Associate Professor returns from fellowship in Honolulu

Marietta College's Dr. Eric J. Fitch, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Leadership and Director of the Environmental Science Program, recently returned to campus following a productive summer.

Fitch arrived back in Marietta as the fall semester began from a seven-week visiting fellowship at the East-West Center in Honolulu. The EWC is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. The Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous, and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education, and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States.

Fitch spent his time there researching the negative impacts on island and low lying coastal nations in the Pacific Rim from the converging crises of global fossil fuel depletion, climate change and sea level rise and their interrelationships. He conducted a seminar for the Research Program and for invited faculty from the University of Hawaii-Manoa and other universities. He anticipates his research being published in the Asia Pacific Bulletin some time this academic year.

Prior to heading to the Pacific, Fitch also made presentations at two conferences; the National Environmental Studies and Sciences Summit at Arkansas State University. The meeting was held May 22-24 and he presented "Archipelagoes of Environment: Concept Mapping the Evolution of Environmental: Academics and Professional Associations, and a Modest Proposal for the Future of Both." He chaired a session on the role of Environmental Science and Studies programs in community outreach.

Fitch also attended the 14th International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Environmental Association of whom Fitch is the current Vice President. The meeting was held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada from June 30 to July 3. Along with serving as moderator and discussant for several panels, Fitch made two presentations: "Interlocking Crises: Water, Energy, Food, Soil" and "Whither Refuge? Sea Level Rise, the Coastal Margin and Environmental Refugeeism."

In addition to these activities, Fitch continued to serve as a Reader for the Educational Testing Service (ETS) of the AP Environmental Science exam. He spent June 1-9 in Lincoln, Neb., with high school and college environmental science educators from across the U.S. evaluating exam answers.