The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Four Lavin Speakers Featured on Prospect Magazine’s Best Books of 2019 Lists

Shoshana Zuboff, Jared Diamond, David Wallace-Wells, and Naomi Klein are undoubtedly some of the most interesting thinkers of our time—and Prospect recently named their newest books to their prestigious Best of 2019 series.

Shoshana Zuboff’s groundbreaking The Age of Surveillance Capitalism—called “an epoch-defining international bestseller” by Guardian—is also one of Prospect’s picks for the Best Books of Bold Ideas. And it’s no wonder— it’s already named one of TIME’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2019 and one of Bloomberg’s Best Books of 2019. Zuboff created the new term—surveillance capitalism—to describe our current era where private data has a price, and we’ve fallen behind on protecting ourselves from the corporations that aim to control our spending and social habits. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a fascinating, frightening, and powerful read. Zuboff urges leaders to pay attention, compels citizens to resist habituation, and explores how together, we can come up with innovative responses to an invasive new era. 


Pulitzer Prize winning author Jared Diamond’s newest book, Upheaval, explores why some nations fail and others recover in the face of conflict. Connecting coping mechanisms more commonly associated with personal trauma to show how successful nations recover from crisis; his work offers a refreshing take on some of the most profound evolutionary questions of our time. Also on Prospect’s picks for Best Books of Bold Ideas, Diamond’s work explores how we can improve modern society from looking to the past, and interrogates the collective strides necessary to do so—before it’s too late.


Making their list of Best Science Books of 2019 is The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells. A sweeping, vibrant, and alarming look at “what will the world actually look like” in the not-so-distant future. Already hailed in year-end acknowledgements by the likes the New York TimesGQ, and TIME, Wallace-Wells’ work made waves around the globe this year: pulling no punches and exploring the existential fear of environmental collapse in addition to its very real inevitability if we resist large-scale socioeconomic reform.


Also featured on Prospect’s year-end round up of notable science titles is the most recent offering from award-winning journalist and best-selling author Naomi Klein, On Fire. Her eye-opening writing on acute environmental decline exposes not only our past misdeeds, but our current failings leading to an unsustainable, unstable world. But it’s not all doom and gloom—Klein also explores compelling practical solutions and the fundamental realignment of the economy needed to ensure we have any future at all.


To book speakers Jared Diamond, Shoshana Zuboff, David Wallace-Wells, and Naomi Klein, contact The Lavin Agency, their exclusive speakers bureau.

The Anthropocene Project, Featuring the Acclaimed Photography of Edward Burtynsky, Launches New VR App

The Anthropocene Project—the cumulative work of a years-long exploration of humanity’s impact on the world—is embracing the future with a new VR app. A multidisciplinary endeavor combining a feature documentary (directed by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nicholas de Pencier), art photography, scientific research, and now VR, The Anthropocene Project engages viewers with its in-depth inquiry into the human influence on the future of our planet. 

Now, three of the project’s short documentaries are linked up with VR apps, so curious minds can immerse themselves in a captivating narrative full of Edward Burtynsky’s staggering visuals in a full 360° experience. The three original films featured are Ivory Burn (capturing the largest ivory burn in history and its symbolic message to illegal trade syndicates, while bearing witness to the loss of the diversity of animal life it embodied); Dandora (exploring the largest landfill in Kenya and the microeconomy—and massive geological change—it enables); and Carrara (following the ecological impact of the global export economy of precious marble).


Burtynsky’s remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over fifty major museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His exhibitions, which have all been published as books, include Manufactured LandscapesBefore the FloodChinaOil, and Water. Burtynsky’s photos explore the complicated link between industry and nature, resulting in incredibly evocative visuals that find beauty and humanity even amid destruction. 


He has spoken at the Library of Congress, was one of the first recipients of the TED Prize, and is also an Officer of the Order of Canada.  He has been named one of named one of Canada’s Greatest Explorers by Canadian Geographic, and, in November 2019, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society presented him with the Gold Medal for his work in environmental photography.


The Anthropocene Project’s VR app is now available on Apple, Google Play, and Viveport; coming soon to Oculus Rift, Gear VR, and Go. Alternately, you can explore the films in 360° via the links here.


