We are grateful for the Steen Family’s generous contribution to fund this annual symposium, which brings informed speakers who challenge current thinking and propose healthy change to the PLU campus for the purpose of contributing to educate for “lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care — for other people, for their communities and for the Earth.” The symposium shares PLU’s and the Environmental Studies Program’s commitment to thinking about environmental issues from intersectional perspectives that bring into focus the connection between the health of the environment and the health of the communities and people who inhabit these.
The 2023 theme of the Symposium and Earth and Diversity Week, Sowing Resilience in Fractured Land, invites us to examine the wide-ranging and long term impact that the violence of natural resource extraction has on ecosystems, communities, and individuals. Following the Symposium’s commitment to proposing healthy change, this year’s speakers share alternative ways of living and coexisting on fractured lands and watersheds. Their work models how creativity, tradition, ingenuity, and laborious community-based work can provide a path toward resilience at the local, regional, and social scale.
Taylor Brorby is the author of Boys and Oil: Growing up gay in a fractured land (2022), Crude: Poems, Coming Alive: Action and Civil Disobedience (2017), and co-editor of Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America (2016). The Earth Day lecture draws on his most recent work, a protest memoir where Brorby bridges daydreams and nightmares: the gentle stirrings of the prairie and the violence of the oil and gas industry. Through the lens of his experience as a gay man growing up on fractured land, he explores how character and identity are shaped by the landscapes that raise us.