Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE – “Poverty, Energy, and the Environment” is the theme of the final mini-summit looking at various aspects of poverty to be held this semester at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Ready for the World, UT’s international and intercultural initiatives, has devoted this academic year to “Our World in Need” with a particular emphasis on the issue of poverty.

Two other mini-summits on poverty issues have been planned. The first — “Baldwin Lee, James Agee and Walker Evans: Photography, Poverty, Politics in the South and Abroad” — was held in February; a second mini-summit on Poverty and Health Care was held in March.

The “Poverty, Energy, and the Environment” mini-summit is being sponsored by Ready for the World, the Global Studies Interdisciplinary Program, UT Libraries and the Departments of Philosophy, Anthropology and Agricultural Economics.

Four events are planned as part of the “Poverty, Energy and the Environment” mini-summit. Free and open to the public, all of these events will be held in Hodges Library Auditorium:

April 7: Panel Discussion

The mini-summit kicks off at 7 p.m. on April 7 with a panel discussion on issues of poverty and environmental justice, focusing especially on issues such as coal extraction, the TVA ash spill and the impacts these events had on local communities. Panelists will include Cassie Watters, lead organizer and assistant director of the Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment (SOCM); Chris Irwin from United Mountain Defense; and Gregory Button, an assistant professor in UT’s Department of Anthropology.

April 14: Lecture

Anthony Oliver-Smith, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Florida, will speak at 7 p.m. on April 14 in Hodges Library Auditorium. His topic is “Questions We Need to Ask Ourselves about Climate Change, Poverty and Environmental Justice.”

Oliver-Smith held the Munich Foundation Chair on Social Vulnerability at the United Nations University Institute on Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany, for 2007-08. His research focuses on environmental justice implications of climate change, such as global climate change and sea level rise, social vulnerability and migration.

April 21: Documentary and Producer

The documentary “Coal Country: Rising Up Against Mountaintop Removal Mining” will be shown at 7 p.m. on April 21 at Hodges Library Auditorium. The movie’s producer, Mari-Lynn Evans, will introduce the film and speak about it. In addition to her work on her latest move, Evans was executive producer on the American Public Television series “The Appalachians: America’s First and Last Frontier,” which the New York Times called “an elegant film about a region and a people that are rarely examined beyond stereotypes.”

April 28: Panel Discussion

“Alternative Energy and the Future of Green Jobs” will be the topic of a panel discussion to be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on April 28.

Panelists will include Kim Jensen, UT professor of agricultural economics, and Gil Hough and J. P. Plumlee of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Jon Shefner (865-974-7022,