Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference

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Madison, WI - The Fourth Annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference Earth Day at 40: Valuing Wisconsin's Environmental Traditions, Past, Present and Future will revisit the popular movement that launched an era of environmental reform, survey a broad range of current environmental issues, and envision a more sustainable future. The conference is hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, which is named for Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson.

Earth Day at 40

The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, inspired 20 million people to participate in environmental teach-ins across the United States. The event realized the goal that its founder—U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin—had set for it: to put the environment firmly on the national agenda. And it has become a world-wide phenomenon, observed in almost every country. What have we learned since 1970, and what should be our paths to environmental change in the 21st century? How can we harness new ideas, technologies, social networks and other tools to create a sustainable future?

Environmental advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., bestselling author Margaret Atwood and SC Johnson chair and CEO Fisk Johnson will be among the notables to speak at what promises to be among the nation's biggest Earth Day celebrations, to be held Tuesday-Wednesday, April 20-21, in Madison. Wilderness Society president William Meadows, environmental justice scholar Dorceta Taylor, "Planetwalker" John Francis, and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin will join them to mark the day's 40th anniversary.

Featured speakers include:

  • Margaret Atwood
  • Rep. Tammy Baldwin
  • Gov. Jim Doyle
  • John Francis
  • H. Fisk Johnson
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • Bill Meadows
  • Tia Nelson
  • Dorceta Taylor
  • Amy Vedder
  • Rebecca Wodder
  • and many others

The Fourth Annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference will take place at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. The celebration includes a free concert, "Ecotones: A Musical Ecology of Wisconsin," featuring contemporary compositions by musicians from UW-Madison, at 8 p.m. April 20 in Promenade Hall at Madison's Overture Center for the Arts. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Preregistration and payment by Monday, April 12, are required for admission to the conference.

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