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We mourn the loss of our dear colleague Harold L. Wilhite

We are deeply saddened about the loss of Professor Harold L. Wilhite, who died on 15th August in Berkeley, USA. He was a first-class researcher and a dear colleague.

Harold (Hal) Wilhite grew up in Texas, USA. However, his life took him to many different parts of the world. He was in fact on a bicycle trip around Europe when he first came to Norway in 1984.

Hal’s was not a typical academic career. It began at the Military Academy in West Point in New York, where he studied engineering. After the Vietnam War, he studied mathematics at the University of California, before he moved on to anthropology at San Francisco State University.

Hal is best known  as an anthropologist, but always with a strong interdisciplinary orientation. At the Centre for Development the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo, he led groundbreaking research on sustainable consumption and energy.

Hal’s research has had a great impact internationally. His numerous publications based on fieldwork in Asia, Latin America and Norway, are widely read. Hal insisted on the importance of understanding human action in its social and economic context. He was particularly critical towards the idea of a green transition which did not involve reducing consumption, and considered a low carbon society impossible to realise in a growth-oriented economy. He was deeply passionate about environmental issues, and lived according to his own high standards regarding sustainable consumption.

Hal was a warm and caring person, much cherished by his colleagues. He was an outstanding lecturer and supervisor. The loss of Hal is difficult for all of us, but the important field of research that he established will live on through the younger researchers he recruited and collaborated with.  Our deepest condolences go to Hal’s family, Zehlia, Paul, Alex and Kahena.

On behalf of colleagues and friends at SUM,

Sidsel Roalkvam, Kristi Anne Stølen, Desmond McNeill, Tanja Winther, Arve Hansen


Please join us in commemorating and celebrating Hal's life.

Time: Monday 16th September, 15:00.

Place: Senter for utvikling og miljø (SUM), Sandakerveien 130, Nydalen in Oslo.

The commemoration is open to all, but requires registration by 12th September:

Register here

Published Aug. 22, 2019 1:09 PM - Last modified Sep. 5, 2019 11:25 AM