Speakers Forum

Thursday, 9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. on KUOW

Sarah Vowell, Gloria Steinem, Michael Pollan: you can't make it to every lecture in town but you can hear plenty here. We record talks all over the Puget Sound region, from uber–famous intellectuals to lesser–knowns. From soldiers to urban farmers to humorists; we tape it, then air it on Speakers Forum.

Erik Assadourian and Annie Leonard's book "State of the World 2013."

The buzzword “sustainable” has been around for years — so long that it’s nearly begun to lose its meaning. In order to chart a true sustainable future, we need to make changes to our lifestyles that are more drastic than simply composting or bringing reusable bags to the grocery store.

Erik Assadourian and Annie Leonard are co-authors of the book “State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?” They spoke on September 16 at Town Hall. The talk was moderated by Grist founder Chip Giller.

Ramez Naam's book, "The Infinite Resource."

With so many global challenges — climate change, overpopulation, natural-resource depletion — Ramez Naam argues that the only solution is innovation. Naam is a computer scientist who spent a decade at Microsoft, where he helped develop early versions of Outlook and Internet Explorer. He’s currently adjunct faculty at Singularity University.

Flickr Photo/Elevate Festival

What is the future of food? How can it sustain us? Vandana Shiva is an environmental and anti-globalization activist. Throughout her career, she’s fought for changes in agriculture practices, among other causes. Her latest book is called “Making Peace with the Earth.” She spoke at Town Hall on September 12, 2013, in a talk sponsored by YES! Magazine.

Ralph Richard Banks' book "Is Marriage for White People?"

Though it was once the norm to get hitched right out of high school, marriage has declined throughout American society. This development is the most pronounced among African Americans, and black women are more than three times as likely as white women never to marry. When black women do marry, they are more likely than any other group to wed a man who is less educated or earns less money than they do.

Flickr Photo/David Sifry

Amy Tan’s mother wanted her to become a doctor and a concert pianist. Instead, Tan chose to write fiction, a career that was out of line with her Chinese immigrant parents’ expectations.

Tan’s novels include “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” and “Saving Fish From Drowning,” all of which are New York Times bestsellers.

In this talk, recorded at the University of Washington’s Meany Hall on January 12, 2012, Tan talks about the genesis of creativity, different forms of creative expression and how her own creative process has evolved.

Peggy Orenstein's book "Cinderella Ate My Daughter."

Pink is no longer just a color for young girls — it’s a lifestyle. It celebrates girlhood, but more alarmingly, it fuses girlhood to an obsession with appearance, argues Peggy Orenstein.

Orenstein, an author and the mother of a young girl, was shocked by today’s “princess culture” that forces girls to value material objects and looking pretty over individuality. To research this phenomenon, Orenstein braved toddler beauty pageants, Disneyland and Miley Cyrus concerts, and her resulting book is a tough examination of the girlie-girl culture and its effect on young girls’ identities and futures.

Orenstein spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on February 15, 2012.

Tom Kizzia's book "Pilgrim's Wilderness."

Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia spent a decade following the Pilgrims, a modern-day Alaska pioneer family. With his wife and fifteen children, Papa Pilgrim masqueraded as a homespun Christian family man. Over time, however, Kizzia reveals that this father was actually a sociopath.

Kizzia spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on August 8.

There are consequences to all of our actions — positive and negative, large and small, delayed and immediate.

Biopsychologist Susan Schneider talks about how consequences follow certain scientific principles. She’s the author of “The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World.” She spoke at Town Hall on July 11, 2013.

Joseph Ellis' book "Revolutionary Summer."

In the summer of 1776, 13 colonies seceded from the British Empire. The British sent the largest armada across the Atlantic to quell the rebellion; and a revolution begans.

Historian Joseph Ellis offers a new perspective on the Revolutionary War in his latest book, “Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence.” Ellis spoke at Town Hall on July 10.

Bill Kibben's book "The End of Nature"

In 1989, Bill McKibben wrote what is considered the first book on climate change for a general audience. More than two decades after “The End of Nature,” McKibben is still advocating for the environment. He’s been a main player in the fight to stop the Keystone Pipeline and he focuses this talk on climate change and the Northwest.

He spoke at the Queen Anne United Methodist Church on April 28 as part of The Well lecture series.

From Wikipedia.

When Benjamin Franklin (and friends) brought the ideals of the Enlightenment to a nascent United States, he laid the foundation for the political revolution that would follow. Historian Jonathan Lyons spoke about the founding father and the country’s intellectual coming-of-age in this talk recorded at Town Hall on June 27.

Flickr Photo/rlpporch

Environmental debt — global warming, extreme weather, pollution — is weakening the global economy. Amy Larkin, formerly of Greenpeace, discusses how the natural world and business can coexist. She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on July 1.

Flickr Photo/J_O_I_D

Bullying isn’t new, but the internet and social media have morphed it into something much more sinister. It’s too easy to post a cruel message or photo without considering the consequences. Emily Bazelon talks about the devastating consequences of bullying, as well as what parents and educators can do to promote empathy and understanding. She spoke with Dan Savage at Town Hall on April 29.

You sang it in elementary school, summer camp or church, and you probably still remember the lyrics. Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” is arguably the most iconic American folk song, though history has glossed over the political messages hidden in some of the seldom-sung verses. Robert Santelli unravels the song in this talk recorded at the Elliott Bay Book Company on May 23, 2012.

Annalee Newitz's book "Scatter, Adapt, and Remember."

We’re long overdue for a catastrophic disaster based on studies of Earth’s past. Scary? It probably should be, considering that during our most recent disasters, more than 75 percent of the planet’s species died out. 

Annalee Newitz is a journalist and editor of the science website i09.com. She’s also the author of “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction.” Annalee Newitz talks about how, even though catastrophe may be inevitable, humanity's chances for survival are better now than ever. She spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on May 22.

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