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Noted environmentalist Bill McKibben, whose latest book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, is this year’s Life of the Mind selection for freshmen, will speak on campus on Monday.

His lecture, part of Welcome Week, begins at 5:30 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena. While freshmen are required to attend McKibben’s lecture, the event is free and open to the public.

Now in its tenth year, Life of the Mind is part of First Year Studies 100, a zero-credit, pass-fail class that gives freshmen their first taste of college studies. As part of the class, students read the book, complete a creative project on the book’s themes, and attend a discussion session and the author lecture.

Eaarth was chosen because UT administrators wanted to this year’s book to focus on sustainability.

UT is one of the first large universities in the Southeast to offer a sustainability major, a program which debuted last year. The university is also well known across the nation for its student-initiated campus environmental fee, which funds sustainability efforts on campus.

“McKibben’s name is synonymous with climate change,” said John Nolt, philosophy professor and member of the committee that selected Earth as this year’s common reading selection. “It will be a huge benefit to our students to get to hear him speak.”

McKibben has written ten books, including The End of Nature and Deep Economy, that have helped shape public opinion about climate change, alternative energy and the need for more localized economies. He formerly worked as a staff writer at the New Yorker and is a contributor to various magazines, including Rolling Stone, the Atlantic, National Geographic, and the New York Review of Books.

McKibben has received Guggenheim and Lyndhurst fellowships, as well as the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing. He is a scholar in residence in environmental studies at Middlebury College and lives in Vermont with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, and their daughter.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,