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Environmentalist Bill McKibben to discuss climate change at Buffalo Humanities Festival

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Bill McKibben, author of the
groundbreaking book “The End of Nature,” which helped
establish him as leading voice on the global threat of climate
change, will be the keynote speaker for the Buffalo Humanities
Festival, Sept. 28-30 at various locations in Western New York.

Organized annually by the University at Buffalo Humanities
Institute (HI), one of the most important entities supporting the
humanities in Western New York, this year’s festival is
presented in partnership with Canisius College, Niagara University,
SUNY Buffalo State and Humanities New York.

McKibben, the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental
Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences, will deliver his lecture, “The
Desperate Climate Fight: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary
Moment,” at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, at the Albright-Knox
Art Gallery.

Published in 1989, “The End of Nature,” which has
been translated into more than 20 languages, stands today as the
first book for general readers on the dangers of climate

“McKibben recognized very early on that we need to take
the environmental fight to the streets,” says David Castillo,
UB professor of Romance languages and literatures and HI director.
“And he’s just the one to do that.  McKibben is
the kind of person who can speak to the general public and get us
fired up to acknowledge the moment in which we’re living and
the importance of fighting against the forces of climate change

“McKibben is an inspiring example of someone who is
simultaneously an extraordinary humanities scholar and an
extraordinary activist,” adds Kari Winter, UB professor of
transnational studies and HI executive director. “He’s
not just describing the world; he’s trying to change the
world for the better.”

“The End of Nature,” in fact, is McKibben’s
call for a new, sustainable relationship with the natural

General admission tickets for McKibben’s talk are $20 for
the public and $15 for students. There is a separate VIP reception
with McKibben in the AK Café. The VIP reception is included
with the purchase of a VIP Full Festival Pass, which is $60 for the
public and $40 for students.

In addition to McKibben’s keynote, the three-day festival
features environmentally themed talks, music, performances,
community debates and other activities that focus on issues of
local, regional and national environmental justice and economic

complete festival schedule, including additional ticket information
is available online

In 2014, McKibben received the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes
called the “alternative Nobel.” The author of more than
a dozen books, he is the founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide,
grassroots climate change movement.

McKibben’s broad environmental vision is rooted deeply in
place and his writing represents the importance of sustainable
thinking that inhabits both local and global spaces.

“I see a stark difference in two visions of the
future,” says Winter. “President Trump recently said if
people in Western New York are struggling financially they should
move to another state. McKibben says if we want to survive the
coming era the most important thing to do is to become part of a
strong community.

“McKibben speaks directly to us, people rooted in our
communities and committed to their improvement,” she says.
“His beautifully crafted and lucid message is specifically
for the people of Western New York who want to organize their lives
in ways that are most likely to produce a good future.”

The festival begins on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m. with a
discussion organized by Humanities New York in the Burchfield
Penney Art Center’s Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium,
titled “Turning the Tide: Communicating Climate
Science.”  Participants include Jacqui Patterson,
director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice
Program; Jason Briner, associate professor in UB’s Department
of Geology; and others. Ryan McPherson, UB’s Chief
Sustainability Officer, will serve as the discussion’s

The full festival day on Saturday, Sept. 30, will be held in
Rockwell Hall on the SUNY Buffalo State campus. The day begins at
10:30 a.m. with visiting artist Deke Weaver’s performance of
“BEAR and the Unreliable Bestiary,” an exploration of
what he calls “stories from our precarious moment in natural

There will be multiple sessions, talks and panels throughout the
day on Saturday. Lunch by West Side Bazaar is included with tickets
purchased before Sept. 25.

The festival concludes with music from the 12/8 Path Band and a
reception with beer from Community Beer Works.

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