You won’t want to miss these featured speakers as we explore this year’s theme, “Co-Creating a Sustainable Economy.”
Bill McKibben, Closing Keynote
Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the “alternative Nobel.” His book The End of Nature (approaching 30 years in print) is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change and has been translated into 24 languages. TIME Magazine has called him “perhaps the planet’s best green journalist,” and he’s lectured and organized on every continent, including Antarctica. His latest book—Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?—offers a piercing look not only at our environmental challenges but at the existential questions that come with new technologies like artificial intelligence.
In his heartfelt, hopeful talks, McKibben offers realistic approaches to saving our planet, as individuals, certainly, but also as thoughtful members of a mobilized group. When it comes to building a movement, we should consider “being a little bit less of an individual,” he says. Together, we can build “the right kind of pressure” in order to make a change, like convincing college campuses to divest from fossil fuels. Audiences will be inspired and uplifted by McKibben’s stories of people all over the world engaged in making the planet a more environmentally just, sustainable place. These talks “give people a sense that even in their deep worry—they are not alone,” he says.
McKibben’s writing has earned him numerous awards, including membership in the Literature section of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the John Steinbeck prize. 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, and he holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities.