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MIT to host opening session in Civic Environmentalism series

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A series of six roundtable discussions, "Civic Environmentalism: Democratic Pathways to Sustainability," will be convened by faculty from the Environmental Policy Group at MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

The first of these pioneering sessions, titled, "What Is Civic Environmentalism and Why Does It Matter?" will take place at MIT on Tuesday, February 13, in the Stella Room, 7-338.

"'Civic environmental' projects are redefining both environmentalism and environmental protection itself," said William Shutkin, a lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, an adjunct professor at Boston College Law School, president of New Ecology, Inc., and author of The Land That Could Be: Environmentalism and Democracy in the 21st Century. Mr. Shutkin is an organizer of the roundtable series.

Each session in the series will feature a presentation by a scholar or practitioner whose work has contributed to the discourse of civic environmentalism. The presentation will be followed by comments from a discussant, and will then be opened up for a broader discussion among all the participants.

"We hope the series not only raises awareness among a larger public about new approaches to environmental protection, but creates new opportunities for collaboration on research and on-the-ground projects that advance civic environmental goals like community participation and green development," Mr. Shutkin said.

The session at MIT will include Mr. Shutkin and DeWitt John, director and senior lecturer in the Environmental Studies Program at Bowdoin College and author of Civic Environmentalism: Alternatives to Regulation in States and Communities.

Upcoming sessions include, "Civic Environmentalism and the Pursuit of Sustainable Communities," to be held at Tufts on February 27; "The Social and Intellectual Underpinnings of Civic Environmentalism," to be held at MIT on March 13; "A Look at Local and Regional Projects," to be held at Harvard on April 3; "Innovations in Policy and Regulation," also to be held at Harvard, on April 24, and "Moving Forward -- Funder Perspectives," to be held at MIT on May 8.

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