Public Release: 

Bill McKibben to receive President's Medal of The Geological Society of America

Award to be conferred Sunday, 4 November, at the 2012 Annual Meeting & Exposition in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Geological Society of America

Boulder, Colorado, USA - Each year, The Geological Society of America (GSA) recognizes outstanding scientific achievements and distinguished service to the geoscience profession. This year, outgoing GSA President John Geissman will present the 2012 President's Medal to author and environmental activist Bill McKibben.

The award will be presented at the GSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition, immediately following the Society's Presidential Address on Sunday, 4 November, 12:15-1:15 p.m. in Ballroom A of the Charlotte (North Carolina) Convention Center. Later, at 3 p.m. and in the same room, McKibben will lecture on "Getting Serious about Climate Change," followed by a book signing in the GSA Headquarters area of the Exhibit Hall at the Charlotte Convention Center.

McKibben, who recently (5 Oct. 2012) appeared on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher and was featured in the October 2012 issue of Outside magazine, is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College. He is the author of more than a dozen books on the environment, beginning in 1989 with The End of Nature. His most recent book, Eaarth, describes the "new" planet that humans will inhabit in the not too distant future.

McKibben is also the founder of, a growing grassroots climate campaign that has coordinated thousands of peaceful rallies in over 190 countries since 2009 to draw attention to Earth's rapidly changing environment.

In his citation for this award, Geissman, professor of geoscience at The University of Texas at Dallas writes, "If you stood on a spot on the surface of our home (the only one we will ever have) where no other human has set foot, you would gather all of it in, cherish it and relish the experience forever. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, wrote, 'We are visitors on this planet. We are here for one hundred years at the very most. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people's happiness, you will find the true meaning of life.' I think that you will agree with me that the recipient of the 2012 President's Medal of the Geological Society of America has indeed done something very useful with his life. It is a true pleasure and true honor to present this Medal to Mr. Bill McKibben."

Commissioned in 2007, the President's Medal of the Geological Society of America is awarded to individuals, groups, or entities whose impact has profoundly enhanced the geoscience profession (a) through supporting and contributing to the Society; (b) by advancing geosciences, enhancing professional growth, and/or promoting geosciences in service of humankind; and/or (c) significantly enlarging the range of scientific achievement for the growth of our profession.


Read more about GSA's 2012 Annual Meeting & Exposition at

Read more about GSA's medals and awards at

Representatives of the media and public information officers from universities, government agencies, and research institutions, may participate in technical sessions, field trips, and other special events at the Annual Meeting. Eligible media personnel will receive complimentary registration and are invited to use GSA's newsroom facilities while at the meeting. Journalists and PIOs must pay for any short courses or field trips in which they wish to participate.

For information on media eligibility, go to Media personnel may register onsite in the GSA Newsroom (room 204) at the Charlotte Convention Center. Wireless Internet access and a quiet space for interviews will be provided in the newsroom, along with beverages and light snacks throughout the day.

Newsroom Hours of Operation

  • Saturday, 3 Nov., 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, 4 Nov., through Tuesday, 6 Nov., 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 7 Nov., 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Newsroom telephone number (incoming calls): +1-704-339-6207 (starting Saturday afternoon).

Contact Christa Stratton, GSA Director of Communications & Marketing, for additional information and assistance.

The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, USA, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.


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