Wilmington College’s 25th annual Westheimer Peace Symposium will tackle the theme, “Making Peace with the Environment,” during three days of programming that culminates Oct. 13 with climate activist Tim DeChristopher sharing the story of his brazen act of nonviolent, civil disobedience in protesting an oil and gas lease auction of land in Utah.
DeChristopher, founder of the environmental group Peaceful Uprising, will speak at 7:30 p.m. in Hugh G. Heiland Theatre. All symposium events are free of charge.
DeChristopher protested a 2008 federal auction of public land for oil and gas leasing by successfully bidding on 22,500 acres for $1.8 million with no intention of paying. He was taken into federal custody, charged and found guilty, and served nearly two years in prison.
The national attention gained by his actions led to a call for a higher degree of scrutiny of environmental and scientific review for future government auctions of public land leases. In fact, the Department of the Interior subsequently cancelled a number of leases
Associated activities range from films and speakers to an exhibit of judged art and, of all things, a scything demonstration.
The screening of the film “The Lorax” will open the symposium programming with a screening Oct. 10, at 1 p.m., in the McCoy Room of Kelly Center. Snacks and activities for children also will be featured. The 2012 film is presented in cooperation with No Child Left Indoors (Clinton County Green Alliance), Read & Seed (Grow Food, Grow Hope), WC’s Activities Programming Board, and Arcadia Learning Commons.
Wilmington Friends Meeting, 66 N. Mulberry St., will host Katherine Murray of Quaker Earthcare Witness speaking on eco-spirituality Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m.
On Oct. 13, the Peace Symposium will kick off with the film and subsequent discussion of “Terra Blight,” from 10 to 11:30 a.m., in Heiland Theatre. “Terra Blight” follows the lifecycle of computers from production through use to becoming a hazardous waste product.
Also, at 11:45 a.m., Andy Graybeal will present a demonstration on WC’s Collett Mall between Pyle Student Center and the Quaker Heritage Center.
The film “Promised Land — What’s Your Price?” will be shown at 1 p.m. in Heiland Theatre. The movie features Matt Damon and Frances McDormand visiting a town to gain drilling rights for a natural gas company. Discussion will follow on the film’s theme centered upon the controversial gas extraction process known as fracking.
A roundtable discussion with community environmental program leaders will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the McCoy Room of Kelly Center. Guests include Lori Williams with the No Child Left Indoors program, Mark Rembert or Taylor Stuckert of Energize Clinton County, and Pat Dewees of the Earth Quaker Action Team. Other guests have been tentatively scheduled.
An opening reception and awards presentation will be held for the “Making Peace with the Environment” exhibit, from 5-7 p.m., in Harcum Art Gallery. The show will feature works in various media by area artists highlighting relationships with the environment and natural world. Judging categories are high school, college, and professional.
Westheimer Peace Symposium will culminate with DeChristopher’s 7:30 p.m. presentation in Heiland Theatre.
Submitted by Randy Sarvis, Wilmington College director of public relations.