Winner of the 2015 Eco-Award announced: trailblazing conference, Under Western Skies
The Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC) is pleased to announce the 2015 winner of its annual Environmental Community Organizer (ECO) Award: the Under Western Skies Conference held at Mount Royal University in Calgary.
As the nomination form attested, “Under Western Skies is an ongoing, biennial, interdisciplinary conference on the environment launched in 2010. The 2014 conference included 55 concurrent sessions, 7 keynote/plenary addresses, a staged dramatic reading of a new play, an interactive exhibition on the Berger Inquiry, a new film on the environment, and an honorary reception for the renowned Canadian ecologist, Dr. David Schindler. The conference series welcomes academics from across the disciplines as well as members of artistic and activist communities (e.g. Idle No More in 2014), government, labour and NGOs to address ecological challenges faced by human and nonhuman actors. The gathering is the antithesis of the oft-seen academic gathering of narrowly constituted specialists. Instead, this is a diverse demarcation of space for the broad sharing of ideas (expressed through diverse media) related to human-environmental relationships. Academic papers commingle in a program of art, music, celebration of environmental success and a genuine commitment to expanding the dialogue on topics of environmental interest.”
ESAC’s ECO-Award was created to recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals or groups who are working together to build partnerships and networks within the field of environmental studies, who increase environmental awareness through education and outreach, and who promote the mobilization of knowledge and research into action and practice. Under Western Skies stands as an inspiration for community-building, educational outreach and environmental leadership, and is an excellent example of these criteria. Winners are given a cash award of $1000, a one-year membership to ESAC, including a subscription to Alternatives Journal, and are invited as keynote speakers at ESAC’s conference next year, coincidentally in Calgary.
“This award is richly deserved,” enthuses Geo Takach, the chair of the ECO-Award jury and member of ESAC’s board of directors. “Our jury was impressed by the ambitious breadth and depth of this important conference, which is a major achievement for environmental studies in our country, and particularly in Alberta. It is also a model of collaborative effort, a continuing source of vital, new knowledge in the field, and a beacon for the growing environmental-studies community in Canada and beyond.”