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President's forum examines humans' effect on the environment

Loyola press release - November 8, 2010

What have we done to provoke events in the most environmentally turbulent century in human history? Environmental historian John R. McNeill, Ph.D., investigated this question during a free lecture at Loyola University New Orleans on Thursday, Nov. 11, in Nunemaker Auditorium. The lecture, “Turbulent Times: 100 Years of Environmental Change,” was free and open to the public.

Global warming is a much-contested theory among scientists today. McNeill explored environmental history in the last century with an effort to explain why our global climate has been in such turmoil. He addressed the scale and scope of environmental changes and the social, economic and political forces behind them. McNeill argues that the energy system is the single most important variable in modern environmental history, but also considers population growth and urbanization, technology, politics, and the international system.

McNeill is a professor in the history department and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he teaches world, environmental and international history, and studies and writes about how ecological change affects historical events. He is president-elect of the American Society for Environmental History and has authored several other books, including “Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the 20th-Century World.” His lecture at Loyola was based primarily on research conducted for this book.

Loyola University’s President’s Forums on Current Issues and Controversies seek to explore and discuss some of the most compelling contemporary issues facing us today. Featuring internationally recognized scholars, the forum’s goal is to develop a dialogue with the larger community that helps us deepen our understanding and challenges us to move toward a more just and enlightened society.

For more information on the President’s Forum, contact Matt Lambert in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5448 or at mlambert@loyno.edu.