The Environment

McCloskey Speaker Series – Under A White Sky: The Nature of the Future

July 8, 2021  • Aspen Community Programs

If you were unable to register for the event ahead of time, you may watch it here.

Featuring Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” and commentator on environmentalism for The New Yorker, speaking on her new book, “Under A White Sky: The Nature of the Future,” in conversation with the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program Executive Director Greg Gershuny. Kolbert has explored the many ways in which man’s destruction has reshaped the natural world. Now she examines how the very sorts of interventions that have imperiled our planet are increasingly seen as the only hope for its salvation.

Virtual event


Order her book, “Under A White Sky: The Nature of the Future” here.

“To be a well-informed citizen of Planet Earth, you need to read Elizabeth Kolbert. . . . It’s a tribute to Kolbert’s skills as a storyteller that she transforms the quest to deal with the climate crisis into a darkly comic tale of human hubris and imagination that could either end in flames or in a new vision of Paradise.”—Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone

“A superb and honest reflection of our extraordinary time.”Nature

“What makes Under A White Sky so valuable and such a compelling read is Kolbert tells by showing. Without beating the reader over the head, she makes it clear how far we already are from a world of undisturbed, perfectly balanced nature—and how far we must still go to find a new balance for the planet’s future that still has us humans in it.”—NPR


Elizabeth Kolbert is the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change and The Sixth Extinction, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. For her work at The New Yorker, where she’s a staff writer, she has received two National Magazine Awards and the Blake-Dodd Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.

Greg Gershuny is the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program (EEP). The Energy and Environment Program, one of the longest running at the Aspen Institute, strives to design and cultivate leadership and develop solutions based on the ideal that both humankind and the natural world have intrinsic value. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Greg served as the Associate Director and Chief of Staff for the US Department of Energy Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis where he worked on clean energy and energy security policy. Greg also served in the White House for five years under President Barack Obama, where he was the Director of Energy and Environment for the Office of Presidential Personnel and oversaw the Presidential appointment process for the energy and environment mission agencies. He also served as a policy aide to the Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, working on research and development and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education policy, and as a Research Associate for the White House National Economic Council for technology and innovation policy. Greg is a graduate of George Mason University and originally hails from New Jersey.