The green futurist, Alex Steffen, dubbed by the New York Times as the author of a “…stimulating blueprint for fostering progress that can fit on a finite planet,” will deliver the opening keynote speech at the inaugural SXSW Eco Conference. This new event will bring together professionals in business, government and academia who are committed to finding solutions for a sustainable world. Like its sister events in March, SXSW Eco will offer eclectic content, unconventional thinking and fresh inspiration. SXSW Eco will take place at the Downtown Hilton in Austin, Texas, October 4-6, 2011. More details on speakers, session titles and schedules can be found online at http://sxsweco.com/schedule.

Alex Steffen with BookAs one of the world’s leading voices on sustainability, social innovation and planetary futurism, Steffen will address the challenge of living on a rapidly urbanizing planet in the midst of a climate crisis, and the opportunities to imagine, design and build cities that are themselves climate solutions. A key leader in planetary thinking, Steffen will offer an overview of the range of innovative tools available for building these new urban environments, the unexpected opportunities for doing business in them and the political realities of making them happen.

Steffen was Executive Editor of Worldchanging.com after co-founding the organization in 2003. Under his leadership Worldchanging became one of the world’s leading sustainability-related publications, with an archive of almost 12,000 articles and a large global audience until it closed in 2010. His role as a leading voice in planetary futurism has inspired over 600 stories in the media, including a CNN documentary, a New York Times Magazine profile and he was also named to the GOOD 100.

“SXSW Eco promises to do for bright green innovation what the other South By conferences have done for technology, music and film — showcasing some of the best work and thinking in a gathering filled with the people actually on the front-lines of creating that work,” said Steffen. “The green world needs a conference made of groundbreaking ideas and practical inspiration.”

“Alex is the ideal expert to kick-off our inaugural event and leave attendees inspired,” said Scott Wilcox, Director of SXSW Eco. “His passion towards building and creating a more sustainable world will no doubt give our attendees the insights, tools and steps needed to take action on this pressing issue.”

Steffen will join previously announced keynotes Philippe Cousteau Jr., CEO of EarthEcho International and Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy to lead the conference.

Additional programming highlights include Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth blogger/Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding, The New York Times/Pace University, AG Kawamura, former California State Secretary of Food and Agriculture, LaTosha Brown, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health, Gary Lawrence, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, AECOM, David Buckland, Director, Cape Farewell, Simran Sethi, Associate Professor, William Allen White School Of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas, John Pflueger, Principal Environmental Strategist, Dell, Alison Taylor, Vice President, Sustainability – Americas, Siemens Corporation, Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado and Melanie Nutter, Director of the San Francisco Department for the Environment.

SXSW Eco will see speakers from a diverse group of companies including IBM, Siemens, Dell, Walmart, AECOM, Interface and HP. Speakers from Non-Governmental Organizations include Oxfam, Conservation International, Greenpeace, DiCaprio Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Center, World Futures Council, EDF and GCCA. The City of San Francisco, HHS, EPA, DOE and the City of Austin round out the list of Governmental speakers.

Previous panelists announced include Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine; Andy Ridley, Earth Hour; Michael E Webber, University of Texas; Susan Hunt Stevens, Practically Green; Alison Taylor, Siemens; Brian Tippens, HP; Bill Shutkin, Presidio Graduate School; Jeff Nesbitt, Climate Nexus; David Buckland, Cape Farewell; Wendy Brawer, Green Map System; Matthew Gardner, Sustainserv, Inc.; Aimée Christensen, Christensen Global Strategies; Geoff Dabelko, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Walter Wang, Sunflower Tax; Lora Kolodny, Fastcompany.com; Jackie Savitz, Oceana; Michael Legatt, Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT); Michael P. Nelson, Michigan State University; Brewster Mccracken, Pecan Street Project; Trevor Houser, Rhodium Group; Paul Allen, Constellation Energy; Damon E Waitt Ph.D., Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center University of Texas at Austin; Armando Rayo, Cultural Strategies: Colin Mutchler, LoudSauce; J. David Bamberger, Bamberger Ranch Preserve; LaTosha Brown, Gulf Coast Fund; Dana Bourland, Enterprise Community Partners; Bee Moorhead, Texas Interfaith Power & Light; Kathleen Dean Moore, Oregon State University; and Josh Dorfman, Goodguide. For a full listing of speakers and sessions, please visit www.sxsweco.com/schedule/sessions/.

The SXSW Eco Conference will take place at the Hilton Austin from Tuesday, October 4 through Thursday, October 6. SXSW Eco registration will include three days of programming, an opening night reception, registrants’ dinner and a closing party featuring live entertainment. SXSW Eco registration is available now at the discounted rate of $800. Student and academic discounts of 50% will be available to qualified applicants. For more information on the SXSW Eco schedule, registration, and more, visit www.sxsweco.com/attend/.

Media Partners for SXSW Eco are Triple Pundit, The Texas Tribune and TreeHugger. For information about these media partners, please visit www.sxsweco.com/media/.

About SXSW Eco
SXSW Eco will feature three days of diverse, top-level programming for professionals in business, government, non-profits and academia who want to look at environmental and sustainability issues though a fresh lens, develop new collaborations, and contribute to innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the environment, the economy and civil society.

Just as the SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Conferences & Festivals are an acknowledged annual launching pad for new creative content and collaboration, SXSW Eco provides a singular atmosphere for fresh approaches to the most pressing sustainability challenges of our time. The inaugural edition of SXSW Eco will be held October 4-6, 2011 at the Hilton Austin in Austin, Texas. www.sxsweco.com

About SXSW Conferences & Festivals
The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals (March 9-18, 2012) offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW® is the premier destination for discovery.

Year after year, the event is a launching pad for new creative content. New media presentations, music showcases and film screenings provide buzz-generating exposure for creators and compelling entertainment for audiences. Conference panel discussions present a forum for learning, business activity thrives at the Trade Shows and global networking opportunities abound. Austin serves as the perfect backdrop for SXSW®, where career development flourishes amid the relaxed atmosphere. Intellectual and creative intermingling among industry leaders continues to spark new ideas and carve the path for the future of each ever-evolving field, long after the events’ conclusion. www.sxsw.com

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