To book speaker Edward Burtynsky, contact his exclusive speakers bureau, The Lavin Agency.

Edward Burtynsky Premieres New Documentary ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch

Four years in the making, ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch is a feature documentary from the award-winning team of Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nicholas de Pencier. It’s a masterful meditation on humanity’s massive reshaping of the planet, and debuts in over 100 theaters in the US alone, to coincide with the UN Climate Action Summit.

ANTHROPOCENE follows the research of the Anthropocene Working Group, an international body of scientists who’ve studied the profoundly impactful changes humans have made to the Earth. It’s the third in an award-winning trilogy where Burtynsky’s life and work is explored. Traveling the globe, Burtynsky and his collaborators document the damning evidence that we are, indeed, in the anthropocene: the geological epoch wherein humans are the main cause of permanent planetary change.


Exploring the intersection of art and science, Burtynsky’s work has always been remarkable; depicting global industrial landscapes and capturing critical moments in geological history so provocatively that his images have been included in the collections of over fifty major museums around the world—including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He’s spoken at the Library of Congress, is one of the first recipients of the TED Prize, and has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

To book speaker Edward Burtynsky, contact his exclusive speakers bureau, The Lavin Agency.


Naomi Klein’s New Book On Fire Hits Shelves Just in Time for #ClimateStrike

As students, workers, and people from all walks of life around the world are striking in the name of climate reform, bestselling author and renowned journalist Naomi Klein has released a hot new title—On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a New Green Deal.

A longtime prominent figure calling for international attention to the climate crisis, Klein once again thoroughly lays out exactly where we stand in terms of the environment—and exactly how fast we’re sinking into the irreversible, devastating consequences of our actions—and lack thereof.


A true force of nature herself, Klein is beloved by climate activists seasoned and blossoming alike: hailed as the “intellectual godmother of the Green New Deal,” by 350.org founder Bill McKibben, and as the “great chronicler of our age of climate emergency, an inspirer of generations,” by Greta Thunberg, her powerful influence has had a ripple effect on an international level. 


In On Fire, Klein writes with renewed urgency from the frontlines of modern natural disaster; issuing prescient warnings and illustrating that the fight for a greener planet is one and the same with a fight for our lives—and social justice. Reflecting her burning prose and call to action is the fiery passion of protesters worldwide hoping to catalyze real change; to inject the impetus to enact a New Green Deal now—lest we incinerate instead. Although never without hopeful glimpses to a better future, Klein has never slowed down in her fight—because climate change isn’t slowing down either.

New Speaker Michael Green Has a Solution to Housing Shortages—And It’s Sustainable

With the climate crisis rapidly snowballing, how can we afford to house the 3 billion people who will need homes in the next twenty years? For sustainable architect Michael Green, the answer is building with wood.

Almost half of our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are related to the building industry. The materials of the last centuryconcrete and steelaccount for 8% of global emissions. By looking to nature, award-winning architect and new Lavin speaker Michael Green explains how we can solve two problemsworld housing and climate changein an innovative, systemic way. He advocates for sweeping changes in building regulations to embrace wood as a building material for large-scale projects—even 30 foot tall skyscrapers (otherwise known as “plyscrapers”). “I believe that wood is the most technologically advanced material I can build with,” Green explains. “It just happens to be that Mother Nature holds the patent, and we don't really feel comfortable with it.”


Green authored the book The Case for Tall Wood Buildings. His company, Michael Green Architecture, was recently acquired by Silicon Valley construction start-up Katerra, a move that Green says will help “advance our agenda on design, quality, sustainability, and affordability.”

Michael Green: Why we should build wooden skyscrapers


To book Michael Green or another Environment speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today.

Shalini Kantayya at TED: The Future of The American Dream is Green

“Saving our environment doesn’t come at the cost of jobs and the economy,” says filmmaker, environmentalist, and TED Fellow Shalini KantayYa in her newest TED Residency talk. Instead, she says, we need to think about cultivating a clean future, while creating opportunities today.

