About the conference
The Galileo's Legacy Conference series was initiated during the 2005–2006 academic year as a joint project of faculty from two Western academic departments, Biology and History, Philosophy & Geography.
Past conferences have focused on the evolution–intelligent design debate, climate change and global warming, the possible implications of recent research in the neurosciences for our understanding of the traditional notion of free will, Darwin's legacy for contemporary psychology and theories of
"race," and economic sustainability.
The Spring 2012 conference theme, "Environmental Restoration: Benefits and Challenges," brings to campus four individuals with significant professional experience in identifying the benefits and challenges of environmental restoration, which might be broadly defined as the deliberate attempt to speed recovery of damaged areas of the earth's surface that have been significantly altered in the period since the hunter-gatherer stage of human development.
Conference events are free and open to the general public; no registration is required. For further information send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Western Institute at 816-271-4100.
|Thursday, Feb. 23,
"The Death of Restoration? The Problem of Climate
Change and Ecosystem Management"
2:15 p.m., Kemper Recital Hall (Leah Spratt Hall 101)
Peter Skidmore and Steve Fischer
"The Missouri River: Past and Future"
7:30 p.m., Kemper Recital Hall (Leah Spratt Hall 101)
|Friday, Feb. 24,
"A River Speaks: The Ganga's Journey from Transformation to
Restoration in India"
Kemper Recital Hall (Leah Spratt Hall 101) [map]
|Presenters for the 2012
Andrew Light is Director of the Center of Global Ethics and
Associate Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public
Policy at George Mason University. He is also a Senior Fellow
and Director of International Climate Policy at the Center for
American Progress, a Washington D.C.-based think tank with
close ties to the Obama administration.
Light is the author, co-author, or editor of no fewer than
seventeen books, including Environmental Values (Routledge,
2008); Philosophy and Design: From Engineering to
Architecture (Springer, 2008); Controlling Technology:
Contemporary Issues (Prometheus Books, 2005); Moral and
Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice (MIT Press,
2003); Technology and the Good Life? (University of
Chicago Press, 2000); and Environmental Pragmatism (Routledge,
1996). He is also the co-editor of the journal Ethics, Policy
& Environment. As a leader in the environmental pragmatism
movement, Light has authored or co-authored over seventy-five
articles and book chapters, including "The Politics of
Ecological Restoration" (available online), "Ecological
Restoration: From Functional Descriptions to Normative
Prescriptions," "Restoration, the Value of Participation, and
the Risks of Professionalization," and "Ecological Restoration
and the Culture of Nature: A Pragmatic Perspective," which first
appeared in the anthology Restoring Nature: Perspectives from
the Social Sciences and Humanities (Island Press, 2000) and
has been widely republished.
Light's doctoral work was done at the University of California
at Riverside and UCLA in philosophy; he subsequently completed a
three-year postdoctoral fellowship in environmental risk
assessment in the School of Medicine at the University of
Alberta, Canada. He previously held positions at the University
of Montana, SUNY Binghamton, New York University, and the
University of Washington, Seattle.
is the recipient of many awards, including, most recently, the
National Science Foundation Ethics Education Award.
Peter Skidmore is the Principal of Skidmore Restoration
Consulting, LLC, in Bozeman, Montana, which provides planning,
review, guidance, and facilitation services in river and
watershed conservation, restoration, and stewardship.
Skidmore has seventeen years of professional experience
including organization directorships, conservation program
development, and extensive project management. His broad
expertise and deep involvement in the river conservation and
restoration field is characterized by presentations,
publications, and training workshops that merge practical
on-the-ground experience with knowledge of emerging strategies
and technologies. He has managed projects throughout the U.S.
and internationally, ranging from habitat enhancement on small
streams to multi-million dollar Superfund reclamation and
regional conservation plans.
