Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben to discuss climate change May 17 at Western

Bill McKibben, one of America's best-known environmentalists, will present “350: The Most Important Number in the World,” at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 on the Performing Arts Center Mainstage on the Western Washington University Campus. Courtesy photo by Nancie Battaglia

Western Today staff

Bill McKibben, one of America's best-known environmentalists, will present “350: The Most Important Number in the World,” at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 on the Performing Arts Center Mainstage on the Western Washington University Campus.

The presentation is part of the University’s Western Reads program. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for the general public and are available through the WWU Box Office at (360) 650-6146 or http://www.tickets.wwu.edu. WWU Box Office hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

In the summer of 2007, Arctic ice began to melt far more rapidly than scientists had expected, and before the season was out, they'd begun to conclude that the earth was already moving past tipping points – that indicators, from the thawing of glaciers to the spread of droughts, showed global warming was a present crisis, not a future threat. The world’s leading climatologists even gave us a number for the red line: 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

McKibben describes not only the science of the situation, but also the inspiring global movement that he's led to help change the world's understanding of its peril, and spur the reforms necessary to get the planet back to safety.

He is also the founder of 350.org, the first large global grassroots climate-change initiative, which has crossed the boundaries of language and faith and even the great gulf between rich and poor. 

McKibben's seminal books include “The End of Nature,” widely seen as the first book on climate change for a general audience, and “Deep Economy,” a bold challenge to move beyond "growth" as the paramount economic ideal and to pursue prosperity in a more local direction -- an idea that is the cornerstone of much sustainability discourse today. A former New Yorker staff writer and Guggenheim Fellow, he writes for various magazines, including Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, National Geographic and The New York Review of Books.

This program is made possible by the generous support of Western Reads – a campus-wide reading program designed to promote intellectual engagement, community and conversation among new students – Western’s Institute for Energy Studies, its Huxley College of the Environment, and the North Cascades Institute.

For more information on the lecture and presentation by Bill McKibben or the Western Reads program, contact Dawn Dietrich at Western.Reads@wwu.edu.