Living in a World of Limits

Image of Michael Shellenberger

Michael Shellenberger highlighted the positive side of technology.

By Christine Baksi 

Some of the nation's pre-eminent environmental advocates and thought leaders will be coming to Dickinson this semester to discuss critical environmental challenges of the 21st century. Living in a World of Limits is a seminar series that will address improving the human condition equitably, sustainably and within the limits that protect the natural environment.

The series will consist of classroom visits and public events with high-profile visiting speakers. Topics will range from the local to the global and include practical models for building sustainable communities; the social, environmental and health effects of developing natural gas in Pennsylvania; social movements to combat global climate change; and interpreting and responding to planetary boundaries.

"The seminar series demonstrates Dickinson's commitment to global sustainability through the interdisciplinary liberal-arts lens," says Neil Leary, executive director of Dickinson's Center for Sustainability Education. 

The public events kick off on Tuesday, Jan. 29, when Michael Shellenberger, a provocative environmental expert, discusses technology's role in dealing with the world's toughest environmental problems, including climate change, rainforest destruction and species extinction. Shellenberger is president of The Breakthrough Institute, a think-tank committed to modernizing environmentalism. In 2004, he co-authored "The Death of Environmentalism," an essay that sparked a national debate and inspired a generation of young environmentalists. His talk will start at 7 p.m. in the Stern
Center, Great Room. 

Noted sustainability educator and author David Orr will lead a discussion on designing communities, regions and nations to improve resiliency and prosperity. His lecture will be presented on Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in the Anita Tuvin Schechter (ATS) Auditorium. A professor and advisor to the president at Oberlin College, Orr helped organize a sustainable-development project in partnership with the college, the town of Oberlin, Ohio, and others.

The series will conclude with a lecture by environmental activist, educator and author Bill McKibben on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. in the ATS Auditorium. The founder of—the world's largest grassroots climate campaign—McKibben has been called "the planet's best green journalist" by Time magazine. He is the inaugural recipient of the *Sam Rose '58 and Julie Walters Prize* at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism. 
McKibben's lecture is preceded by a two-day campus residency. 

The Living in a World of Limits series is hosted by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Center for Sustainability Education. All events are free and open to the public. 

Published January 23, 2013