In November, leaders from around the world will assemble in Paris for a United Nations climate change conference with the goal of a legally binding international agreement to lessen greenhouse gas emissions and prevent worldwide temperature rise.
In anticipation of this historic gathering, author and environmentalist Bill McKibben will discuss with Nebraskans how the movement to slow global warming is progressing. McKibben, a noted author, educator and environmentalist, will deliver “The Climate Fight at its Peak,” the second lecture in this year’s E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues.
He will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St.
McKibben was awarded the 2014 Right Livelihood Prize, which is frequently referred to as the “alternative Nobel,” and his 1989 book “The End of Nature” is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change. He is a founder of 350.org, the first global grassroots climate change movement. 350.org has organized 20,000 rallies around the world in every country except North Korea, spearheaded resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.
He will share examples of grassroots climate-focused actions that have been launched by 350.org members; then, he will turn his focus to his host state and highlight ways in which Nebraskans can become involved in advocating and campaigning on global environmental issues.
“Nebraskans from every part of the state are heading into a changed world with the onset of climate change. These changes will have major implications for our economy, our agricultural production, our cities and towns and, most importantly, our people,” said the Rev. Kim Morrow, minister of sustainability at First-Plymouth Congregational Church. “Bill McKibben is one of the most thoughtful and visionary leaders of the climate movement, and we are incredibly lucky to have the chance to hear from him here in Lincoln. His work reminds us of the power that ordinary people have to create a better world.”
This year’s E.N. Thompson Forum is delving into the origins of activists and the characteristics of effective social and political movements, narrated with candor by men and women who have inspired generations. Lectures are streamed at http://enthompson.unl.edu and are available live on Lincoln Time Warner Cable digital channel 80, channel 71.16 without a cable box, UNL campus channel 4 and UNL KRNU radio 90.3 FM. All lectures are interpreted for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Morrow will conduct a pre-talk at 6:30 p.m. in the Lied’s Steinhart Room. Morrow is director of Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light, a nonprofit whose mission is to facilitate the faith community’s response to climate change and works for the UNL School of Natural Resources. The pre-talk is free and open to the public.
The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, McKibben was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize. Foreign Policy named him to its inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers and the Boston Globe has referred to him as “America’s most important environmentalist.” A former staff writer for the New Yorker, McKibben writes frequently for a variety of publications, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic and Rolling Stone.
The E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues is a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, the Lied Center and UNL. It was established in 1988 with the purpose of bringing a diversity of viewpoints on international and public policy issues to the university and people of Nebraska to promote understanding and encourage debate.
The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UNL Environmental Studies Program and Platte River Recovery Implementation Program are sponsoring McKibben’s lecture.