Abram Discusses Environmental Consequences

Photo by Hope Patti

David Abram, an international lecturer who has spoken about cultural ecology, visited the Trustees Pavilion Tuesday to give a lecture on climate change as a consequence of failing to respect what we cannot see.

“Since we can’t see the air and atmosphere, is there a real consequence?” Abram asked the group at the event, sponsored by Ramapo College’s Krame Center for Contemplative Studies and Mindful Living and the department of Environmental Studies.

He went on to say that, while many people from older, more religious generations valued the quality of the air around them in a religious sense, current generations do not think of air as tangible. Instead they view it as an empty void to throw away their garbage in.

“Speech is nothing more than shaped breath,” he said.

Vowels are just sounds made by exhaling, Abram continued, drawing on experience from his own Hebrew culture to describe how the Hebrew language does not contain any vowels.

“That’s why everyone is fighting over what to believe at the dinner table,” he exclaimed. “No one wrote down the vowels!”

Abram also expressed his thoughts on technology and advancements such as Global Positioning Systems, or GPS.

“Our engagement with technology is adapted, without any pondering on the hard work it replaces.” Abram said, summing up his views.

GPS, he explained, makes traveling easy, when 100 years ago people had to learn how to use the sun and stars to navigate.

The Krame Center funds different mindfulness programs similar to Abram’s lecture throughout the year. Their next event on Oct. 7, will feature a lecture by Dani Shapiro, a bestselling author who was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show. The lecture will be held in the Trustees Pavilion from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on meditation and writing. Those interested in Krame Center events can join their mailing list at www.ramapo.edu/kramecenter and check out future events at www.ramapo.edy/kramecenter/community.