Eagles For Liberty hosting a speaker event
Eagles For Liberty, a student organization that promotes the ideals of individual liberty, will be hosting a speaker event 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 in Sugden Hall, room 110.
Guest speaker Wendy Purnell, the director of outreach at the Property and Environment Research Center, will discuss conservation and environmental sustainability without the intervention of government.
“The first step in the planning process was figuring out what kinds of topics or issues would appeal to the general student population at FGCU,” said Lynanne Lowry, the vice president of the club. “Since we’re an environmentally-friendly university built on a preserve, the environment was an obvious choice that would be of interest to students.”
E4L wasn’t planning on the typical spiel on the environment, however. Because the club is a pro-liberty organization, officers wanted to spice things up by telling event-goers about the current state of the environment from their perspective. After choosing the topic of free-market environmentalism for their event, they worked with Purnell to develop the format and details of the event.
To put this event together, E4L partnered with the Institute for Humane Studies, an organization, founded at George Mason University, which encourages students to unleash their full potential through the power of freedom.
“IHS decided to help pro-liberty student organizations by hosting speakers on their campuses,” Lowry said. “So, I applied for their speaker series and asked for a speaker on free-market environmentalism, preferably one from a libertarian-leaning think tank or nonprofit organization.”
From there, IHS reached out to PERC and Purnell. After Purnell had been confirmed as speaker for the event, Lowry became the main point of contact to cement all of the details of the event.
Lowry has worked with IHS on several different occasions. She has attended its summer seminars in 2014 and 2015 and has attended conferences it has been involved with, including two that were held at its main office Arlington, Virginia.
“As always, IHS was attentive to everyone’s needs, whether it be mine, Eagles for Liberty’s, Wendy Purnell’s or even the student population here at FGCU,” Lowry said. “They are an excellent organization to work with and have always been very engaged with the student liberty movement, providing resources of all kinds.”
Alejandro Oquendo, a junior communication major, will be attending the event. He has previously been involved in many environmental organizations on campus and has participated in several environmental protests and rallies from Tampa to Washington, D.C.
“I’m here to listen to another side of the environmental debate,” Oquendo said. “I am skeptical of the speaker’s topic; however, I hope to have my political views either challenged and maybe even changed at the end of the talk.”
Purnell has been working with PERC since 2014. However, she has been promoting the organization’s ideas for years, while working with non-governmental organzations dedicated to conservation and developing programs that use market-based approaches to protect endangered species and restore habitat. She has received recognition from National Geographic as well as the Clinton Global Initiative for her efforts.
PERC was founded 35 years ago and serves as the country’s first and largest institute dedicated to improving environmental quality through property rights and markets.
The event will include light refreshments as well as a Q&A session and discussion following the presentation. Lowry believes it will shed some light on an often-
unexplored side of environmentalism.
“It’s not the classic left-wing take on the environment, nor is it a conservative approach to the topic,” Lowry said. “Instead, this event allows both students and members of the community alike to examine the ideas of environmental sustainability, going green and other such concepts in a less common perspective that eschews governmental intervention, instead promoting free-market environmentalism as an alternative solution.” According to Lowry, whether you have strong beliefs on what steps should be taken in regard to the environment or other issues, she thinks that it’s vitally important to examine and understand the arguments for different or opposing approaches.
“I think challenging your own beliefs and assumptions should occur throughout your lifetime,” Lowry said. “It’s especially important to do when you’re in college.”
Alesa Whitehead, a senior economics major, will also be attending the event.
“I’m attending, aside from already being a liberty-minded student, because I appreciate nature and wish that everyone would have a drive to be an environmental steward,” Whitehead said. “Unfortunately, the only solutions that get media attention are government regulation and taxation, and I think that we need more private sector options to incentivize innovation and greener choices. I hope to hear of some good solutions to supplement or replace the preexisting regulatory structure.”