Jack Manno

Jack Manno Jack Manno was born in the Mohawk Valley of German, English and Sicilian heritage. He has had a lifelong connection and passion for the environment and people of central New York. His earliest memories involve observing and listening to flowing water: sitting on the banks of the creek near his home and at the Erie/Barge Canal where his Grandpa, the Lockmaster, controlled the gates at Lock 17 in Little Falls. He also loved hunting insects, digging dirt, watching clouds and thinking about stuff. He had lots of questions and thus many years later he became a professor of environmental studies at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

In the 1980s he was interested in and horrified by the militarization of outer space. The interest turned into a book, Arming the Heavens (NY: Dodd Mead, 1984). The military aim at the time was to have uninterrupted and undeterred capacity to attack by remote control any point on earth, an ability that has now been achieved. One thing that haunted him from that research was the code name for one of the series of nuclear weapons tests in outer space, Project Fishbowl. The name suggested that the military engineers saw themselves as so detached from the Earth that they could look down upon it as if looking into a fishbowl. Project Fishbowl was a powerful metaphor for a sad form of mental confusion that haunts our days: the widespread failure to notice and respect our complete dependence on the Earth and all its gifts.

Later Jack became Executive Director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium until 2006 when he joined the ESF faculty. During this time, he also did a stint as President of Great Lakes United. Propelled by his work on Great Lakes science and policy and his experience at the 1992 Earth Summit, he grew increasingly interested in the economic system dynamics that seemed to inevitably subvert lofty environmental goals. The first paper he wrote for the Global Ecological Intergity Group later formed the foundation for his book, Privileged Goods: Commoditization and It's Effects on Environment and Society.

In the early 1990s, leaders of the Onondaga Nation asked him to organize an independent advisory group to help the Chiefs and Clan Mothers in making decisions about contaminated groundwater on their territory. The project grew into an on-going association with Onondaga leaders on a range of environmental issues, including a community garden known as the Good Friends Garden. Through study and direct experience with decision-making processes in the Longhouse, he learned much about the Onondaga and Haudenosaunee way of life and environmental thought and values. He is engaged in promoting environmental responsibility through post-colonial partnerships between Indigenous Peoples and allies.

Jack is married to Cindy Squillace and has two children the usual way and several more by having an open home in a collective living arrangement of many years.


Jack Manno, Associate Professor
Department of Environmental Studies
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Syracuse, NY 13210 USA
email: jpmanno@esf.edu