Development Versus Conservation: Can They Coexist?

Author and Furman University professor Angela Halfacre will give a public lecture at the College of Charleston on the challenges of protecting the quality of the environment in the Lowcountry while accommodating residential, commercial and industrial growth. The event will be held Friday, October 12, 2012 at noon in room 241 of the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building.

Since Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the coastal region of South Carolina has experienced unprecedented increases in residential and commercial development.  During the lecture, Halfacre, a former College of Charleston political science professor, will discuss topics in her book, “A Delicate Balance: Constructing a Conservation Culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry,” which shows how residents have sought to sustain and conserve the rapidly growing region’s distinctive sense of place.

“I think this lecture will lead to discussions about how this ‘conservation culture’ can move forward by drawing on the lessons of the past,” says Tim Callahan, director of the Graduate Program in Environmental Studies. “The debate about the expansion of I-526 comes to mind, and anyone who is interested in these types of issues will find this to be an important talk.”

The Lowcountry’s “conservation culture” is made up of those who make their living from the land, such as basket makers and farmers, as well as people who own, manage and develop the land, including city planners, environmental groups, community leaders and members of homeowners’ associations. Their distinct voices make the Lowcountry an important role model for conservation efforts across the nation. Halfacre did extensive interviewing of Lowcountry residents for her research, producing a diverse set of perspectives of how people put value in the land.

Halfacre will also discuss the role of students in her research, as she presents in her book information collected by the College’s environmental studies students while she was a member of the faculty here. Those who attend the lecture will be able to see how Halfacre and her students identified environmental and community problems and the pathways used to work toward achieving solutions.