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Renowned Reporter Seeks Sustainability

As New York Times environment reporter Andrew C. Revkin described his travels across the globe, relating experiences both touching and chilling, both serious and delightfully "wacky", he connected his stories with one common message: sustainability and the importance of recognizing the effects and causes of climate change.

Andrew C. Revkin, reporter for the New York Times, spoke at Berea College March 30.

Revkin shared these engaging tales in his recent convocation "The Daily Planet: A Journalist's Search for Sustainability from the Amazon to the Arctic." He shared moments, observations and findings from his quarter-century quest for evidence that people can balance the human enterprise with the planet's limits.

Accompanied by a slideshow of images from his travels, Revkin conjured up various locations he had visited and shared his unusual and enlightening experiences. One of the locations Revkin mentioned was a deserted beach he had seen while on a exploratory sailboat trip with friends. The beach was completely covered in light bulbs that had washed up on the shore from shipping lanes. He noted that the odd sight was the first time he had thought about the less perceptible effects that humans can have on the environment, and that it was this realization that eventually led him to his efforts to understand climate change and warn of the long-term effects of global warming.

Revkin has been reporting on the environment for the New York Times since 1995, a position which has taken him to the shifting sea ice in the Arctic three times in the past two years. While in the Arctic, Revkin became the first New York Times reporter to file stories and photographs from the floating ice cap at the North Pole. During the convocation, he described and showed pictures from his stay at the North Pole, explaining the scientific studies performed there as well as more personal details like the constant noise and movement of the ice, and the living conditions at the camp at which he stayed. He went on to mention some of the wackier events at the camp, which contained not just scientists but also occasional bizarre visitors such as Santa Claus, a beauty queen, and a pair of rescued South Korean skiers.

Revkin ended his presentation with a surprise performance: telling the audience that he was not yet done, Revkin left the podium, strode across the stage and picked up a guitar. Revkin revealed that in addition to his many other pursuits, he is also a singer/songwriter. He treated the audience to a humorous song he had written about "liberated carbon" and the dangers of burning fossil fuels. The audience was left laughing but no less enlightened about the many changes going on in the world.

Andrew C. Revkin has won many awards and honors for his writing and photography, including, in 2003, the National Academies Communication Award for print journalism. Before joining the New York Times staff, Revkin wrote The Burning Season about the life of Chico Mendes, the slain leader of the movement to save the Amazon rain forest. The book was honored with two awards, published in ten languages, and was the basis for an HBO film of the same name. He also wrote Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, and his most current book is The North Pole Was Here.

Revkin has a biology degree from Brown University and a masterís degree in journalism from Columbia, where he has taught environmental reporting as an adjunct professor at Columbiaís Graduate School of Journalism. He has been a senior editor of Discover, a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, and a senior writer at Science Digest. He has also written for The New Yorker, Audubon, Conde Nast Traveler, and other magazines.

See the links below for more information on Revkin's books and other work, and to see an archive of his articles and reports for the New York Times.

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