Looking back at our common future

Happy Earth Day 2015.  Hugh Morton photographed in many places around the globe, but the planet itself was not one of them . . . at least not from outer space.  Looking for an image to post for Earth Day, I searched the online collection for “earth” . . . then “globe” . . . then “global.”  The last search term led to today’s post.

Carl Sagan speaking at the 1990 Emerging Issues Forum at North Carolina State University, with North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt standing in the background. (Photograph cropped by author.)

Since 1986 the Institute for Emerging Issues at North Carolina State University has held an annual Emerging Issues Forum.  Hugh Morton attended the forum in February 1990 when the theme was “Global Changes in the Environment: Our Common Future.”  According to the program published after the forum, there were approximately 1,500 attendees.  Featured speakers included Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the U.S.; Carl Sagan, former director of the Laboratory of Planetary Studies at Cornell University; Steve Cowper, former governor of Alaska; and Madeline Kunin, former governor of Vermont.
After searching through the Morton collection finding aid to see what other years he may have attended the forum, it appears that was the only time he went—or at least photographed, but I cannot imagine Morton attending such an event and not taking at least one photograph.  There are 68 negatives from the 1990 forum, filed in three locations in the collection with the following descriptions:

  • Roll Film Box P081/35BW-5, Envelope 2.6.270-5-1: Gore, Al at NCSU Emerging Issues Forum (with Steve Cowper, etc.), 1990, Black and white 35mm roll film negatives, 6 images;
  • Roll Film Box P081/35BW-6, Envelope 2.6.602-5-1: “Sagan, Carl, Governor Jim Hunt, North Carolina State” (Emerging Issues Forum?), 1990s, Black and white 35mm roll film negatives, 6 images; and
  • Roll Film Box P081/35BW-8, Envelope 2.8.7-5-11: Emerging Issues Forum, North Carolina State University, 8-9 February 1990, Black and white 35mm roll film negatives, 56 images.

Scans made from eight of these negatives can be seen in the online collection of Morton photographs.

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