Philosophical clarity and moral courage event gathers over 100 students


David Jenkins

A packed house at the Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change, student conference event held on Tuesday Oct. 18. These are some of the 100 plus students that showed up to the event. Photo credit: David Jenkins

David Jenkins

Approximately 100-plus students were present at the philosophical clarity and moral courage event, a four-hour event concerning global warming and how one can fight against it using philosophy.

The event was held by the philosophy department and consisted of two separate meetings within four hours. Both concerned global warming.

The first was on Tuesday Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. There were 107 students that showed up to this meeting and eight philosophy professors were present in participation.

The professors that held the conference on global warming were:

  • Tim Chatman
  • Joseph Van De Mortel
  • Andrew Rehfeld
  • Ted Stolze
  • Ana Torres-Bower
  • Dr. Daniel Vecchio
  • Dr. Kim Berling
  • Robert Sliff

The entire class got into groups of about 15-18 people and were differentiated by the colors blue, purple, yellow, orange, pink, and lime green. Most of the students had read material that was handed out to them by their professors two weeks prior to the event.

Each group was presented with questions about climate and ethics. The students discussed amongst themselves and their professors what one might do in ethical situations.

At the end of the discussion, one member from the group would present the ideas that were gathered to the entire classroom.

Stolze said, “This was an experiment and experiments are often a little bit messy and chaotic, but this experiment was great because we had 100 or so students, all participating and having a very important discussion about environmental ethics and climate change.

“Some of the discussion was greater than even some of the individual parts, you get this collective voice out of the discussion and we’re planning on this in the future.”

He continued, “We’ve never tried to have all of the philosophy classes meeting at a specific time gathered together in this setting[…] It gave me a lot of hope to see students talking about serious issues with one another, the faculty are helping stir the discussion and help the students give a voice to their concerns.”

Business administration major Daniel Mancia attended the event and found it interesting. He was one of the presenters from his group.

“It gave more perspective on the environment. The handout that was given during the class two weeks ago helped here concerning the environment. Without reading the article this wouldn’t have made much sense,” he said.

What he got out of the event was, “We can do more to [fight climate change], but we need to convince a lot more people. Like some people were saying that there is some deniers [out there] and we have to find a way to convince.

“Even though we present facts, people will ignore it. We have to convince in a way that affects them personally. That’s something specific here, we have to find a way to convince people without braiding them with facts and science.”

The second event was more of a lecture. Eighteen people showed up including professors.

The lecture was on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protest surrounding it.

The lecture was given by Stolze. The lecture contained a video from Amy Goodman, Democracy Now’s host and executive producer and her coverage of the protest.

Stephanie Islas who is majoring in biology attended the lecture to obtain extra credit, but expressed that extra credit wasn’t the only thing that she got out of it.

She said, “I was unaware of the Dakota pipeline situation and its protest. That was very interesting. What’s funny is that the media show so many unnecessary problems especially in pop culture.

“And I feel that these types of situations and problems need to be broadcasted to the people to be aware.”

She added, “I think that a lot of people think that these conferences are boring but in reality they’re not. They are informative and I suggest people coming in and learning more about the actual problems going on.”