“The idea of pulling myself up by my boot-straps was laced into my coconut chutney,” begins Shalini Kantayya, citing her mother’s work ethic and influence in her choice to become a filmmaker. “How will you eat!” was the question leveled at her, and in some ways, that is what Kantayya asks in her award-winning documentary films.


“How will you eat?” turns into: how can we be nourished? How can we create a relationship with our environment that sustains us both now and in the future—without destroying it? As Kantayya discovered while gathering footage for her film in Richmond, California, it begins with challenging the notion that environmentalism is a pursuit of the privileged. Creating a robust, clean energy industry in the US (and beyond) is only one step to transitioning to a clean and just future. We all deserve “equal access to the ladder of opportunity,” she says. 


Kantayya’s production company 7th Empire Media works to create a culture of human rights and sustainability through imaginative media. She most recently directed Breakthrough for National Geographic: a series profiling trailblazing scientists who will transform our future (returning for a second season in May 2017), with Executive Producer by Ron Howard. Her latest film, Catching the Sun, explores the race for the clean energy future through the stories of solar entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China. The film premiered at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival and was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick.  

To book Shalini Kantayya for your event, contact the Lavin Agency today. 

“Energy Policy Is Social Policy”: Shalini Kantayya’s Catching the Sun

In eco-activist and educator Shalini Kantayya’s new film Catching the Sun, audiences get an inside look at America’s green-energy industry and the people driving it. Focused on workers at a solar power jobs training program in Richmond, California, Catching the Sun poses one of the most important questions of our time: can the United States build a clean energy economy?

A William D. Fulbright Scholar and past lecturer at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and USC, Kantayya envisions a sustainable planet through a human-rights lens. Both a Sundance Fellow and a TED fellow, she finished in the top 10 out of 12,000 filmmakers in Steven Spielberg’s reality directorial competition On the Lot. Her first film, A Drop of Life, organized for clean drinking water in 40 villages across Africa, impacting the lives of thousands of people.

Now, in Catching the Sun—a film activist and actor Mark Ruffalo calls “must-see”—Kantayya examines the tensions between an expanding solar-power industry and an economy still based around unsustainable fossil fuels, and explores solar energy’s massive potential as a solution to both economic downturn and climate change. Two stories are told in tandem: one, a snapshot of working-class American life, and the other, the global race to lead the clean energy future. At their intersection lies a poignant lesson—how America can build a green economy, fight pollution, and combat poverty at once.

Running from April 1st to 7th at Cinema Village in New York—with a special Q&A with Kantayya after screenings on April 2nd—Catching the Sun investigates our century’s global energy transition and demonstrates how people can take the power generation into their own hands.

For more information on booking Shalini Kantayya—or on other TED Fellows and environment speakerscontact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

A Leap of the Human Imagination: Shalini Kantayya on Solar Energy

Check out Lavin keynote speaker, filmmaker, and eco-activist Shalini Kantayya in a Second Screen Interview clip from the National Geographic Channel’s Breakthrough. With infectious optimism, Kantayya describes a world no longer dependent on fossil fuels: a more peaceful, cleaner, sustainable planet that’s made the switch to cheap and renewable solar energy. In her film Catching the Sun—an Official Selection for the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival—she asks the tough questions about how we can build a clean energy economy based on the sun’s abundant power. “It’s not just good for the one percent,” she explains in this clip. “It’s good for the 100 percent.”

To find out more about what building a green economy will actually look like from the ground up, book inspiring filmmaker Shalini Kantayya for your next event by contacting The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

Capitalism vs. the Climate: New Speaker Naomi Klein Takes on Global Warming

Bestselling author Naomi Klein has joined The Lavin Agency as a new exclusive speaker. Klein is one of the world's most celebrated public intellectuals, with millions of copies of her books The Shock Doctrine and No Logo in print around the globe. Now, she is upending the climate change debate with her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate: “the most momentous and contentious environmental book since Silent Spring” (New York Times).

“Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war,” says Klein. “There is still time to avoid catastrophic warming, but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed.” In her talks, she shares her definitive message on what we must do—what we must change—to save our planet. Check out the video embedded above to see her recent keynote at the Bioneers Conference, which received a standing ovation.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate

Forget everything you think you know about global warming. The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism. The convenient truth is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed system and build something radically better. In her most provocative talk yet, Naomi Klein tackles the most profound threat humanity has ever faced: the war our economic model is waging against life on earth.  

