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View from audience at the Church Street Center looking at stage

Elizabeth and Lawrence Vadnais Environmental Issues Lecture

This annual lecture series is named for Professor Lawrence H. Vadnais and is sponsored by the Vadnais Endowment.


Galen NelsonBill McKibben

Author, environmentalist, and activist

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Campus Center Gymnasium
7 p.m.

Free and Open to the Public
Information: 413.662.5224

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe said he was “probably America’s most important environmentalist.”

A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently for a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone. He lives in the mountains above Lake Champlain with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, where he spends as much time as possible outdoors. In 2014, biologists honored him by naming a new species of woodland gnat— Megophthalmidia mckibbeni–in his honor.


Past Speakers 

2017-2018: Joanna Ballentine

2016-2017: John Harris

2015-2016: Andy Vadnais

2014-2015: Dean Cycon

2013-2014: Marion Stoddard

2012-2013: Stephen L. Cowell

2011-2012: Elizabeth Kolbert

2010-2011: Averill H. Cook

2009-2010: Frank O'Brien-Bernini

2008-2009: Scott Weidensaul

2007-2008: Dr. William Moomaw

2004-2005: Dr. John Peterson Myers