Global Hot Spots: DeWitt to discuss pope’s call to action and Global Wisconsin Idea

In his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis critiqued consumerism and irresponsible development, lamented environmental degradation and global warming, and called on all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action.”

Calvin B. DeWitt
Calvin B. DeWitt

Recently, Dr. Calvin B. DeWitt, an environmental scientist in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joined five other speakers, including the Vatican’s Cardinal Peter Turkson, at a symposium in Milan, Italy, to review responses and applications of Laudato Si’, which was released June 18, 2015.

DeWitt, professor emeritus of environmental studies, will kick off this year’s Global Hot Spots Lecture Series by sharing his insights in a talk titled Laudato Si’: The Global Wisconsin Idea and Papa Francesco’s invitation to all people on Earth to dialogueon care for our common home.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held Friday, September 18, at 1:30 at the Fluno Center, Howard Auditorium, 601 University Avenue, Madison.

The Global Hot Spots Lecture Series is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association, PLATO (Participatory Learning and Teaching Organization) and the UW-Madison International Division.

DeWitt has taught environmental science at UW–Madison for four decades and mentors students in wetlands science, conservation, land stewardship, and environmental ethics. His assignment since 1972 has been “to address the fragmentation of the disciplines” through development of an integrative program of teaching, research, and service directed at ecological integrity and sustainability, inspired by the Wisconsin Idea.

He has given major addresses on environmental stewardship at more than 100 North American colleges and universities and worldwide through travels to China, Korea, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Russia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Switzerland, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

His achievements include the National Wildlife Federation’s “Connie Award” for exceptional service to conservation; Friends of the United Nations Special Achievement Award for building an environmental institution, Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (1995), and Forest Steward Award from National Coalition on Creation Care, Washington, D.C. (2009).

For information about the Global Hot Spots series and to register for this event, go online to

– by Kerry G. Hill