FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2019
Contact: Jason Hogue, Director of Marketing Communications, 402-872-2429
Peru, Nebraska – On October 30, photographer, sailor and explorer, David Thoreson, spoke at Peru State College as part of the 2019-2020 Distinguished Speaker Series. Thoreson also had dinner with students interested in photography and visited classrooms as part of his visit.
Thoreson discussed growing up in the Lake Okoboji area in Iowa, attending the University of Nebraska in Omaha, and fulfilling a boyhood dream of sailing the world’s oceans.[Photo] Thoreson was introduced by Kaylee Gill. Gill is a senior majoring in both Early Childhood Education and Art Education major. She calls both Homer, Nebraska, and Sioux City, Iowa, home.
Thoreson said, “I sailed six times over the Arctic Circle, and below the Antarctic Circle. We were the first American sailors to ever accomplish that feat. I believe I sailed further north or south than any American.”
Though his first expedition in 1994 to sail through the Northwest Passage ended prematurely, he would succeed on his second try in 2007, due in part to a decrease in glacial ice coverage in the Arctic along the Northwest Passage. Thoreson finished his presentation in a discussion of the many northern communities whose livelihoods were being disrupted by climate change.[Photo] David Thoreson
Thoreson said “I’m trying to spur a big movement across Iowa and Nebraska to revive a lot of our natural resources, to bring back water quality and more recreational opportunities for young people and families. Healthy families lead to healthy communities and a healthy state.”
Thoreson spoke on the importance of caring for the planet, “What I feel from a spiritual aspect is, it’s time to start caring for this creation, it’s time for us to start being good stewards of this planet. I feel obligated for many different reasons, and I hope that you do also.”
Continuing, he challenged students, “What will be your legacy? Because you’re the future leaders, right here in this room, and you have a legacy and your career can have a profound impact!
“We’re going to have to start cleaning up a lot of the messes that . . . my generation, previous generations have made. Your generation is going to have to solve problems, and that’s going to create whole new industries . . . in being good stewards of this planet.”
Thoreson stayed for a Q&A with the audience.
David Thoreson grew up in a small Iowa town. He learned to sail and love the water as a boy in the Iowa Great Lakes area where he became an environmental advocate. He shared how these early experiences led to a life of exploration and discovery at the far reaches of the globe while sailing over 70,000 miles around the planet.
Thoreson is the first American in history to sail both directions through the Arctic Ocean’s Northwest Passage. He also completed a 28,000-mile circumnavigation of the North American and South American continents on a research sailboat working with NASA, NOAA and universities from two hemispheres.
His presentation combined stunning visuals and storytelling about the inter-connectivity between people, land and water – at both the local and global level. He provided an eyewitness account of the impact of climate change to sensitive polar and ocean systems that affect the environment worldwide.
David Thoreson is the author of numerous articles and books including his pictorial memoir, Over the Horizon: Exploring the Edges of a Changing Planet. He is an Explorers Club Fellow and participant in the World Science Festival, Nobel Peace Prize Forums, TEDx and United Nations’ Oceans Conference.
Distinguished Speaker Series
Peru State established the Distinguished Speaker Series in fall 2010 as part of its commitment to student engagement and success. The intent of the Series is to bring diverse, nationally and internationally recognized speakers to campus as an educational experience for students while also providing the surrounding communities with opportunities to engage in interesting and relevant topics.
Speakers are encouraged to connect with the community in a variety of ways during their visits through classroom discussions, guest lectures, meet-and-greet receptions and a keynote address.
Quentin Victor contributed to this release.