Special Guest Speaker

Andrew Revkin

In 1978, Andy Revkin graduated college with a biology degree and headed to the South Pacific under a fellowship he won to study man’s relationship to the sea. Four months in, his plans evolved when he saw a “Crew Wanted” sign on a pier in Auckland and joined the crew of a circumnavigating sailboat - yes, the Wanderlust. The resulting 17-month, 15,000-mile journey fueled a passion for journalism. Through his 40 years on the sustainability beat, more than half that span with The New York Times, he became one of the world’s most innovative and lauded climate reporters - filing stories and multi-media reports from the burning Amazon to the thawing North Pole, the White House to the Vatican.

A 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship helped him launch his pioneering and award-winning Dot Earth blog at The Times. From 2010 through 2016, he served on the Anthropocene Working Group, the expert body commissioned to weigh evidence humans had become such a force for planetary change that we were creating a new geological epoch. In 2019 he founded the Initiative on Communication and Sustainability at Columbia University's Earth Institute, which is now the Columbia Climate School. There he fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration and runs his Sustain What webcast, which has reached some 3 million viewers through more than 360 episodes. Revkin has written or co-written five lauded books on environmental themes, most notably The Burning Season, his 1990 biography of slain Amazon defender Chico Mendes, which won a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and was the basis for the Emmy- and Golden-Globe-Winning HBO film of the same name. His most recent book, an award-winning collaboration with National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz, is The Human Planet. In spare moments Revkin is a performing songwriter. Among many advisory positions, Revkin is a member of the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. After 30 years in the Hudson River Valley, he now lives on the Maine coast with his wife (and sometime co-author) Lisa Mechaley.