We have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. We have been told it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it—it just requires breaking every rule in the “free-market” playbook. We have also been told that humanity is too greedy and selfish to rise to this challenge. In fact, all around the world, the fight back is already succeeding in ways both surprising and inspiring. Climate change, Klein argues, is a civilizational wake-up call, a powerful message delivered in the language of fires, floods, storms, and droughts. Confronting it is no longer about changing the light bulbs. It’s about changing the world—before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe. Either we leap—or we sink.

To book Naomi Klein as a speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

Water Issues Have No Borders: Speakers Charles Fishman, Shalini Kantayya

Imagine if one day you woke up, turned the faucet, and realized your city had run out of clean drinking water. As water speaker Shalini Kantayya explains, this isn't just a concern for people living in sub-Saharan Africa. Various regions in Texas have been dealing with the very real problem of water scarcity for years. The southern state has been making headlines recently over concerns of diminishing, and in some case diminished, potable water supplies. Some sources are blaming oil fracking for the problem, others say mismanagement and arid conditions are the cause. Atlanta and Detroit have also come dangerously close to running out of potable water over the years. Whatever the cause, one thing is certain: “There are no borders on this crisis anymore,” Kantayya says.

“Two-thirds of the world's citizens, an estimated 4 billion people, will not have adequate access to water by the year 2027,” she said in a poignant keynote speech. That's a global problem that Charles Fishman, author of The Big Thirst and a prominent speaker on water issues, says we need to stop being so blasé about. We have to learn the lessons that these water shortages are teaching us, he explains. In Australia, for example, they began having a conversation about water distribution that started during a drought—but didn't stop once it rained. In the United States, however, some major cities have come within days of running out of water, but went back to business as usual when they were saved by a rain storm. With that attitude, he tells us during an interview at Lavin, we could be in some real trouble.

So what do we do? It's important to realize that water problems are not specific to developing countries—they're happening right in our own backyards. It's also crucial that we start taking water issues seriously within our communities. Finally, as Fishman argues, “water problems can only be solved where they're happening.”  We need to start looking at water problems locally, starting with ventures that include “big cities looking for a variety of ways of supplying their own water, instead of relying on one project,” he adds. That way, they have multiple resources to draw from in case one project is shut down due to an unforeseeable event. Water is our most precious resource—it's time we change our attitude about how we manage it.

To book Shalini Kantayya or Charles Fishman as speakers for your next conference on water issues, both in the private and public sector, contact The Lavin Agency.

Drops Of Life: World Water Day Speakers Charles Fishman & Shalini Kantayya

2013 has been declared as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. And, today is World Water Day. Charles Fishman and Shalini Kantayya, both water speakers, think it's vital that we pay more attention to, and redefine the way we look at, our most precious natural resource. Why? According to Kantayya, we are the midst of a looming water crisis. As she discovered when shooting her film Drop of Life, two-thirds of the world's population will be without access to clean drinking water by the year 2027. And that doesn't just mean people in developing countries—the impacts of this massive shift will affect us all. In fact, as she explained in a recent interview, water is set to become the most important commodity of this century.

In his bestselling book, The Big Thirst, Charles Fishman has come to a similar conclusion. He examines how water-related issues have come to define our times. The golden age of water we once lived in—where water was unlimited, safe, and free—is over, he says. He has spent the last three years traversing the globe to uncover the way our water use is changing, and the dramatic implications these changes have for all us. Broadly applicable and insightful, both speakers bring the water conservation message home—laying out what we need to do today to ensure a promising future.

Shalini Kantayya: A Water Crisis Is Looming—And It’s Happening Everywhere

“Water is becoming the commodity of the 21st century.” Shalini Kantayya says in a new interview. “In fact, the former president of the World Bank said: if the wars were fought of the last century over oil, the wars of this century will be fought over water.” That is the message she conveys in her Sci-Fi film A Drop of Life—that we are all in the midst of a water crisis. As she says during the interview on Breakfast Television, she originally intended her film to be based more on fiction than science—until she found out that the things she predicted for the future were already happening today. Water is being rationed and sold, and there are many places in the world where you are not given free access to unlimited water.

