Author Elizabeth Rush to Speak on Climate Change at Sweet Briar

Author Elizabeth Rush will speak to the Sweet Briar College community on March 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Chapel as part of the college’s annual Julia B. Waxter Environmental Forum. The event is free and open to the public.

Rush will give a special presentation and Q&A session on climate change as an intersectional issue, with a particular focus on women and gender. This topic is featured in her forthcoming book The Quickening: On Motherhood and Antarctica in the Twenty First Century which is scheduled to publish in August 2023.

She also will draw on her previous book, Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, a 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist in general nonfiction. In Rising, she weaves together her personal experience with first hand testimonials of those living on climate change’s front lines, and guides readers through some of the places where sea level rise already is becoming a reality.

In The Quickening, Rush documents a voyage she shared with fifty-seven scientists and crew onboard a research icebreaker where they lived for months researching the Antarctic Thwaites Glacier, nicknamed the Doomsday Glacier. There they seek to learn as much as possible about this mysterious place, never before visited by humans, and believed to be both rapidly deteriorating and capable of making a catastrophic impact on global sea-level rise this century. In her book, Rush shares the workaday moments of this groundbreaking expedition and all the effort that went into caring for and protecting human life in a place that is inhospitable to it.

After working as a journalist reporting from coastal communities already feeling the pressure of higher tides and stronger storms, Rush also continues to write for a wide range of publications from the New York Times to Orion and Guernica. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, the

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Howard Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Metcalf Institute. Today she lives in Providence, Rhode Island where she teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University.

“We are so excited for Elizabeth Rush to visit Sweet Briar College. As our campus community engages with her and her work, we will be building on the conversations we are having daily in our classrooms and courtyards about climate change and its impacts around the world. We are grateful to the Waxter family for providing the support to host Rush and so many other speakers over the years, including Elizabeth Kolbert, Barbara Kingsolver, and E.O. Wilson,” said Lisa Powell, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Agriculture and Director of the Center for Human and Environmental Sustainability.

The Julia B. Waxter Environmental Forum is supported by an endowment established at Sweet Briar College by the late Julia Baldwin Waxter ’49 and her husband, Bill. In addition to presenting a public lecture, each forum speaker interacts with environmental science students through class visits, a dinner and informal conversations.