EARThS was established in 2011 by the late Dr. Gene Rosa and WSU sociology graduate students and faculty to promote a stronger community of academic and professional scholars interested in exploring the intersections of environment, agriculture, resources, technology and society. The group meets at least once a month throughout the academic term to discuss members’ ongoing research and provide thoughtful feedback. It now has faculty and graduate student members spanning the humanities, social sciences, and biophysical sciences at WSU. EARThS has also begun recruiting members and participants from nearby University of Idaho.
EARThS conducts a biannual mini-conference to showcase graduate student research from Washington State University and the University of Idaho. It had its first mini-conference on Earth Day, April 22, 2013. It related to the framework of the nine planetary boundaries with Dr. Richard York from the University of Oregon serving as the keynote speaker. University of Alberta sociologist and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Debra Davidson, served as the keynote speaker for the spring 2015 mini-conference titled, “The Anthropocene: Confronting Global Environmental Change and Hazardous Worlds.” The anthropocene refers to the contemporary context in which human activity is a defining agent of life-threatening global climate change and a potential solution for halting such change. A key problem in the anthropocene is the simultaneous proliferation of inorganic materials and their associated human and environmental health risks throughout the world.
The 2015 mini-conference gathered papers from graduate students in the humanities, social sciences, and biophysical sciences at Washington State University and the University of Idaho, which focused on case studies or cross-sectional analyses of (1) human activity contributing to climate change or environmental health risk production or (2) collective efforts that seek to address or adapt to such problems in local, regional, national, and/or international venues.