See You At The Summit

September, 2002

Media Rants By Tony Palmeri

What do Valley Scene readers have in common? For one thing, we are citizens looking for fresh and independent perspectives on local and global events. We also take advantage of the limited opportunities available in the Valley to attend talks by independent journalists, activists, and media ranters. One such opportunity is coming to UW Oshkosh September 21 - 28 in the form of an "Earth Charter Community Summit."

The Earth Charter is a statement of principles for building a just world in the 21st century. After the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, global activists began the process of creating a document that not only describes the elements of a peaceful world, but serves as a tool to mobilize action to get there. A copy of the Charter is at

This month Earth Charter Community Summits are being organized all over the world. In the United States, Oshkosh -- yes, Oshkosh --, joins Philadelphia; Portland, Maine; Chicago; Indianapolis; Honolulu; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; Seattle; Tampa; Minneapolis; Hartford, CN; Prescott, AZ; Mobile, AL; Northfield, VT; Boulder, CO; and Louisville, KY as a Summit site.

The Oshkosh Earth Charter Community Summit begins with a "GreenQuest" environmental fair from noon to 5:00 p.m. on September 21st. At the GreenQuest you can learn everything you ever wanted to know and more about sustainable principles and practices. Demonstrations and exhibits will involve recycled products, native plants, hybrid/electrical/solar power, organic foods, educational displays and more. If you would like a booth or display area at the Green Quest, contact Laura Rommelfanger at or (920) 424-0344.

GreenQuest and all Earth Charter events are free and open to the public. Mark these on your calendar:
Deborah Toler is a research and policy analyst for the Institute for Public Accuracy. She has written and spoken extensively on the impact of the IMF, World Bank, and World Trade Organization on global poverty and hunger. Dr. Toler will be the featured speaker at the Charter Summit's "Hunger Awareness Dinner" from 5 - 7 p.m. on Monday, September 23rd in UW Oshkosh Reeve Union 227C. Contact Greg Olsen at or (920) 424-2038 for more information about the Hunger Awareness Dinner.

Also on the 23rd, Sister Michelle Balek, North American Region Coordinator of Franciscans International, leads a Social and Economic Justice forum from 7:30 - 9 p.m. in Reeve Union 306. The Franciscans focus on three broad issue areas: "Care of Creation," "Concern for the Poor," and "Peacemaking."

On Tuesday, September 24th from 5 - 6:30 p.m. in Reeve Union 306, Deborah Toler joins author John Stauber in a discussion of "The Politics of Food Production." Stauber is Executive Director of the Center for Media & Democracy. With Sheldon Rampton he has written the muckraking classics Toxic Sludge Is Good For You, Mad Cow USA, and Trust US, We're Experts.

From 8 - 9:30 p.m. on the 24th in Reeve Union 306 will occur a forum on "Ecological Integrity." Featured speakers are Karen Bassler, Program Director for the Gathering Waters Conservancy; Dr. Curt Meine, Research Associate for the International Crane Foundation; and Rob Nelson, Education & Outreach Coordinator for the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

On Wednesday, September 25th Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug LaFollette joins Sister Michelle Balek and UW Oshkosh Student Environmental Action Coalition members Angela LeNoble and Mike Green for an "Earth Charter Teach-In." The event will be held from 4 - 5:15 p.m in Reeve Union 227 B and C.

At 7:30 p.m. on the 25th in Reeve 227B, Dr. John Hart of Carroll College in Montana will talk about international Earth Charter activities. Then at 9:00 p.m. in the same location singer/songrwriter and activist Dana Lyons will perform a set of consciousness raising tunes.

Thursday, September 26th features a "Democracy Forum" in Reeve Union 306 from 5 - 6:30 p.m. Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, John Nichols of the Madison Capital Times, and Dr. Martin Farrell of Ripon College will discuss the condition of democracy in our state and world.

From 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. on the 26th in Reeve 306 will be a forum on "Nonviolence and Peace." Barbara Hoffman and Donna Van Grinsven of the Fox Valley Fellowship of Reconciliation are joined at this event by UW Milwaukee Sociology Professor Lakshmi Bharadwaj and Bob Poeschl of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance.

Saturday, September 28th at 9:00 a.m. in Reeve 306 features Dr. Steven Picou of the University of South Alabama speaking about Exxon and the contamination of Prince William Sound by the Exxon Valdez. At 10:00 a.m. in the Reeve Union Theatre (3rd floor), attendees can interact with grassroots activists from all over the world at the Earth Charter Community Summit International Webcast. At 11:30 a.m. Dr. Bron Taylor, a leading figure in the creation of the UW Oshkosh Environmental Studies program will lay out a vision for future action.

The Earth Charter centers around 4 major principles: (1) Respect Earth and life in all its diversity; (2) Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love; (3) Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful; (4) Secure Earth's bounty and beauty for present and future generations. Since mainstream media cannot be counted on to provide regular and complete coverage of people and organizations striving to promote these principles, it is up to us as individual citizens to educate ourselves. I hope to see you at the Summit!

For more information, you can contact me ( or 920-424-4422), Dr. Andrew Robson at or (920) 424-1185 or on the web:

Tony Palmeri is an associate professor of communication at UW Oshkosh and co-host of Commentary, a campus public affairs program.

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