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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Choices and Challenges Forum to discuss next century's environment

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 23 - March 13, 1997

Predictions vary about the condition the earth's environment will be in by the middle of the next century, but even the most optimistic of these raise serious concerns.

"Without doubt, we face a major challenge in striving to safeguard the planet's ecological health while meeting the needs of a human population estimated nearly to double by the year 2050," said Chris Hayes-Dove, coordinator of the Choices and Challenges project at Virginia Tech.

The Choices and Challenges project will present "Quality of Life in the Global Environment: Preparing for the Next Century" Thursday, April 3. The public forum will offer social, political, economic, and ethical perspectives to inform people's thinking about ways the decisions we make now will affect life in the future. Support for the forum has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy, and Virginia Tech.

The forum will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center on the Virginia Tech campus. All programs are open to the university and regional communities at no charge. Registration is recommended, but not required.

The forum is divided into three parts: morning background sessions, a main session (12:30-3 p.m., auditorium), and concluding discussion sessions. Eminent presenters from the fields of environmental policy, journalism, ethics, cultural anthropology, and international development will speak.

Program brochures, which include a pre-registration form, can be obtained at many locations throughout the New River Valley or by calling the Donaldson Brown Center at 1-5182.

The Choices and Challenges project was developed in 1984 by Doris Zallen as a public outreach program to explore the social and ethical dimensions of science and technology. Topics covered range from genetic engineering to computer-network technologies to the use of environmental resources. The project offers unique programming that encourages dialogue among professional and lay members of the university and regional communities.

For more information, contact the Choices and Challenges project office at 156 Lane Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0227, by phone at 1-6476, or by e-mail at choices@vt.edu. Individuals also may visit the Choices and Challenges website (http://www.cis.vt.edu/choices&challenges).

Videotapes, audio tapes, and transcripts of many previous forums are available for community and classroom use, including the October 1996 forum "Quality of Life in the Global Environment: Sharing the Earth's Water Supply." This forum will also be broadcast on Blacksburg's WTOB, Channel 2, Wednesday, March 19, and April 9, 7-9:30 p.m.