Willson Center / EECP Odum Lecture

The Environmental Ethics Certificate Program (EECP) is a non-degree program offered as an enhancement to an undergraduate or graduate degree. The EECP provides an interdisciplinary forum for students, faculty, and the community to discuss social and scientific responsibilities toward our environment. Co-sponsored by the EECP and the WIllson Center, the Odum Environmental Ethics Lecture is hosted by Dorinda G. Dallmeyer, director of the EECP

Eugene Odum (1913-2002) was an influential University of Georgia instructor from 1940 until his retirement in 1984. He is considered to be the “Father of Modern Ecology” and was the author of the pioneering book Fundamentals of Ecology. Odum was instrumental in the creation of the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia, the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory near Aiken, S.C., and the Sapelo Island Marine Science Institute.

Eugene Odum

2016

David Haskell

David Haskell is an author and professor of biology at The University of the South. Among many other awards, Haskell’s book The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature won the 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies and was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

His visit to UGA was co-sponsored by the Willson Center, the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program, and the Integrative Conservation Ph.D. Program. Haskell’s lecture was the keynote for the Third Annual Symposium on Integrative Conservation.

The Odum Environmental Ethics Lecture is named for Eugene Odum (1913-2002), a UGA instructor from 1940 until his retirement in 1984. He has been called the “father of modern ecology” and was the author of the pioneering book Fundamentals of Ecology. Odum was instrumental in the creation of the Institute of Ecology at UGA, the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, and the Sapelo Island Marine Science Institute.

David Haskell

2015

Zygmunt Plater

Zygmunt Plater, professor of law at Boston College, gave the 2015 Odum Environmental Ethics Lecture, titled “The Snail Darter and the Dam: a very small endangered fish’s travels through the corridors of American power.” The event was co-sponsored by the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program and the Willson Center, with additional support from the Georgia Natural History Museum.

Plater’s latest book, The Snail Darter and the Dam: How Pork-Barrel Politics Endangered a Little Fish and Killed a River, was published by Yale University Press in 2013. It is his chronicle of a landmark case, Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill – better known as the “snail darter” case – which Plater argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978.

TVA v. Hill is often cited, especially by opponents to environmental regulations, as an example of overzealous enforcement of such policies – in this case, the Endangered Species Act. But the case involved numerous issues aside from the protection of the endangered fish by whose name it is known. Opposition to the construction of the Tellico Dam was also based on the project’s economic viability, as well as to the property rights of small farmers and other landowners.

The court ruled for the group of plaintiffs represented by Plater, but the dam was nonetheless completed the following year after the U.S. Congress passed an amendment to the Endangered Species Act, signed into law by President Jimmy Carter, granting the TVA an exception to the act’s provisions.

Zygmunt Plater