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September 17, 2020

The Humanities Center at Texas Tech University

A Lecture and Discussion series from September 17 through November 12th

Forests podcast

Forests are microcosms of Gaia, the planetary system that emerges from the totality of living beings and the sum of their environmental modulations to produce and sustain habitable conditions for the current biosphere. Over geological time, Gaia has been doing its best to cool the planet against the ever-increasing luminosity of the sun. Drawing down atmospheric carbon for eons, Gaia has operated to keep the planetary climate comfortably cool. In this light, forest ecosystems may be considered as Gaian subsystems, each one cooling and humidifying the planetary surface in its vicinity, building up complex, diverse, and desirable habitats--but only as long as they’re left intact. The repercussions of the forests’ climate maintenance extend far beyond their own borders. They are planet makers in their own right, and their loss would be not merely a regional but a planetary catastrophe in the making.

The Humanities Center at Texas Tech’s annual theme for 2020-2021 is Forests.All this academic year, we will be thinking about forests—what they are, how they work, especially when they are healthy, how we have always lived in their shadow and under their shade even while we took them for granted, and why their reservation truly matters. We will also be thinking with forests in order to come to grips with the contemporary state of the biosphere at large and how we humans, the beneficiaries and the consumers of forests, might proceed from here, might learn things from the trees and the forests to make positive differences in face of the ecological challenges we currently confront.

Director: Bruce Clarke

Team: Curtis Bauer, Michael Borshuk, Sankar Chatterjee, Sara Spurgeon, Christopher Witmore

Additional Details: The Humanities Center at Texas Tech

September / Forests & the Earth

Welcome to the Forests theme

View event. Passcode: Wx3r2&k&

Thursday, September 17, 7:30 pm

A discussion of Intelligent Trees: The Documentary, featuring forest ecologist Suzanne Simard and forester Peter Wohlleben.

Moderator: Bruce Clarke

The Evolution and Ecology of Forests

Thursday, September 24, 7:00 pm / Registration

  • Sankar Chatterjee, Geosciences, TTU, "The Origin and Evolution of Forests"
  • John Zak, Biological Sciences, TTU, "The Fungal Ecology of Forests"
  • Dylan Schwilk, Biological Sciences, TTU, "Fire and the Forest 'Sky Islands' of West Texas and the Southwest"

Moderator: Bruce Clarke

October / Forests & the Human

Pisgah National Forest: A Web Exhibition

Thursday, October 15, 7:30 pm

Register for discussion

Moderator: Christopher Witmore

Becoming Sensor for a Planthroposcene

Thursday, October 22, 7:30 pm

Register for lecture

Moderator: Bruce Clarke

November / Native Land Practices: Indigenous Cuisine and Forest Care

Tree Food: Forests, Indigenous American Cuisines, and Native Food Sovereignty

Thursday, November 5, 7:30 pm / Registration

Moderators: Sara Spurgeon and Vickie Sutton

Forest Restoration Theory and Practice Based on Indigenous Cultural Tending

Thursday, November 12, 7:30 pm / Registration

  • Lee Klinger, Independent Scientist, Sudden Oak Life, Big Sur, CA

Moderators: Bruce Clarke and Vickie Sutton