TTU Stonecipher Symposium Spurs Thought on Limited Resources and Consumerism

Eating, drinking and thinking globally might seem to be a contradiction. But this year’s Stonecipher Symposium on Technology, Communication and Culture challenges us to think about those concepts during the eighth annual event, to be held Tuesday, March 22, at Tennessee Technological University.

Participants will become a part of the discussion on whether or not Earth and humanity can be sustained in the face of consumerism as part of the symposium theme of “Eat, Drink and Think Globally: Can the World Survive a Consumer Culture?”.

“Consumerism is the misguided acceptance of consumption as a way to self-development, self-realization and self-fulfillment,” says Sue McGregor, peace studies expert and home economist at Mount Saint Vincent University in Canada. “One’s identity is tied to what one consumes.”

McGregor will be the keynote speaker during the symposium. Her presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the Derryberry Hall Auditorium.

A debate between author Jeff Smith, who wrote Seeds of Deception that reveals the health dangers of genetically modified (GM) foods and crops, and Neal Smith, plant geneticist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who believes that the perceived risks of GM plants are scientifically unlikely and outweighed by real environmental benefits, will be a feature of the symposium. The debate will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be held in the Tech Pride Room of the Roaden University Center.

Other presenters include Christopher Juniper, an economist who is the founding vice president of Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS). NCS is a nonprofit organization that educates decision makers about the principles of sustainability, natural capitalism and the opportunities to achieve progress through its implementation. Bill Lambrecht, a Washington correspondent for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will speak on the politics of water and the elusive quest for sustainability of this precious resource. He is the author of Dinner at the New Gene Café and Big Muddy Blues: True Tales and Twisted Politics Along Lewis and Clark's Missouri River, to be published later this month.

Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, will present his ideas on “green,” or environmentally friendly, power. Erick Veliz, Tennessee Tech student and southeast regional coordinator of United Students for Fair Trade who has represented Oxfam America in promoting sustainable food systems and labor justice, and WastAway, a company based in McMinnville that transforms household garbage into consumer products, will round out the list of guests.

The event is free and open to the public and was established to unite humanists, engineers, scientists and the general public in a discussion on topics important to society. The presentations will last throughout the day and will be held in the Tech Pride Room. For more information, please call 931/372-3507 or visit www.tntech.edu/stonecipher.

The Stonecipher Symposium is sponsored by Tennessee Technological University and named for Harry Stonecipher, distinguished Tennessee Tech alumnus.

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