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Earth Day founder to speak at environmental conference at UIS

October 14, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - Denis Hayes, whom many consider the father of modern environmentalism, will be the keynote speaker for Our Living World: The Challenge of Our Time, a conference sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois. The event will  be held Thursday, October 28, in the Public Affairs Center at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Designed for high school and college students, teachers, business and governmental professionals, activists, and concerned citizens, the conference will address statewide issues such as wetlands and river restoration, and sustainable agriculture, as well as international issues such as the declining health of the coral reefs and oceans, and the decline of key species caused by overfishing. Various interactive exhibits will emphasize what individuals can do to improve the environment.

The daytime session, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will begin with an address by Hayes on “Saving the Earth: What We Can Do Working Together,” followed by sessions on Illinois environmental problems and projects. The afternoon program will focus on six international environmental problems. A second address by Hayes at 7:30 p.m. will examine “Thirty-Five Years after Earth Day: How Are We Doing?”

In 1970, Hayes was national coordinator of the first Earth Day, often credited with launching the modern environmental movement. He subsequently served as international chair of International Earth Day, celebrated in 141 countries. Trained as an environmental lawyer, Hayes headed the federal Solar Energy Research Institute during the Carter administration. He has taught engineering at Stanford University and is currently president and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, a $100 million environmental organization based in Seattle. He has been honored by a number of organizations, including the Sierra Club, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility.  Look magazine selected him as one of the 2000 most influential Americans of the 20th century and, in a similar list, the National Audubon Society named him one of the 100 most important conservation figures.

Sponsoring the conference in cooperation with the World Affairs Council are the UIS Biology, Environmental Studies, and Political Studies academic programs, and the College of Public Affairs and Administration at UIS.

The entire program is free and open to the public; however, a $10 buffet luncheon will be available for those who register before October 22. Send luncheon reservation requests to: WACCI, Box 2233, Springfield, IL 62705.

For more information, contact Roy Wehrle at (217) 546-0799.


    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.