Thursday, April 22, 2004
Chemistry open house marks Earth DayAn open house today at the "environmental safety facility" in the chemistry department is among the special events marking Earth Day and Earth Week.
The facility handles recycling and reuse of chemicals for the campus, as well as spill protection, collection and waste reduction efforts. Staff will be on hand from noon to 2:00 today to show off the facility and answer questions.
The environmental safety facility is in room 150 of the Earth Sciences and Chemistry building, around the corner from chemistry stores.
Also today, Earth Week displays in the Davis Centre continue. And it's the last day for the Campus Environment Quiz on the waste management office web site.
"Grades become official on May 24," a memo says, "at which point the official and complete term grades will appear along with academic standings. Inquiries about grades should be made after May 24. Requests for official transcripts will be processed after this date."
There's also a notice directed to instructors -- a reminder of rules about posting final grades. The rule is in UW's Policy 19 on privacy:
"Provided the identity of individual students is protected, an instructor may convey information about student academic performance (e.g., grades on assignments, mid-terms or final examinations) by posting results in a public place such as an office door, bulletin board or course website. Final examination and final course grades shall not be posted before the final examination period ends."
It ends tonight, when the last student is finished with exams in such courses as Biology 444, Computer Science 330, and Music 100. In some cases the students who walk out of those exam rooms will have finished their UW careers forever, and all that's left is convocation.
If that's you, see you back on campus in mid-June for the ceremonies. If not, you may be due back in September (first day of classes is Monday the 13th) or even in May (spring term begins Monday, May 3).
The writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau show they were much concerned with things that seem to be worrying many of today's out-front environmental or ecological scholars, McMurry says.
From the news release: "McMurry's academic interests are in 19th century American literature and also in rhetoric and professional writing. He has written a book on the subject, Emerson, Thoreau and the Systems of Nature, which was published last November. His intention is to show how human societies make waste of their environments and are seemingly unable to do otherwise."
Says McMurry: "Why are we constitutionally incapable of not destroying our natural surroundings? Sustainability, conservation, renewability, cleanup -- these words might prompt one to suppose that a renaissance of environmental health actually exists or is on the horizon. But nothing is truly being sustained, conserved, renewed or cleaned up. We are rapidly outstripping the planet's capacity to support us."
He refers to the literary apprehensions of Thoreau and Emerson about the precariousness of the natural world and its uncertain future over the last century and a half. They often dealt in their writings with the natural world in their part of New England (including the disappearance of the forested areas around Concord, Massachusetts). It was a region that was clearly beginning to feel the impact of growing ruralization and urbanization in the period from 1800 to 1850 and beyond.
Thoreau is renowned for having spent the winters of 1845 and 1846 living in a hut he built at Walden Pond. This experience resulted in his book Walden. Emerson also had a deep love of nature. After a brief period as a minister in Boston, he withdrew and thereafter travelled widely as a lecturer, itinerant preacher and essayist -- the "Sage of Concord." He seemed to feel that things were never as bad as we might expect them to be but not as good as we might wish them to be. His writings, after a number of European tours, continued to deal not only with the Parthenon, the Sphinx and Vesuvius, but also with the pickerel weed in bloom, wild geese honking in the sky, Monadnock and Katahdin, Wall Street, cotton mills and Quincy granite.
"There is today an increasing awareness and concern over the natural environment and the ecosystem, and more and more of us are wondering about the future of mankind, society, the whole human system," McMurry says. "We realize that our way of life presents a danger to our children's and grandchildren's futures. We are aware that environmental degradation is occurring, and that it may have already reached a point that will overwhelm civilization as we know it. There is a new skepticism emerging that questions what science can do to help with the problem."
He adds: "Some of the problems of the past we no longer have to face, of course. For instance, there was a time when, here in North America, vast forests were denuded to help keep pioneers warm in winter and to clear the land for crops -- but today we can see many of those formerly deforested areas have indeed returned to a more natural woodland state. The trees are back. Yet on the other hand, we have new worries about the disappearance of the ozone layer, climate change, the greenhouse effect, the melting of polar ice caps -- problems which Thoreau and Emerson never had to even consider."
The full news release, written by Bob Whitton, is available on the media relations web site.
Four avid readers -- a storyteller, a book store owner, a librarian, and a magazine consultant -- will share passages from their favourite books. This is a chance to recover the pleasure you took in being read to as a child and to extend that pleasure to others, as proceeds from the evening will go to support the work of the Literacy Group of Waterloo Region.
|WHEN AND WHERE|
Pension and benefits committee, 8:30 to 2:30, Needles Hall room 3004.
Statistics seminar, Bruce Jones, University of Western Ontario, 3:30, Math and Computer room 5158.
Artworks by Pat Kalyn, retired staff member, meet-the-artist reception, 4 to 6 p.m., University Club.
'Celebrate Mother Earth', Basil Johnston, Cape Croker First Nation, speaking 7 p.m. at Aboriginal Resource Centre, U of Guelph, co-sponsored by UW Aboriginal Student Association.
Waterloo Potters' Workshop spring sale, Friday 1:00 to 9:30, Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday noon to 4, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.
Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry, annual meeting and awards Friday afternoon; seminar by Brian Henry, U of Guelph, "Some Vibrations Are Just Not Normal", open to the public, 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.
NSERC reception to honour 87 UW researchers who have 25 years of funding from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Friday 4 to 6, South Campus Hall.
The readers are Mary-Eileen McClear, a professional storyteller; David Scott, journalist and editor; Paul Wilson, proprietor of the recently opened Waterloo bookstore The Mysterious Affair; and Ann Wood, acting chief executive officer of Kitchener Public Library.
Other highlights tonight include Mark Spielmacher on guitar, a draw for a variety of book prizes donated by area bookstores, and an informal reception. Tickets for the evening are $10, available at the door or by calling TNQ at 884-8111, ext. 290.
The purpose of the fair is to encourage employees to take a proactive approach to their health, and to introduce some alternative and complementary therapies. A number of vendors, from massage therapists to nutritionists and herbalists to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, will staff information booths in the Davis Centre lounge on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The event is strongly endorsed by UW's administration, says Catharine Scott, associate provost (human resources and student services): "The university is very happy that the fair will hopefully help staff and faculty with some of the stresses of work and everyday life, and we hope that staff and faculty will attend sessions that interest them. If they are during work hours, where possible, managers should be supportive about their attendance at sessions."