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PUBLIC LECTURE 11 May 5.30pm – “Because the world needs to know”: building an international climate movement: Bill McKibben

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on May 7th, 2009

When: 5.30pm-7pm, Monday 11 May
Where: Prince Philip Theatre, Ground Floor, Architecture Building (building 133), University of Melbourne. Map.
Admission FREE. Bookings are recommended – email: query-environment@unimelb.edu.au. Enquiries: 8344 5073

Leading environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben will discuss the unique international campaigns and movements that have emerged in response to the implications of the latest findings in climate science. Even two years ago, scientists could offer only vague ideas of how much carbon in the atmosphere was _too_ much. But in the wake of the rapid melt of Arctic sea ice in 2007, it has become clear that this is a problem not only for the future, but very much for the present.  McKibben will outline the rapid changes going on in the popular and political response, proposing a path that is focused on action, creativity, and the rapid mobilisation of an international social movement to supplement the work of scientists and politicians on this issue.

Bill McKibben (http://www.billmckibben.com) is a leading writer on the environment, based in Vermont, USA. His is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College where he directs the Middlebury Fellowships in Environmental Journalism, and has held a Guggenheim Fellowship among other awards. He has just presented the 2009 Ideas lecture in Sydney.

McKibbens first book, ‘The End of Nature’, was published in 1989 by Random House. It is regarded as the first book for a general American audience about climate change, and has been printed in more than 20 languages. One review said “The great immutable measure of man, nature, has lost its separateness because we have got into its engine room at last”.  Other books include ‘Fight Global Warming Now’ (2007) on climate activism strategies, ‘Enough’ (2004) on the perils of genetic engineering, ‘Maybe One’ (1998) on population, ‘Hope, Human and Wild (2002) on sustainable futures, comsumption and spirituality, and the major anthologies ‘American Earth’ (2008) and ‘The Bill McKibben Reader’ (2008). His ‘Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future’ (2007) presents the shortcomings of the growth economy, showing how vibrant local economies are challenging globalisation, especially through the localisation of enterprise and food production.

He trained as a journalist and joined the ‘New Yorker’ magazine as a staff writer, and wrote much of the “Talk of the Town” column from 1982 to early 1987. He is a frequent contributor to various publications including ‘The New York Times, ‘The Atlantic Monthly, ‘Harper’s, ‘Orion Magazine, ‘Mother Jones, ‘The New York Review of Books, ‘Granta, ‘Rolling Stone, and ‘Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to ‘Grist Magazine.

McKibben has most recently been involved in organisation of the largest demonstrations against global warming in American history, the ‘Step It Up 07′ campaign. He has recently been at the forefront of actions at coal fired power stations including the Capitol Power Plant in Washington.  He is currently on tour, talking about the 350.org climate action campaign (http://www.350.org), which he heads.

Presented by the Office for Environmental Programs (postgrad environmental programs, http://www.environment.unimelb.edu.au), and the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (http://www.sustainable.unimelb.edu.au), at the University of Melbourne. Support from 350.org, Environment Victoria, Australian Youth Climate Coalition and others.