The Environment and Behavior Seminar at Illinois

Information about the E&B Study Group for Fall Semester 2010.

First things first: congratulations to Sarah and Bill on the publication of their new book, "The Context of the Environmental Ethic," now in press and available soon. Second, congratulations to all of you as this is the E&B Group's first "baby" since it grew out of the work they began through our meetings. They discuss how local environmental conditions affect the willingness of citizens to adopt environmentally friendly behaviors, to become activists on environmental questions. In my own opinion, this is an important book, and it reflects what this group is for.

Also of note: three more of our participants now are finishing up work on a book based on ideas that grew out of our discussions. What better commercial could there be?

Organizing the group has come back to me this semester, and I hope to re-energize and reinvigorate our group with more regular meetings, more outside speakers, and more student participation.  I also hope to bring back the interdisciplinary character with which the group was started, and to that end I have invited more faculty and students representing more departments and intellectual traditions than ever before.   

To refresh: we meet alternate Tuesdays at 7:00 pm with no specific ending time; although we aim to end about 9:00 pm, I am perfectly content to go longer when we are being productive.  Our first few meetings will be at my house, but as I now live so far from campus I expect we will change that.  We have a smaller budget this semester, and most of it will be spent on the outside speakers and fellowships for the graduate student participants, so food and drink will be up to us.  I propose that the burden of food and drink fall to the faculty, and that we each bring enough to share with about a dozen participants. 

If you should have a special interest, wish to request other/additional speakers, etc, please feel free to let me know. Although I have organized seven meetings over the term, I am willing to add more dates or change dates if you wish. In keeping with our informal style, we can be free to change topics, organization, and meeting places/dates/times as necessary. 

This semester the outside speakers will include:

           Robert May, Oxford, "Dynamic Models of Environmental Niche Survival"..................August 28
           Debra Knopman, Progressive Policy Institute, "Civic Environmentalism"..................September 12
           David Andreson, Yale, "Designs for an Engaged Neighborhood".................................September  25 (tent)

Other weeks we will have presentations by student and faculty participants in the workgroup and we will attempt to organize some collective projects for the group and subgroups.  Students should feel free to volunteer even if (especially if) you are at the beginning stages of inquiry. Faculty interested in submitting a "critical research initiatives" proposal with me should email me as soon as possible. I am proposing a project that examines the civic consequences of "sprawl" in small cities like Bloomington, Iowa City, and Champaign-Urbana.

See our     for information on the full schedule; you can even subscribe.

If you have suggestions, wish to present your own ideas, or have other thoughts about our grouip,  please do not hesitate to email me (at and I will get back to you as soon as possible.