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Sanibel launch of prestigious publication coincides with island visit of global scholars in popular annual events

By Staff | Feb 5, 2009

After a debut at the prestigious Miami Book Fair, “A Voice for Earth: American Writers Respond to the Earth Charter” is the focus of a talk at the Sanibel Island Book Shop this Saturday, Feb. 7 beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Edited by Sanibel resident Peter Blaze Corcoran and A. James Wohlpart, this thoughtful and inspiring publication includes essays by some of North America’s – and the Americas’ – leaders in the fields of sustainability, ethics and environmental literature.

Professor of Environmental Studies and Environmental Education at Florida Gulf Coast University, as well as Director of the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, at FGCU, Corcoran will read from select writings in the book talk, along with Wohlpart, Associate Dean of FGCU’s College of Arts and Sciences and Senior Advisor with the Center.

“A Voice for Earth” includes essays by luminaries such as Steven C. Rockefeller, Terry Tempest Williams, Alison Hawthorne Deming and Mary Evelyn Tucker.

Rockefeller and Tucker, as well as leading environmental writer, David W. Orr, will speak at Sanibel’s St. Michael and All Angels Church on Friday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Panel, the Center’s annual signature event. The Panel also features Mirian Vilela, Director of the international Earth Charter Initiative, at University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The book is a collection of writings addressing some of society and Earth’s most pressing issues, via an exploration of the international Earth Charter Initiative. Corcoran and Wohlpart write in the book’s Introduction, “A Voice for Earth: American Writers Respond to the Earth Charter” offers a literary language that seeks to bring to life the concepts in the Earth Charter, with a richness of interpretation and possibility.

According to 2008 National Book Award winner Peter Matthiessen, “The Earth Charter, arising from and inspired by the interconnectedness of all elements of our existence, is an urgent and essential concept in these times – indispensable, in fact, if ‘our land and life,’ as the Hopi call it, is to survive. A Voice for Earth is a wonderful compilation of responses to the challenges the Charter represents and extremely valuable on that account.”

Renowned author and past Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecturer Terry Tempest Williams, who penned the book’s Foreword, refers to the work as, “A collective call for a change of heart that will carry us forward.”

Islanders will also be interested in the Center’s popular annual Fundraising Celebration, taking place on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Sanibel home of Mallory and Peter Haffenreffer. Invitations are available by contacting Corcoran at 239-590-7166.

In addition to the Sanibel Panel Lecture, Earth Charter scholars from around the world will participate in a week-long residence on Sanibel Island. The seven scholars will also speak on the campus of FGCU in a Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Panel on Friday, Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. in Academic Building 5. Both Lecture Panels are free and open to the public.

This series of events marks the Fifth Anniversary Celebrations of the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education. The Center works toward realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for Earth through scholarship, education and action.

The Earth Charter is a blueprint for creating a sustainable and peaceful future; it is also a global movement led by some of the world’s most respected and inspiring figures, such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Wangari Maathai.

For more information about the Center and its activities, visit www.fgcu.edu/cese