November’s etcetera: “Do Animal Have Rights?”

November 12, 2013 in slideshow, Uncategorized

Well, November’s Etcetera is fast approaching!  If you were not able to join us last month, we have a new location (CoWharf, on the second floor of 140 East Front Street – where the magic shop used to be)*, and a new night of the week this month (because of Thanksgiving we are meeting on Thursday, November 21), and a new time (7:30 – or main speaker has to drive to get here).  However, the after-party discussion remains the same, as does the format (a topical presentation followed by Q &A), goals and vision of etcetera:

   Etcetera is street level philosophy group, motivated by Socrates’ maxim:  “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  Our goal is to create a forum of honest inquiry, informed discourse,  and reasonable presentations of even the most volatile of issues.  Our ultimate goal is to bring moral and/or philosophical clarity to our culture, our world, and our very existence.

This month, Prof. David Favre will be addressing the topic of “Animal Rights.” Prior to joining the Law College faculty in 1976, Professor Favre was a practicing attorney in Virginia. He has written several articles and books dealing with animal issues including such topics as animal cruelty, wildlife law, the use of animals for scientific research, and international control of animal trade. His books include Animal Law and Dog Behavior, Animal Law: Welfare, Interest, and Rights, and International Trade in Endangered Species. He also has presented to international audiences on these topics. He is a national officer of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and of the ABA Committee on Animal Law. He served as interim dean of the Law College from 1993 to 1996 and from 1999 to 2000. He teaches Property, International Environmental Law, Wildlife Law, and Animal Law.  He is also the Editor-in-Chief at theAnimal Legal & Historical Center, a project of the Michigan State University College of Law. (

In addition, Kim Bindschatel will be showing a clip from Earthlings, a 2005 documentary film about humanity’s use of animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and for scientific research as an introduction to the optic

See you at CoWharf on Thursday, November 21, at 7:300!

* The CoWharf was envisioned by the Traverse Area Coworking Enthusiasts Group and founded by Kirsten and Bradley Matson in 2012

Etcetera Update: September, 2013

September 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Well, it was another delightful summer in Traverse City, and as fall cools us down our plans for etcetera are heating up!

Unfortunately, that warming process is slower than anticipated. Etcetera will be taking one more month off before starting again. After a good run, the Good Work Collective recently closed its doors. This means, of course, that we are looking for a new venue. A couple ideas are in the works, but since nothing is confirmed I want to wait another month before our next meeting.
In October and November  we are planning to focus on economic justice and animal rights, so we will have two good topics when we get rolling again.
See you in October!

July and August Schedule

July 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

Pass the word: there will be no etcetera meetings in July and August due to awesome weather, amazing local festivals, and general summer craziness. Back on board in September!

June 27: Embracing Invasive Species?

June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

You may not yet have heard about an ongoing debate on how to best take care of northwest Michigan’s wild, scenic places. Whereas some gauge the quality of an ecosystem by how many natives are present and how many invasives are not, others say “native to when?” and believe exotic plants can often outperform natives in building biodiversity and ecosystem health. Often we find the answers are never as simple as “invasives bad,” “native’s good” so we’re exited to explore the nuances of this controversial topic and come to a deeper understanding of the issue, and the ecosystems we live within.

Join Etcetera’s  for a night of lively, but civil and nuanced conversation. Matthew Bertrand (Grand Traverse Conservation District and the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network), and Bruce Holland-Moritz (The Greenman LLC.) will each present their perspective, then Brad Kik (ISLAND) will moderate a discussion with the panelists and audience.

To get a taste of the subject matter, here’s a sampling of articles to check out…

Don’t Judge Species on Their Origins - “Specifically, policy and management decisions must take into account the positive effects of many invaders. During the 1990s, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared several species of introduced honeysuckles to be alien (harmful), and banned
their sale in more than 25 states. Ironically, from the 1960s to the 1980s, the USDA had introduced many of these same species in land reclamation projects, and to improve bird habitats. Recent data suggest that the agency’s initial instincts may have been appropriate. In Pennsylvania, more non-native honeysuckles mean more native bird species. Also the seed dispersal of native berry-producing plants is higher in places where non-native honeysuckles are most abundant.”

Invasive Species: Guilty Until Proven Innocent? - ”Science-based conservation cannot be about knee-jerk platitudes and simple views of good and evil. Policy experts and conservationists who have been working hard to control invasive species should not discourage arguments about invasive species — the fact is we cannot control all invasive species, and in many cases, yesterday’s invaders have become plants and animals that are beloved by local people. The concept of “nativeness” did not even really appear in the literature until the mid-19th century, the construct of the British botanists John Henslow and (later) Hewitt (H.C.) Watson.”

Chalker-Scott on Natives and Introductions – “So let’s starting with definition of “native”.  According to Linda, that here-before-the-Europeans thing isn’t as clear-cut as we think.  For example, the Ginkgo biloba is considered an Asian plant, yet its fossils can be found in Washington State, where it grew millions of years ago.  Concludes the good hort doctor: “Defining a plant as native based on what existed in a landscape before European immigration ignores the influence that earlier human cultures, animals, natural forces, and natural selection have on plant introductions and distribution.”  And ” This is not a rational approach to understanding the dynamic character of landscapes either in natural or urban areas.”"

Native and Non-native Species: How Much Attention Should Managers Be Paying to Origins? – (Conservation Science Webinar Series Recording)

Put aside your fixed notions about natives, invasives and exotics, and learn new ways of preserving, conserving, restoring and regenerating the ecology of the places we love. You may never look at autumn olive the same way again.