In February of this year, leading artists, activists, attorneys, biologists, climate scientists, conservationists, curators, historians, policy experts and writers convened at The University of New Mexico for “the last oil: a multispecies justice symposium on Arctic Alaska and beyond.”
The symposium was designed to bring climate change, Indigenous rights and environmental conservation concerns in Arctic Alaska into conversation with similar concerns in New Mexico and the west, and to bring attention to U.S. federal Arctic policy.
On Indigenous Peoples' Day, Oct. 8, organizers of “the last oil” will publish a student-centered symposium book, the last oil: students respond. Traditionally, symposium books include contributions by the speakers but this one stands apart. Other than a brief introduction by Subhankar Banerjee, professor of Art & Ecology at UNM and convener of the symposium, and short texts by Arif Khan and Traci Quinn of the UNM Art Museum, all contributions – textual and visual – were created by UNM students. The book was designed by Laura C. Carlson.
“With this modest publication,” Banerjee says, “we signal the need for and the significance of a new model of academic pedagogy for our time, signified by the climate and the extinction crises.”
Featuring a collection of engaging images and essays that were designed for students and teachers at the high school and university level, the book is available to download free of charge.
“Our aim is two-fold,” says Banerjee. “One, inspire young people to engage with environmental conservation and Indigenous rights, and two, change the model of academic pedagogy.”