2017 Wege Lecture on Sustainability with Bill McKibben

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Hill Auditorium

825 North University Avenue

Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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The 2017 Wege Lecture, slated for Thursday, October 5, at 5 p.m. in Hill Auditorium, will feature renowned activist, author, educator, and environmentalist, Bill McKibben.

McKibben, whose lecture is entitled, “Down to the Wire: A Hot Fight in a Hot World,” has written and lectured extensively about climate change throughout his career. He is the founder of, the first planet-wide grassroots climate change movement. He was awarded the 2014 Right Livelihood Prize—often referred as 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 been translated into 24 languages.

The Wege Lecture Series, now in its 16th year, focuses on critical issues of sustainability. Each Wege Lecture has addressed an important sustainability challenge facing society in the 21st century – from energy security and declining fossil resources to global climate change, freshwater scarcity, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss, and sustainable development strategies.

As the 2017 Wege Lecturer, McKibben joins former Vice President Al Gore, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, SEAS Dean Emerita Rosina Bierbaum, and other internationally recognized experts who have delivered past Wege Lectures. The series honors Peter M. Wege for his outstanding contributions to the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems and to the environmental field.

The 2017 Wege Lecture is offered in conjunction with the climate change segment of LSA’s fall Theme Semester: “Michigan Horizons: The Possible Futures of U-M.” Theme Semesters, a feature on campus for more than two decades, connect the great intellectual and cultural strengths of the University of Michigan to the issues defining our world today.

As part of the theme semester, a committee of students and professors – including Professor Ivette Perfecto and Professor John Vandermeer – have organized a week-long set of events to raise awareness and educate on the climate crisis as a current and future threat to Michigan and the world. Each activity touches upon a different aspect of climate change. The Wege Lecture is the culmination of the series, and will aim to synthesize the messages of all previous activities and rally the U-M community toward fighting climate change together.

Other events in the climate change series include the following:

October 2, 2017 – MC²: Michigan & The Climate Crisis Opening Ceremony

“The People Against Climate Change: Resistance Through Art”

Exhibit Unveil: “For The Climates They are A-Changin’ “

Location: Dana Commons
Time: 4:00-6:00pm*; refreshments and hors d’oeuvres served during event

Performers and Speakers:

  • Cello performance by Kayla Mathes, Senior Undergraduate, School of Music, Theater and Dance & Program in the Environment
  • Poetry performance by Sandra Steingraber, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Alum
  • Art exhibit created and curated by Sara Adlerstein Gonzalez, Art & Environment Gallery of the School for Environment and Sustainability

*Exhibit open to public Monday-Friday, October 2-November 30 from 9am-7pm

October 3, 2017 – Davis, Market, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom

“The Madhouse Effect: Climate Change Denial in the Age of Trump”

Location: Honigman Auditorium, Law School Building
Time: 4:00-5:15pm

Speaker: Michael E. Mann, Distinguish Professor of Atmospheric Science, Pennsylvania State University

October 3, 2017 – Discussion Panel: History and Politics of Climate Change

Location: 1040 Dana
Time: reception at 6:00 PM; discussion 7:00-8:30pm

This panel will focus on the University's historical role in climate change science and the current political and social impacts of climate change.


  • Ben Iuliano, Divest Invest group member representative, University of Michigan
  • Stephen Mulkey, Unity College President Emeritus
  • Theresa Ong, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Alum
  • Sandra Steingraber, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Alum

October 4, 2017 – Special Lecture

“Higher Education During the Great Disruption”

A lecture about the divestment in universities, presented by Stephen Mulkey, Former President of Unity College.

Location: 1040 Dana
Time: 12:00-1:00pm; lunch provided

Speaker: Stephen Mulkey, Unity College President Emeritus

October 4, 2017 – Museum of Natural History Science Café

“Oil and soil, forces of climate change”

This panel will be led by two different experts approaching climate science from 2 different perspectives. This event is primarily aimed towards community members of Ann Arbor.

Location: Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub, 318 South Main Street, Ann Arbor
Time: Hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 PM; program 6:00-7:30 PM


  • Jennifer Blesh, Assistant Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability
  • Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History, History Department

October 5, 2017 – 16th Peter M. Wege Lecture on Sustainability*

“Down to the Wire: A Hot Fight in a Hot World”

Location: Hill Auditorium
Time: 5:00-6:00pm; book signing with Literati after lecture

Speaker: Bill McKibben, Environmentalist-Educator

October 7, 2017 – Saturday Morning Physics

“The Arctic and the Tropics: Worlds Apart, Both Amplifying Climate Change”

This is a technical panel in which the current research in climate science of different systems will be highlighted and how these different lines of research converge to give us information about the future state of the globe.

Location: 170 & 182 Weiser Hall
Time: 10:30-11:30am; refreshments served from 9:55-10:20am


  • George Kling, Robert G. Wetzel Collegiate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Ivette Perfecto, George W. Peck Professor of Ecology, School for Environment and Sustainability

October 8, 2017 – Performance

Climate change through poetry and music

Both university and community members join forces to deliver a message about climate change through the arts.

Location: Silvio’s Organic Ristorante e Pizzeria, 715 N University Ave, Ann Arbor
Time: 6:00-8:00pm; refreshments and hors d’oeuvres served during event

Performers: Open to the student and Ann Arbor community

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Hill Auditorium

825 North University Avenue

Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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