LSU geographer Craig Colten, the Carl O. Sauer Professor in the Department of Geography & Anthroplogy, has been invited to participate in a highly selective gathering of environmental historians in Brazil.
In November, Colten will meet with a distinguished international group of environmental historians from South America, Europe, Asia and North America in Florianopolis, Brazil. He will be a featured speaker at the Second International Workshop in History of the Environment: Environmental Disasters and Sustainability, where he will report on recovery in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina.
One of the primary goals of the gathering is to analyze the role of environmental history in the prevention and assistance of environmental disasters and in the construction of more sustainable solutions for regional and urban planning, as well as that of land occupation and use. The long-term perspective has much to offer hazards managers who often have to contend with disruptive events that occur infrequently, but demand perpetual preparations.
Colten received an invitation based on his extensive research and publications on the geography of historical hazards and human adaptations to challenging environments that mesh with the conference’s objectives. He is the author of two notable books on New Orleans, “An Unnatural Metropolis, published in 2005, and “Perilous Place, Powerful Storms,” published in 2009.
In addition, he has recently worked on a series of projects funded by the Community Resilience and Research Institute, which operated out of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Currently, he and his graduate students are involved in a five-year study focusing on the impacts and adjustment to oil releases in coastal Louisiana funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Colten and a small group of scholars will participate in the workshop, conduct meetings with local community groups to guide hazards management preparations, and tour areas of recent flooding in Brazil. Another one of the group’s duties will be to help define the mission of the incipient organization devoted to environmental history in Brazil, the Lusophone Society on History of Environment, Culture and Nature.