Under Western Skies returns to Mount Royal University with a bang

Under Western Skies returns with a bang by Colin Brandt, October 4, 2012, mtroyal.ca
Back in Oct. 2010, Mount Royal took a lead role in interdisciplinary and community-minded environmental studies in Alberta and Western Canada, launching the inaugural Under Western Skies Conference (UWS).  Professor Mario Trono is the co-convener of the Under Western Skies conference. The Conference, which focuses on the western half of North America, was the largest in Mount Royal’s history, establishing a high-profile venue where scholars, artists, students and concerned citizens gathered to share ideas concerning all aspects of the environment. … Funded in part through a $50,000 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and working from the theme of “Under Western Skies 2: Environment, Community and Culture in North America”, this year’s focus is shifting beyond the West, recognizing the impact of environmental issues that ignore human-created borders.

Associate Professor, Robert Boschman, founder and co-convener of the Conference, is excited to see the results of this conference and is already planning for Under Western Skies 3 in 2014 with the help of an interdisciplinary team that includes a number of Mount Royal students. “This whole thing started in a conversation with a colleague over drinks four years ago,” says Boschman, shaking his head. “As people, ideas and money came on board, we were already planning this conference before the first one was done. “The eyes of the world are focused on what is being done here [Alberta]. It allows academics to share their work every two years and really take the temperature of the moment. With major funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and participation and supper from a number of stakeholders, I know that we are going to be able to deliver something really important every two years.”

“This is an opportunity to shine the light on individuals who are doing remarkable things. Among the other events I am participating in, I am particularly excited to chair a plenary panel featuring Peter von Tiesenhausen, who successfully claimed copyright over his land as an artwork, complicating attempts by multinational oil companies to purchase his property, and Jessica Ernst, who has fought the use of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas extraction and its effects on water systems.”

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