Climate change activist Bill McKibben to speak at 2016 Higher Education Summit

TORONTO, April 22, 2016 /CNW/ - Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben – an internationally recognized leader in the fight against climate change – will be one of the featured speakers at the Higher Education Summit in Toronto this November.

"As we celebrate Earth Day today, we're thrilled to announce that a prominent champion for a cleaner planet will be speaking at our conference this year," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "His inspirational message will help strengthen Canada's resolve to fight climate change."

The Higher Education Summit, run by Colleges Ontario, is one of Canada's premier conferences on post-secondary education. In recent years, featured speakers at the annual conference have included environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., author and columnist Thomas L. Friedman, actor and director Alan Alda, former prime minister Jean Chrétien, and Paralympian and philanthropist Rick Hansen.

McKibben is the founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide movement to tackle climate change. The movement has organized 20,000 rallies throughout the world.

His book, The End of Nature, was one of the first books to raise awareness about climate change among the general public. McKibben holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities and the Boston Globe once said he was "probably America's most important environmentalist."

His appearance this year is important to Ontario's colleges, which continue to play a leading role in the effort to reduce carbon emissions.

In addition to infrastructure improvements that help reduce energy use, the colleges also continue to develop programs that specifically prepare graduates for the clean economy. Growing numbers of college graduates are pursuing careers in fields that range from renewable energy and green architecture to wastewater treatment.

The Higher Education Summit runs Nov. 20 and 21 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. Other featured speakers this year include former U.S. secretary of labor Robert B. Reich, decorated Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes, and outdoor adventure athlete Will Gadd. More details about the conference can be found at www.highereducationsummit.ca.

"We bring top educators, government officials and business leaders together to examine the big issues," Franklin said. "At a time when our country is focused on tackling climate change, this year's conference will provide an important reminder of why the effort is so critical."

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SOURCE Colleges Ontario

For further information: Amy Dickson, Manager, Media Relations and Communications, Colleges Ontario, 647-258-7686, dickson@collegesontario.org

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