Village Books and the WWU Libraries are pleased to present WWU Connections, a brown bag speaker series highlighting the expertise of WWU faculty and staff. Bring your lunch and join us for this engaging presentation and discussion. Western Connections is co-sponsored by Western Washington University Libraries.
Topic: Five Seasons in Ecotopia
Presenter: Troy Abel, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Studies
Drawing on his research collaborations over the past five years with WWU students, faculty, and Costa Ricans conserving tropical rainforests; Dr. Abel will share his insights on ecological citizenship, political biogeography, and immersions in some of the most biologically intense places on the planet. His effort's overriding philosophy has been that while Costa Rica's world renowned system of protected areas and national parks is where the nation's conservation of biodiversity began, it will be finished, for the good or the bad, outside of them.
Costa Rica is translated as rich coast; a name originating from Spanish conquistadors who mistakenly thought the land was filled with gold. Many now recognize that Costa Rica's riches are in fact more green than gold with more than 5% of the world's estimated biodiversity. Countless observers have documented this nation's natural exceptionalism but there is so much more to this tiny republic. Costa Rica has universal health care, a longer life expectancy than the US, the happiest people on the planet, and no military. Only by expanding our attention to all of these faces can one begin to see Ecotopia's Prism, how the intersections of Costa Rica's ecology, economy, and culture foster and inhibit sustainability.
Troy D. Abel received a Ph.D in Public Policy from George Mason University and holds an appointment as Associate Professor in the faculty of WWU’s Department of Environmental Studies. He also is Program Director of Huxley College of the Environment’s annual Rainforest Immersion and Conservation Action (RICA) study abroad course in Costa Rica. Dr. Abel's scholarship focuses on the environmental governance challenge of informing policy with sophisticated social and ecological science while simultaneously increasing transparency and participation in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental and conservation policies. He has explored why we often frame environmental problems and solutions in only technical or democratic prisms and how this hinders ecological governance. Professor Abel argues that we not only need better science and better governance, but a better integration of the two. The messy convergence and resolution of these rationalizing and democratizing impulses is a prominent feature of Dr. Abel's research programs on environmental justice, environmental information disclosure, and the conservation of biodiversity.
Village Books is pleased to carry copies of Troy's book, Five Seasons in Ecotopia, which is printed on our Espresso Book Machine. Please call 360-671-2626 to obtain copies.