Award-Winning Writer Barry Lopez to Speak Oct. 2 at Ohio Wesleyan University

Author’s Work Showcases ‘the Poetic Sensitivity and Philosophical Disposition of a Thoreau,’ Historian Says
Barry Lopez, National Book Award-winning author of ‘Arctic Dreams,’ will speak Oct. 2 at Ohio Wesleyan's Sagan National Colloquium. Each year, the colloquium examines an issue of international importance. (Photo courtesy of Barry Lopez)

Barry Lopez, National Book Award-winning author of ‘Arctic Dreams,’ will speak Oct. 2 at Ohio Wesleyan’s Sagan National Colloquium. Each year, the colloquium examines an issue of international importance. (Photo courtesy of Barry Lopez)

DELAWARE, OH – National Book Award-winning essayist, author, and short-story writer Barry Lopez will discuss “The Writer and Social Responsibility” and hold a book signing Oct. 2 as part of Ohio Wesleyan University’s 2013 Sagan National Colloquium.

Lopez, whose works include the award-winning “Arctic Dreams,” will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Benes Rooms of Ohio Wesleyan’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. He will sign books after the presentation. The event is free and open to the public.

According to The Washington Post: “Barry Lopez is one of those writers who cannot stand on the earth without feeling its vibrations, cannot hold a leaf without sensing the energy contained within it, cannot pluck a stone from the bed of a river without feeling compelled to replace it in expiation of having disturbed the proper order of things.”

In addition to “Arctic Dreams,” Lopez also is the author of “About This Life”; “Of Wolves and Men,” a National Book Award finalist; “Light Action in the Caribbean”; “Resistance,” a response to the recent ideological changes in American society, and more. A former landscape photographer now living in western Oregon, Lopez has been described by environmental writer and historian T.H. Watkins as “a naturalist with the poetic sensitivity and philosophical disposition of a Thoreau.”

His books and magazine contributions reflect a life of travel and cultural inquiry that has taken him to nearly 70 countries. As for the lessons he has learned during his extensive travels, Lopez has said:

“A dangerous bit of American folklore is that our social, environmental, and political problems, which grow more ominous by the day, call for the healing touch of a genius. They do, but if we’re intent on waiting for some such remarkable individual to show up, we can count on disappointment. The solution to what threatens us, however, is already here, in another form. It’s in our diverse communities. Most often we recognize the quality of genius in an individual man or woman; but the source of that genius lies with the complicated network of carefully tended relationships that sets a vibrant human community apart from a solely political community.

“What this has meant for me as a writer, in the simplest terms, is that if you want to be of use in the world, it’s good to pay attention to what others already know.”

Learn more about Lopez, his writings, and his philosophies at

Each year, Ohio Wesleyan’s Sagan National Colloquium addresses an issue of global importance. This year’s speaker series, “Interdisciplinary Impacts of Climate Change,” began Sept. 12 and continues throughout fall semester. All presentations begin at 7 p.m. and, unless otherwise noted, will be held in the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center. Upcoming presentations are as follows:

Sept. 26Michael Dorsey, Ph.D., visiting fellow and professor of environmental studies in the College of the Environment at Wesleyan University, discussing climate and environmental justice. He will speak in Gray Chapel in University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. His work focuses on global environmental governance and sustainability, including how multilateral finance instruments impact climate and biodiversity policy. This presentation is scheduled to be streamed online at

Oct. 8Robert Stavins, Ph.D., of Harvard University, discussing “An Economic Perspective on Climate Change Policy.” At Harvard, his appointments include director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program and director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. This presentation is scheduled to be streamed online at

Oct. 22Michael Mann, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, discussing “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.” His research uses theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth’s climate system. He also is a co-founder and contributor to the award-winning science website

Oct. 24 – Environmental ethics and theology panel discussion with Christiana Peppard, Ph.D., a freshwater ethics expert at Fordham University; Madeline Ostrander, a journalist and creator of Tide at the Doorstep, a project focused on place-based stories about climate change and social justice; and Sachie Hopkins-Hayakawa, a student activist leading a campaign to encourage colleges to divest from fossil fuel companies.

Oct. 29Alexander Thompson, Ph.D., associate professor of political science and faculty associate of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at The Ohio State University, discussing “The Evolution of the Global Climate Change Regime.” His research focuses on the design and evolution of international institutions governing climate change. This presentation is scheduled to be streamed online at

Nov. 5Mary Lou Zeeman, Ph.D., the R. Wells Johnson Professor of Mathematics at Bowdoin College, discussing mathematical modeling of climate. She also is co-director of the Math Climate Research Network, an organization of leading researchers seeking to establish a new area of applied mathematics tailored to climate research. This presentation is scheduled to be streamed online at

Nov. 7David Schimel, Ph.D., research scientist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, discussing “Ecology, Ecosystems, and Climate Change.” Schimel was convening lead author for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.

Nov. 12Lonnie Thompson, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor in the School of Earth Sciences and a research scientist in the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University, discussing ice core paleoclimatology. He and the OSU team have developed drilling equipment to acquire paleoclimate histories that have advanced the understanding of the Earth’s climate system. This presentation is scheduled to be streamed online at

Nov. 14Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D., director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and research scientist at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, discussing “Climate Change in the Ohioan Mind.” His research investigates the psychological, cultural, and political factors that influence environmental attitudes, policy support, and behavior. This presentation is scheduled to be streamed online at

Nov. 19Marshall Shepherd, Ph.D., director of the Atmospheric Sciences program at the University of Georgia, discussing “The ‘Other Climate Change’: How Cities Affect Temperature, Thunderstorms, and Floods.” He conducts research on weather and climate systems using advanced satellites, experimental aircraft, radars, and sophisticated computer models. This presentation is scheduled to be streamed online at

Nov. 21Anne Cohen, Ph.D., tenured associate scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, discussing ocean acidification and coral reefs. Cohen’s additional research interests include climate change, biomineralization (marine organisms building calcified structures), and paleoceanography. She is involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change, the Center for Ocean Solutions, and the National Network for Oceans and Climate Change Interpretation.

About the Sagan National Colloquium
Ohio Wesleyan’s Sagan National Colloquium is funded through an endowment from the late Margaret (Pickett) Sagan and the late John Sagan, both members of the OWU Class of 1948. Past Colloquium speakers have included social activist Gloria Steinem, authors Barbara Ehrenreich and Kurt Vonnegut, Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, and former President Gerald Ford. Learn more at

About Ohio Wesleyan University
Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at

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