Acclaimed author and New York Times science reporter Andrew Revkin will be appearing on campus for a presentation entitled, “The Truth: Our Impact on the Environment.”
Revkin, who has reported for The New York Times for 12 years, will focus on humanity’s growing impact on the environment. The free presentation will take place from noon to 1 p.m. today at Chumash Auditorium in the University Union.
The presentation will be a part of CP Next: Generation Sustain, a two-day Associated Students Inc. sponsored summit that spotlights the growing concern of environmental sustainability and diversity for generations to come.
“(Climate change) is a huge breaking story, it’s just on a century-long time scale,” Revkin said. “We are at an amazing time in this planet’s history.”
“In 1968 there were 3 1/2 billion people on the planet, today there are 6 1/2 billion mostly in India and China. Many of them would like to burn coal, have a computer and they should. The question is how do we facilitate the needs of everyone.”
Instead of showing apocalyptic consequences of human impact on the environment, Revkin takes a more balanced approach.
“It’s my job to weed through (extremes).catastrophe draws short-term attention, which is good, but it also polarizes the issue. You can’t impose urgency on someone, urgency is built through concern,” Revkin said.
The presentation will take on a tone of awareness rather than a demand for solutions. “I ponder the solutions just like everyone else does. The point is we’ve gone global and we are playing with tremendous forces here. The presentation is about building resiliency as a species, because you have to assume (humans) will get it wrong.”
Although he acknowledges the uncertainty that accompanies climate change, Revkin remains firm on humanity’s impact on it. “You have all these natural warming and cooling trends, but as far as the last 50 years are concerned, you can’t get the effects we’ve had on this planet without human involvement.” Revkin said, citing the particular effects of greenhouse gasses on the Earth’s climate.
With dual degrees in biology and journalism from Brown University and Columbia University, respectively, Revkin parlayed his passion for both into a successful career. “Ever since I was a kid I was interested in marine biology and nature in general; I ended up getting a job because of my (biology) degree and went from there.”
He has received praise for his multimedia work on the environment, including award-winning photos of the Arctic and podcasts from the climate talks in Montreal.
In fact, Revkin cited the trip to the North Pole as one of his favorite stories, calling it “an amazing experience.”
The 50-year-old Revkin has also authored three books, including “The Burning Season.” The book tells the story of Chico Mendes, a Brazilian rubber tapper who was killed in 1988 while trying to save the Amazon rainforest.
The book served as the basis for an HBO film of the same name; it later won three Golden Globes and two Emmy awards.