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Because It’s There: The Alpine Route to Environmentalism

Climbers are seldom celebrated as environmental thinkers, but there is a long list of environmental leaders who discovered their calling in the mountains. This green Mount Rushmore might include John Muir, David Brower and Yvon Chouinard. Jeff McCarthy’s talk will start by celebrating the connection between climbing and American environmentalism, and go on to ask if that connection emerges from an interchange between the climber's physical body and nature's physical presence. McCarthy’s ideas challenge our culture’s given understanding of nature as an inert backdrop to human activity. Instead, his research gives an active role to the natural world. The payoff is a reconsideration of the way our bodies interact with the substances that surrounds us. This talk celebrates climbing and inquiries into humanity’s material partnership with a material world.