Protecting children from environmental threats topic of humanities talk

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Photo of Sandra Steingraber.


KALAMAZOO—An ecologist, author, cancer survivor and international expert on environmental links to cancer and human health will address the growing threat environmental degradation poses to children when she speaks this month as part of the spring season for the University Center for the Humanities at Western Michigan University.

Sandra Steingraber will speak at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 13, in the Dalton Theatre of the Light Fine Arts Building at Kalamazoo College, 1200 Academy St. Her presentation, which is free and open to the public, is part of WMU's University Center for the Humanities 2013-14 Changing Climates Series.

Steingraber will read from her book, "Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis," in which she contends that the nation's children face an environment more threatening to their health than any generation in history. In "Raising Elijah" she confronts this crisis with precise science and a lyrical, witty, moving memoir, with each chapter focusing on one of the universals of childhood—milk, laundry, pizza, homework and the "big talk"—exploring the hidden, social political and historical forces behind them.

Sandra Steingraber

With a doctoral degree in biology and a master's in English, Steingraber translates between scientists and activists and has testified in the European Parliament, before the United Nations and President's Cancer Panel, and in briefings to Congress. Also the author of "Living Downstream," "Having Faith" and "Post-Diagnosis," she is a scholar in residence at Ithaca College.

Steingraber contends the intimate world of parenting connects closely to the public world of policy-making. The ongoing environmental crisis, she insists, is fundamentally a crisis of family life.

About the series

As part of the Changing Climates Series, the Center for the Humanities is bringing together scientists and humanists to consider how the world's temperature, environmental and social climates are changing and what the earth's inhabitants need to know and do about it. The series is exploring how scientific research is defining issues that concern everybody, including the warming of the globe, the toxicity of the environment and the fundamental changes mankind is making to the natural world. The intersection of these and other issues provides both an opportunity and a necessity to talk across the usual boundaries within academia and beyond.

For more information, contact the Center for the Humanities at (269) 387-1811.