Students in Environmental Ethics Class Visit with Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Hawai‘i

env ethics class meeting with sierra club exec dir

Executive Director Marti Townsend, Esq., met with students in the PHIL 3651 course of Associate Professor of Philosophy and Humanities Matthew LoPresti, Ph.D., to discuss the various advocacy initiatives of the organization. Each of the students was able to ask numerous questions during the visit and came away impressed with the variety of opportunities and depth of knowledge one is able to employ in doing lobbying work on behalf of other species, ecosystems, cultural sites, and waterways. This opportunity to see where theory meets practice helped students see firsthand several practical applications of a humanities-based education. Understanding and debating the moral theories and philosophies that inform proposed changes in law lead them to a richer engagement with ongoing environmental issues in Hawai‘i and across the Pacific.  

With 3.5 million members and supporters, the Sierra Club has repeatedly demonstrated  a successful leadership role among environmental groups when it comes to applying environmental ethics to creating new laws and influencing policy decisions at all levels of government, and HPU courses in the interdisciplinary humanities continue to find new ways to demonstrate to students in their courses the myriad practical applications of a liberal arts education in areas like philosophy, humanities, and the arts. 

In a few weeks the class will be escorted by the Hawai‘i State Department of Land and Natural Resources on a hike with controlled government access to the highest peak on Oahu, Mt. Ka'ala, where the students will visit an ancient Hawaiian rain forest on its fog-bound plateau to see what Hawai‘i looked like before humans.