Many North Americans think that water shortages are only a problem on the other side of the world. However, Kantayya says that the enormous quantities of water required for hydraulic fracturing or fracking (a process used to harness oil and other energy sources) is a major concern for those in the Western world. Jeff Rubin, a renowned economist, has written two articles recently about this very problem. However, both he and Kantayya believe that reliance on more sustainable energy solutions can not only protect our nature resources (like water) but benefit the economy as well. Rubin has said that the rise in oil prices will trigger a movement toward the use of more sustainable energy sources. And, as Kantayya predicts, “renewable energy could be the economic opportunity of the next century.”

Kantayya also presented a screening of her award-winning film Drop of Life to students at MacEwan University. As part of Global Awareness Week on the campus, she presented her thoughts on environmental concerns and participated in a Q&A with the students afterward. The TED Fellow uses film as a medium to explore the intersection of human rights with concerns over depleting resources. In her talks, she discusses the path she has taken to create her films, and why the issues she tackles are important to us all.

Climate-Proofing Your City: Eric Klinenberg in The New Yorker

Superstorm Sandy served as a powerful wake up call for policy makers. Not only are people now starting to think critically about the ramifications of an increase in severe weather, but social scientists like Eric Klinenberg are also looking at how we can “climate-proof our cities” to better cope with these natural disasters. In a recent New Yorker article, he explains that having a better understanding of how people live in a city, and who they are living in a city with, can help us minimize damage during weather-related calamities. As he explains, “understanding why some neighborhoods fare better in a crisis than others that resemble them can help us prepare for the next disaster…[and] if our cities are to survive, we have no choice but to adapt.”

As Klinenberg argues, the biggest threat to our survival is our inability to slow or reverse the pace of climate change. However, just because we cannot prevent severe weather from occurring doesn't mean we can't be better prepared for them. As he discovered while researching for his book Heat Wave, there were certain groups of people living in specific areas of Chicago who fared better than others in the 1995 heat wave. By pinpointing who is the most resilient during a crisis, we can then take the necessary steps to protect the most vulnerable—and mimic the conditions of the least vulnerable—in preparation for an upcoming extreme weather event.

Klinenberg is an expert on societal interaction and has devoted a large portion of his work to understanding the makeup of cities. His breakthrough new book, Going Solo, explores the increasingly popular trend of living alone and explains that a rising number of people are now choosing to go solo. Understanding the way people live and interact with others around them is crucial to effective urban planning, he explains in the article. Withstanding potential threats requires a firm understanding of the demographic makeup of the area set to be hit the hardest by an impending storm. As he notes in his writing and his speeches, we can make more informed decisions if we dig deeper into emerging trends in demographics—and thus, can build better, stronger, and more prosperous cities in the process.

A Drop of Life: Shalini Kantayya’s Sci-Fi Film Tackles Water Scarcity

Even though it’s a sci-fi film, A Drop of Life features an alarmingly poignant account of the future of water privatization that is actually much closer to fact than fiction.

For those who have never had to worry about clean drinking water, this documentary, directed by environmental speaker Shalini Kantayya, may come as an illuminating shock. Set for a wide release on the Indian broadcast NDTV Profit this Saturday, Kantayya’s film depicts a world where water is rationed in quantities not sufficient for human survival – where only the wealthy can afford to purchase what they need. It may take a suspension of disbelief to imagine worrying about having enough money to purchase something so vital to one's existence, but—in some parts of the world—requiring the swipe of a credit card to quench one's thirst is an all-too-real fact.

Part of the Docs+ program, A Drop of Life explores what the future may hold if the preservation of clean drinking water is not pushed to the top of the agenda – something that is at the crux of the keynote addresses that Kantayya delivers. Projecting this message in a way that was not cliche or trite was paramount to the Eco-activist, and her documentary is equal parts dramatic, gripping and inspirational; it provides an enlightening account of just how precious a few drops of water really are.