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Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: October 16, 2008 6:33:49 AM PDT
WWU's John Bower to Present 'One Foot in Nature, One Foot in a Crazy World' Nov. 12
Presentation Will Be First Installment in 2008/09 Turning Points Lecture Series

Contact: Fran Maas, Turning Points Lecture Series coordinator, (360) 650-7545, or e-mail Fran.Maas@wwu.edu.

BELLINGHAM - Western Washington University's John Bower will present "One Foot In Nature, One Foot In a Crazy World: How The Study Of Nature Can Lesson Our Environmental Impact and Improve Our Quality of Life," the first installment in WWU's Turning Points faculty lecture series, at 5:15 p.m., on Wednesday, Nov.12, in Communications Facility room 110.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

In his talk Bower will use data and photographs from his studies of the natural world to consider how nature study can inform our attempt to slow environmental degradation while improving our quality of life. Drawing on his studies of bowhead whales in the Alaskan arctic, hummingbirds and seabirds on a remote Pacific Ocean island, and Pacific Northwest marine birds, as well as the research of other scientists, he will address the impact humans are having on the natural world.

But pointing out the dilemma of environmental degradation is only one part of working toward a solution. How do we find the motivation to change our lifestyles to lessen our impact on the natural world?  And if we did make such changes, what would happen to the quality of our own lives? Working from the viewpoint that humans are animals with a long evolutionary history who suddenly find themselves in a novel environment, Bower argues that the careful study of other animals and the cross-cultural study of humans can teach us about how to enrich our current lives while living more sustainably.

Drawing on lessons learned from slowing down to nature's pace and doing research in out-of-the-way places, Bower argues that a simpler, less energy intensive life will not only improve the plight of the environment but also can improve our quality of life.

John Bower, associate professor at WWU's Fairhaven College for Interdisciplinary Studies, has spent 25 years studying the natural world.  Getting his start as a birdwatcher, his research includes acoustic communication in bowhead whales and song sparrows, as well as population ecology of Pacific Northwest marine birds.  Most recently, Bower and his family lived on Isla Robinson Crusoe, 500 miles off the coast of Chile, where he studied competition for flowers between the endangered and endemic Juan Fernandez firecrown hummingbird and the green firecrown, a recent arrival from the South American mainland.  He teaches a wide variety of courses at Fairhaven, including "Marine Bird Ecology," "The Science and Music of Natural Sound," "Cultural and Biological Perspectives on Pregnancy and Childbirth," and "The Folk Music Experience."

For more information about the Turning Points Series faculty speaker series call (360) 650-7545 or visit http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~lectures/turningpoints.html.

For those attending Turning Points faculty lectures, no parking permit is required to park after 5 p.m. in the gravel lots 12A and the C lots south of the Communications Facility, near Fairhaven College.  Parking meters require payment all hours.

 

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