Brushwood Center to honor environmental leaders
Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods welcomes honorees Bill McKibben and Sue Halpern to the 37th Annual Smith Nature Symposium Awards Ceremony, livestreamed at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9.
"Sue Halpern and Bill McKibben have helped shape one of the largest grass-roots environmental movements of the 21st century, and they are inspiring people around the world to take a stand for the environment and climate justice," said Gail Sturm, chair of the Brushwood Center Board of Directors.
"This is a critical moment, requiring thoughtful action, to move our society toward more just and sustainable solutions, and Brushwood Center is thrilled to honor Bill and Sue's work in this pursuit,"
Brushwood Center will bestow the Environmental Leadership Award to Halpern and McKibben, a couple that has influenced millions of young people through their writing and activism on behalf of nature, democracy and the climate.
Brushwood Center also welcomes environmental allies and Masters of Ceremonies Bill Kurtis and Donna La Pietra, livestreamed from their treehouse, to facilitate conversation with the honorees.
The program will feature guest appearances from previous honorees, including Robert Redford, Sibylle Szaggars Redford, Amory Lovins and Judy Hill Lovins.
The symposium will include a special musical performance as a tribute to nature during COVID-19 by multi Grammy Award nominee and violinist Philippe Quint and former "Chicagoan of the Year in Classical Music" Vladimir Kulenovic. It will be performed directly from Brushwood Center.
The Smith Nature Symposium memorializes the significant civic legacy of Hermon Dunlap and Ellen Thorne Smith, who donated their land and cabin to help form Ryerson Woods.
The awards ceremony is the culmination of a seven-part, livestreamed series on critical environmental issues that examined how to shape a more just, sustainable future in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and growing climate crisis.
This series is also a celebration of nature, arts and individuals who make extraordinary contributions to environmental conservation and deepen understanding of and appreciation for the natural world.
All funds raised from the symposium will directly support Thrive Together, Brushwood Center's COVID-19 crisis response for a more just and sustainable future.
Bill McKibben is an author, environmentalist, and founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grass-roots climate change movement, which has organized 20,000 rallies around the world in every country except North Korea. He is the recipient of the Right Livelihood Prize, Gandhi Prize and Thomas Merton Prize, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, with honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. McKibben's 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. 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."
Sue Halpern is a contributing writer at The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times and Rolling Stone, covering science, technology and social issues. She is the author of seven books, including "Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly," which was made into an Emmy-nominated film. She is a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, where she serves as director of the program in narrative journalism. Halpern was a columnist for Mother Jones, Ms. and Smithsonian Magazine. She has been the recipient of Guggenheim and Echoing Green Fellowships, and earned her BA from Yale University and a doctorate in political theory from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
To learn more about the series, register to attend, or become a sponsor, visit www.smithnaturesymposium.org.