Western Reads author comes to campus this week
Nancy Lord, Alaska's former Writer Laureate,
will spend several days at Western.
An Alaskan author whose book vividly describes how climate change is reshaping the landscape of Alaska will visit the campus for several days this quarter as part of Western’s annual Western Reads events.
Nancy Lord will speak in a wide variety of classrooms this month, from science and art to education and political science, to discuss “Early Warming: Crisis and Response in the Climate-Changed North.”
This year’s Western Reads schedule is the most robust of any in the program’s 10-year history, says Western Reads Director Dawn Dietrich, an associate professor of English.
Lord, Alaska’s former Writer Laureate, will be a writer-in residence at Western for eight days. In addition to her classroom appearances, she’ll give several public talks and readings, including “The Warming Warning: What the North Is Telling us Now,” Feb. 6.
Each year, Western Reads features academic offerings, guest speakers and campus events focusing on the issues raised in the Western Reads book, which is given to all incoming freshmen and transfer students. The book is also available for sale at Western’s bookstore.
“Early Warming” was selected because it gives climate change a human face, Dietrich says. Lord weaves human experience and scientific knowledge to tell the stories of the people and the landscapes in the North, where the effects of global warming are immediate and life-changing. She includes the experiences of a wide variety of Alaskans, including small-town coastal residents struggling to move their village out of the way of rising seas, and indigenous fishermen adapting to the warming seas that send their catches farther and farther north.
Author Nancy Lord
"The Warming Warning: What the North Is Telling Us Now"
Thursday, Feb. 6
Arntzen Hall 100
Saturday, Feb. 8
Village Books, Bellingham
"Climate Change and Human Rights: Lessons from Alaska"
Wednesday, Feb. 12
Western students and faculty have been using Lord’s book as a springboard all year. Last fall, Western partnered with the Whatcom Museum of History and Art to give students a reduced admission fee to “Vanishing Ice,” an exhibit exploring artists’ depictions of climate change. And the Pickford Film Center in Bellingham offered students reduced-price admission to its showing of the documentary “Chasing Ice.”
The museum partnered with Western to share costs for speakers, events and promotional materials, which helped boost the offerings in the Western Reads schedule, Dietrich says.
In addition to her classroom talks, Lord will present “Climate Change and Human Rights: Lessons from Alaska,” on Feb. 12 for the World Issues Forum, a speaker series that this quarter is devoted to topics related to climate change. Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies is also offering a series of special courses related to climate change and environmental justice.
Lord is also scheduled to speak at the Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference at Western Feb. 6 and 7. Off campus, she will read at Village Books Feb. 8.
Western Reads events will continue this spring: Author Naomi Oreskes will speak at Western on April 17 on her book, “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.”
And on May 17, well-known environmentalist and author Bill McKibben will speak in Western’s Performing Arts Center.
The Western Reads selection committee of faculty, staff and students has begun selecting next year’s book and are taking ideas now. Click here to learn more.