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HANGING TEN OUT FOR AFRICA: Aggies for Africa go barefoot on campus for a good cause. Click Arts&Life index for a link to story. / Photo by Christy Jensen

Today's word on journalism

Monday, October 8, 2007

Celebrating Columbus . . .

"1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them."

-- Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), author, from Breakfast of Champions

(NOTE: Strictly speaking, this Vonnegut quote doesn't have anything to do with journalism. I'll owe you one. On the other hand, Columbus didn't have anything to do with discovering America, either, strictly speaking.)


USU researcher among experts in DiCaprio's '11th Hour' documentary

August 1, 2007 | Utah State University researcher Joseph Tainter is among about 70 sustainability experts featured in Leonardo DiCaprio's upcoming eco-documentary, The 11th Hour.

Scheduled to open Aug. 31 in Salt Lake City, the film, which takes its title from the last moment change is possible, explores the current peril of the earth's ecosystems and how today's generations can impact life-sustaining changes.

A noted anthropologist and historian, Tainter joined USU as head of the department of environment and society in July. He authored the 1988 book The Collapse of Complex Societies, which examines the demise of several ancient civilizations and applies lessons from history to modern-day societies.

"Sustainability is a uniting theme of the book and my research," Tainter said. "What do members of a society value enough to work to sustain?"

Tainter learned first hand about conflict between human needs and environmental values during his 28-year tenure with the U.S. Forest Service, he said.

"Fundamental questions about resource management revolve around people's needs, perceptions and values," he said. "If we can't address human issues, we can't address natural resources issues. These are right at the heart of society and environment."

Prior to his current post, Tainter served as a professor and researcher with Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability. He previously served as project leader of Albuquerque's Cultural Heritage Research Project, Rocky Mountain Research Station and taught at the University of New Mexico.

The 11th Hour is scheduled for early release Aug. 17 in Los Angeles and New York. The film was produced and narrated by DiCaprio.


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