the current state of affairs in Japan’s domestic environmental policies, while tracing the history of the seminal Nagara River anti-dam movement. The controversy over the building of the Nagara River Estuary Dam in central Japan during the 1990s was a major turning point for citizen awareness and government policy toward rivers and wetlands. It led to formation of Japan’s first real nationwide environmental movement in opposition to further dams. Since then, ongoing disputes over similar river and wetland projects have been at the center of Japan’s domestic political and financial power struggles.

Atkins has a background in cultural and historical geography, environmental studies, and East Asian languages. While a college teacher in Japan, he was an active participant and eyewitness observer in the controversy over the Nagara River Estuary Dam. Currently a Bellingham resident, he works as a translator, editor, and consultant for several Japanese research institutes, serves on the editorial board of the Japanese Journal of Human Geography, and also works as a documentary photographer.

The Huxley College of the Environment speaker series is held to bring together interested members of the WWU and Bellingham communities. Speakers address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and the world.

For more information contact Patrick Buckley, WWU associate professor of Environmental Studies, (360) 650-4773 or patrick.buckley@wwu.edu.

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