Back to All Events

Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference 2019

  • Monona Terrace 1 John Nolen Drive Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson gives the closing address at the multi-faceted annual environmental conference. Info/registration

Photo via    Wikimedia Commons   .

The annual Earth Day conference UW-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies puts on isn't the most convenient thing to get to for people who don't work in academia or environmental advocacy, given that it takes place during weekday working hours. But it's got broader appeal, in large part thanks to the exciting authors and activists the Nelson Institute tends to land for the conference's panels and headline speeches. The best reason by far to take the afternoon off and fork over the hefty registration fee is the eminent science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, who will be giving a talk titled "Imagining the Possibilities: Climate, Technology, and Society" at 3:45 p.m. and signing books afterward. Robinson is uniquely qualified to speak at an event like this: His novels are not only novels of ideas in the grandest sci-fi tradition, but they're also works that get their hands dirty with the problems of politics, economies, and environments, whether he's outlining a dramatic process of terraforming in his Mars Trilogy or envisioning a solar-system-wide, computer-administered command economy in 2312. Robinson speaks openly about his embrace of democratic socialism. His politics infuse his novels with both bold ideas and a cheerfully plainspoken prose style, and there's an optimism that shines through in even his most cataclysmic plot twists. The conference schedule as a whole tackles environmental problems through the lenses of both hard science and creative pursuits, with panels that touch on everything from wildlife adaptation to gaming to food systems. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: April 20
Deerhoof, Palm, Robert Lundberg (free)
Later Event: April 22
Italian Film Festival 2019 (free)