Skidmore received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology (with
honors) from Macalester College and a Masters in Earth Sciences
from Montana State University. He currently serves on the Board
of Directors of River Restoration Northwest, a nonprofit
established to advance the science and standards of practice for
river restoration, and he is the Chair of the Board of the
Greater Gallatin Watershed Council, a local watershed group.
more information go to
Steve Fischer currently serves as Senior Program Manager for
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Missouri River
Recovery Program. The program was developed in response to a
2003 Biological Opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service that requires the Corps to protect three threatened
and endangered species that depend upon the Missouri River
while continuing to operate the river for all eight of its
authorized purposes: flood control, irrigation, water
supply, recreation, navigation, hydropower, water quality,
and fish and wildlife. Working collaboratively with state
and federal agencies, Tribes, and basin stakeholders, the
project includes a substantial environmental mitigation
project for the navigation channel from Sioux City, Iowa to
St. Louis, Missouri.
Fischer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Water
Resources from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point and
a Masters degree in Fisheries from Louisiana State
University. He previously served as the Environmental
Section Chief for the USACE–Kansas City District.
For more information on the Missouri River Recovery Program,
Vandana Asthana is associate professor of government at
Eastern Washington University. She is a founding member of
the IC Centre for Governance, New Delhi, and the founder
General Secretary and a member of the Advisory Panel of
Eco-Friends, an NGO that works on water issues in India; she
is currently also a board member of the South Asian Studies
Association, a California-based nonprofit public corporation
that works to connect South Asian scholars from all parts of
the world through conferences, discussion panels, and the
Brown Bag Radio broadcast.
Asthana's research centers on South Asian security with a
focus on nontraditional threats and human security,
including especially water, environment, and development. In
addition to publishing many articles in various journals and
contributing chapters to edited volumes, her book-length
publications include: Water Policy Processes in India:
Discourses of Power and Resistance (Routledge, 2009),
India's Foreign Policy and Subcontinental Politics (Kanishka
Publishers, 1999), Theory of International Politics (Vikas
Publishing, 1996), The Politics of Environment, A Profile
(Ashish Publishing, 1992), and two edited volumes,
Security in South Asia: Trends and Directions (Ashish
Publications, 2004) and Advances in Environmental
Biopollution (A.P.H. Publishing, 1999). She has served
as a consultant to the Indian government on the water
security of India, worked with the Delhi Policy Group, and
participated in Ford Foundation projects in India and Sri
Lanka concerned with comprehensive and environmental
security. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled
Water Security in India: Hope and Despair.
Asthana holds doctorates in both political science (from
Kanpur University) and in natural resources and
environmental science (from the University of Illinois at
Urbana–Champaign); she previously chaired the department of
political science at Christ Church College, Kanpur, India.
Past conference presenters
- Michael Ruse (Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy,
Florida State University)
- Ursula Goodenough (Professor of Biology, Washington University
at Saint Louis)
- Paul Nelson (Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture)
- Claire Parkinson (Aqua Project Scientist, NASA Goddard Space
- Willie Soon (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
- John Nolt (Professor of Philosophy, University of Tennessee)
- Al Mele (William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of
Philosophy, Florida State University)
- Mark Hallett (Chief of the Human Motor Control Section at the
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National
Institutes of Health)
- Christopher Green (Professor of Psychology, York University)
- Gordon Burghardt (Alumni Distinguished Service Professor in the
Department of Psychology and the Department of Ecology and
Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee)
- Jonathan Kaplan (Assoc. Professor of Philosophy and Chair of
Philosophy, Oregon State University)
- Lisa Newton (Professor of Philosophy and Director of the
Programs in Applied Ethics and Environmental Studies, Fairfield
- Kenneth Deffeyes (Professor Emeritus of Geology, Princeton
- John Ikerd (Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics,
University of Missouri–Columbia)
- Anne Dhu McLucas (Professor of Music Emerita, University of Oregon)
- Mark Rollins (Professor of Philosophy, Washington University in St. Louis)
- Joseph Anderson (Professor of Mass Communication and Theatre Emeritus, University of Central Arkansas)
The 2012 Galileo's Legacy Conference is made possible with funds provided by the MWSU Foundation.