Charles Wohlforth | Wednesday, 10 November 2010

10 November 2010
Charles Wohlforth

Author Charles Wohlforth (The Whale and the Supercomputer; The Fate of Nature), spoke to students of the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) on November 10, 2010. ORCA is an early college high school academy found on the campus of Everett Community College, located in Everett, Washington. ORCA uses the local marine environment as the unifying theme to integrate the core academic disciplines. Students at ORCA have been studying Wohlforth's work on arctic science and the importance of culture in environmental issues.

Charles' main talk featured a 40-minute slide lecture on ocean and arctic environmental problems. He focused on how changes in social norms affect the human relationship with nature, and how understanding these are key to addressing issues of climate change, sea ice loss, and ocean acidification. The talk entwined many branches of learning including physical science, economics, anthropology, psychology, and the influence of spirituality.

Along with the presentation, Charles also conducted a question-and-answer session with the 85 ORCA students and the invited Everett Community College students and instructors. Charles states, "The preparation of the students was nothing short of extraordinary. The level of discussion in each of the sessions was at a level as high or higher than I encounter with graduate students and college faculty." Those invited included Global Studies students and the deans of the Math and Science and Social Science divisions.

Following the large group question-and-answer session, Charles hosted smaller break-out sessions with English teacher Josh Searle and the first year ORCA students currently enrolled in a course entitled "Negotiating Nature." The class has been reading excerpts from Charles' latest book, and had the opportunity to discuss with Charles how the human perspective of nature informs how humans value nature.

A faculty luncheon for Charles was hosted by ORCA. Interested Everett Community College faculty were also in attendance.