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BP oil spill on their minds

Gene Theodori had no idea that the worst oil disaster in U. S. history would be taking place at this time when he began planning a 2010 symposium on social issues and resource management two years ago.

However, that, and similar issues affecting society and the environment will be the major topic of discussion during the 16th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management June 6-10 in Corpus Christi at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel.

Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas is the host of this year's symposium "Tyranny of 'Or': Conservation or Development? Preservation or Utilization?"

The symposium is the official annual meeting of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources. Last year's meeting was in Vienna, Austria and next year's meeting is tentatively scheduled to be in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

"It's coincidental that the British Petroleum incident is going on at this time," said Theodori, a sociology professor at SHSU and organizer of the symposium.

"When I inquired about hosting the meeting on behalf of the university two years ago, my goal then, as it is now, was to provide an opportunity for the energy industry and environmentalists to come together and engage in a mature discussion about energy development and natural resource issues," he said.

Since its inception in 1986, the symposium has become the premier interdisciplinary scientific meeting for academic researchers, government personnel, land managers, non-governmental organization representatives, students and others who are interested in the human dimensions of natural resources and the environment.

However, according to Theodori, the last 15 meetings rarely had anyone representing the energy sector.

This year's meeting will be different.

"Monday will be 'Energy Day,'" said Theodori. "On that day, numerous research papers focused on energy-related issues will be presented during the morning concurrent sessions. A plenary session will focus solely on energy issues, and that afternoon there will be a workshop on eco-friendly drilling in sensitive areas."

Among other issues that will be addressed during the conference are the growth of tourism, psychological responses to natural landscapes, environmental education and conflict management in public interests.

Keynote speakers for the symposium include former director of the U. S. Bureau of the Census Steve Murdock, now at Rice University; Tom Geehan, corporate director of technology for the Environmental Solution Technology group within MISWACO, a joint venture company between Schlumberger and Smith International; David E. Holt, president of Consumer Energy Alliance; Carey King, a research associate at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin; Stephen R. Kellert of Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; and Allen Rasmussen of Texas A&M University-Kingsville, who has a research appointment with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute.


Contact: Gene Theodori
Sam Houston State University

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