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Pomona College Distinguished Speaker Series Presents Environmental Leader Bill McKibben on October 27

Bill McKibben, noted environmentalist, 350.org founder and author of a dozen books, will visit Pomona College on Thursday, October 27, as part of Pomona’s Distinguished Speakers Series to give a talk in Bridges Auditorium at 7 p.m. The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets will be limited to two per person, available from the Bridges Auditorium box office starting Monday, September 26, for students, staff and faculty with ID and on Monday, October 3, for the general public.

McKibben will discuss his latest book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (Times Books, 2010), which posits that the Earth has already gone through such massive environmental change—“melting, drying, acidifying, flooding and burning in ways that no human has ever seen”—that we have created a recognizable but fundamentally different new planet. Eaarth examines how we can survive on this new planet by scaling back our societies and economies into communities that can weather these changes.

Time Magazine called him "the planet's best green journalist" and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was "probably the country's most important environmentalist." Barbara Kingsolver, noted novelist and author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, says of Eaarth: “What I have to say about this book is very simple: Read it, please. Straight through to the end. Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important.” And James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, notes, “Bill McKibben foresaw ‘the end of nature’ very early on, and in this new book, he blazes a path to help preserve nature’s greatest treasures.”

McKibben’s 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. It has been printed in more than 20 languages, and an updated version was released in the United States in 2006. Other books he has written include Hope, Human and Wild; Maybe One, Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future; and The Bill McKibben Reader, a collection of 44 essays written for various publications during the past 25 years, including Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, Outside, The New Yorker and Harper’s Magazine.

In 2007, McKibben founded stepitup07.org. He and a team of students helped organize more than 2,000 rallies across all the 50 United States to demand that Congress enact curbs on global emissions with a goal of cutting carbon 80 percent by 2050. In 2008, McKibben brought this grassroots activism and energy global with 350.org. The 350.org team helped mobilize 5,200 actions in 181 countries on October 24, 2009, and hosted a Global Work Party with more than 7,000 climate solutions projects around the world on October 10, 2010. Students at Pomona College have participated in 350.org events.

McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges, including the Universities of Massachusetts and Maine, the State University of New York, and Whittier and Colgate Colleges. In 2011, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

McKibben is being brought to Claremont in conjunction with the Brave New Planet conference at Claremont Presbyterian Church on October 28 and 29. The conference, which will focus on McKibben’s work and his new book Eaarth, is unaffiliated with Pomona College, but does feature some faculty—Char Miller, Heather Williams and Rick Worthington—as speakers.

The Pomona College Distinguished Speakers Series, now in its fourth academic year, was established with a generous gift from the Broe family. Inaugurated in 2009 by David Plouffe, campaign manager for Barack Obama’s presidential race, the series has also welcomed former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (March 2010); Van Jones, green jobs advocate and civil rights activist (January 2011); and Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp. and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (March 2011).

Upcoming Distinguished Speakers include writer and actor Anna Deavere Smith, who has won numerous awards and is credited with creating a new form of theatre. She will be speaking at Pomona College in February 2012.