Environmentalist and author, Bill McKibben, will be the second speaker in the George T. Hunter Lecture Series in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall, on November 6, 7 p.m. at the UTC Fine Arts Center at Vine and Palmetto Streets. McKibben is the author of the soon to be released, Fight Global Warming Now: The Handbook for Taking Action in Your Community, which is intended as a hands-on guide for environmental and community activists to fight climate change. The subject of his lecture will be global warming and the importance of buying and selling locally. Admission is free and the lecture is open to the public.
Prior to his lecture at UTC, McKibben will spend the day touring the city and meeting with local environmental groups regarding projects relating to food, sustainability, design and climate change. The tour will include downtown and several redeveloping neighborhoods, the current Farmers’ Market site, Ross’s Landing, Coolidge Park, Renaissance Park, Bluff View and the Aquarium. McKibben’s tour will conclude with a bike ride along the Riverwalk.
The George T. Hunter Lecture Series is sponsored by the Benwood Foundation, the Community Research Council, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The first speaker in the series was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who addressed more than 900 people in September.
“Given that Chattanooga’s natural beauty is part of what defines our city and our region, Bill McKibben was a logical choice for the lecture series,” said Benwood Foundation Executive Director Corinne Allen. “As an author and an activist, he is one of the nation’s leading voices on environmental issues.”
Bill McKibben was a writer for the New Yorker from 1982 to 1987. McKibben’s first book, The End of Nature, was written in 1989 and is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change. Since then, McKibben has written on several subjects, ranging from alternative energy, to outdoor adventures, to the risks associated with human genetic engineering. His most recent book, Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, was published in March 2007. It addresses what the author sees as shortcomings of the growth economy and envisions a transition to more local-scale enterprise.
In January 2007, McKibben founded stepitup07.org, a grassroots organization with the goal of pushing Congress to enact laws that would curb carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050. The group has set November 3rd as its “National Day of Climate Action,” with rallies being held in communities across the country.
McKibben has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He has honorary degrees from Green Mountain College, Unity College, Lebanon Valley College, and Sterling College. He currently resides in Ripton, Vermont and is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.
The George T. Hunter Lecture Series will continue with Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt on February 19, 2008 and Fred Kent, the founder of Project for Public Spaces, on April 8, 2008.
More information on the George T. Hunter Lecture Series is available at www.benwood.org .