Noted environmentalist and author Bill McKibben to visit as Chubb Fellow

0
257
Author and environmental activist Bill McKibben, portrait. photo by Nancie Battaglia

Bill McKibben, award-winning and world-renowned author and environmentalist, will give the next Chubb Fellowship Lecture on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

His talk, titled “Simply Too Hot: The Desperate Science and Politics of Climate,” will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Woolsey Hall, corner of College and Grove streets. It is free and open to the public.

McKibben began his career as a journalist and is currently the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 1989 he published, “The End of Nature,” one of the first books written for a broad audience to discuss the problems of climate change; it is now considered a groundbreaking work in the field of environmental studies. This seminal work has now been published in 24 languages. McKibben has gone on to write over a dozen books on environmental issues including “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet” and his most recent work, “Oil and Honey.” He continues to write for a wide variety of publications including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone.

In 2008, Bill McKibben cofounded 350.org, the first planet-wide, climate change movement utilizing online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public protests. The name “350.org” is taken from “350 parts per million” — the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere currently agreed upon by the world’s scientists. The organization aims to create a mass movement to work on public awareness and push for solutions that will bring the planet back within safe carbon dioxide levels of 350 parts per million. In 2014, he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the “alternative Nobel,” for his work with 350.org.

His many honors include the 2013 Gandhi Peace Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize. In 2012, he was awarded the President’s Medal from the Geological Society of America. He has received the prestigious Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships and won the Lannan Prize for non-fiction writing in 2000. McKibben holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. In 2014, biologists recognized him by naming in his honor a new species of the woodland gnat — megophthalmidia mckibbeni.

The Chubb Fellowship was founded with a gift from Yale alumnus Hendon Chubb, and since 1949 has been one of Yale’s most prestigious honors conferred on visiting speakers. The master of Timothy Dwight College, currently Mary Lui, administers the fellowship, which is devoted to encouraging interest in public service. Chubb Fellows spend their time at Yale in close, informal contact with students and make an appearance open to the public. Former Chubb Fellows include Presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Harry Truman; authors Wendell Berry and Toni Morrison; actors Morgan Freeman and Shah Rukh Khan; world leaders Aung San Suu Kyi and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; journalist Nicholas Kristoff; and many other nationally and internationally prominent citizens and leaders.