Environmental reporter Andrew Revkin to speak at SMC

Andrew Revkin has been everywhere, from the tundra of the Arctic to the jungles of the Amazon, and even inside the historic halls of the White House. On Thursday Oct. 27, environmental reporter Andrew Revkin will be visiting Santa Monica College.

Revkin will be giving a special lecture that will help launch SMC’s Climate Action Plan to reduce the college’s carbon impact.

The talk, entitled “9 Billion People + 1 Planet = ?”, will be an hour-and-a-half-long exploration of some of the ways that Revkin believes the ever-growing human population must adjust to create a sustainable way of life.

“Basically the question is, how do we head toward roughly nine billion people with the fewest regrets?” said Revkin in a telephone interview. “I’m actually kind of optimistic. If we do some things differently, then we can thread the needle and come out later in the century with a planet that still has a lot of richness and thriving ecosystems, less poverty, and more general prosperity.”

Revkin said that his love for the environment started in his childhood.

“I grew up in Rhode Island with forests where I could just sort of run around outside of the suburban area I lived in, and I just felt there were great stories to tell about all that,” said Revkin.

His early interests led him to pursue biology as an undergraduate student at Brown, before shifting tracks to receive a Master’s in journalism from Columbia. But his appreciation of the natural world never dwindled.

“Right out of college I had a real lucky stroke where I ended up on a sailboat just by chance, and we sailed two thirds of the way around the world,” said Revkin. “So right from when I was 23 or so, I had this real great view of the splendors of the natural world.”

In 1995, he began covering the environment for the New York Times, where he worked for nearly 15 years, until he resigned in 2009 to become senior fellow at Pace University’s, Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies.

Revkin works with the law school graduate and undergraduate programs to “try and promote work, research and progress on environmental issues,” said Revkin. “And it’s been great. I’m teaching courses. I created a new course this fall called ‘Blogging a Better Planet.’”

As a matter of fact, “Blogging a Better Planet” is an activity that Revkin partakes in regularly. In his “Dot Earth” blog for the New York Times’ opinion section, he attempts to examine “efforts to balance human affairs with the planet’s limits.”

Revkin sees the rise of digital communication as a great chance for young people to help spread ideas for a greener world.

“I think there are huge opportunities for young people—for students—right now; particularly in communication, but also in innovation. And that’s something I’ll definitely be talking about,” said Revkin. “Virtually anybody who has the ability to tell a story creatively and engagingly can have that story reach a mass audience. You don’t have to be a New York Times reporter or a correspondent for CNN to have impact.”

Students will also be encouraged to partake in a discussion Revkin will be hosting a few hours after the lecture.

This roundtable discussion will address SMC’s Climate Action Plan - a comprehensive strategy spearheaded by Genevieve Bertone that seeks to help the college to become a “carbon-neutral”, “zero waste” facility.

Revkin sees colleges and universities as perfect platforms to effect change.

“Your campus can serve as a laboratory for ideas and innovations that can spread to the surrounding community,” said Revkin.

This event, made possible by the SMC Associates, SMC Political Science Association and the Center for Environmental & Urban Studies, will take place on the SMC Main Stage at 11 a.m., Oct. 27, 2011.

The roundtable discussion with Revkin and the plan’s main authors will take place in the Business building, Room 111, from 5:15 to 7:00 p.m.