July 27, 2011, Austin, Texas – South by Southwest (SXSW) Eco announced today that Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, will serve as a keynote speaker at the inaugural conference. The event, intended to bring together experts in the fields committed to finding solutions for a sustainable world, will take place at the Hilton Austin in Austin, Texas, October 4-6, 2011.The leader of one of the largest global conservation organizations, Tercek will speak on the opportunities and challenges of conservation in the 21st century, and innovative partnerships and ideas that are driving win-win conservation results that are beneficial for people and nature. For decades, The Nature Conservancy has recognized that the private sector has an important role to play in advancing its conservation mission. The organization currently works across all sectors of industry and society to help advance their mission of protecting the natural world. Tercek will also share his unique combination of experience in financial and environmental markets, global business, and recognized leadership on climate change and other conservation issues with SXSW Eco registrants.

Before joining The Nature Conservancy, Mark was a managing director at Goldman Sachs, where he played a key role in developing the firm’s environmental strategy. He headed the firm’s Environmental Strategy Group and Center for Environmental Markets. Mark is a member of several boards and councils, including Resources for the Future, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions , the National Petroleum Council and the Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mark earned an M.B.A. from Harvard and a B.A. from Williams College.

“We are honored to announce Mark Tercek as the first keynote speaker for SXSW Eco,” said SXSW Eco Director Scott Wilcox. “His distinguished background in the private sector, combined with his forward-thinking leadership of the world’s largest environmental non-profit, will provide our community with an invaluable perspective on how to achieve tangible results through unique collaborations. Mark embodies the out-of-box thinking we want to highlight with SXSW Eco.”

“In a rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever that we bring together diverse perspectives on ways to balance the needs of people and nature,” said Tercek. “This conference will be an important new forum for generating fresh thinking about the opportunities and challenges ahead as we work to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends.”

SXSW Eco will feature three days of diverse, top-level programming organized within three key themes: Solutions for Today: Replicating Success, The Social Sphere: Influencing Human Behavior, and Steps Towards the Future: Vision and Opportunity. The event is designed 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.

Previously announced conference sessions include “Nature’s Operating Manual: Solving our biggest challenges utilizing 3.8 Billion Years of proven R&D,” “Building a Knowosphere to Foster Progress on Our Only Sphere,” “Is there an ‘Arab Spring’ for Environmental Activism?,” “From Site to Corporate: Managing Energy and Utilities in a Global Economy,” “The Future of Carbon after America’s Silence,” “Trends and Strategies: Employee Engagement and Sustainability,” and “Let’s Stop Talking About Sustainability: How our current vocabulary is failing us.”

Announced speakers for the event include Andrew Revkin, The New York Times/Pace University; Simran Sethi, William Allen White School Of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas; Ned Breslin, Water For People; Scott W. Tinker, PhD, State Geologist of Texas; Niyanta Spelman, Rainforest Partnership; Jeff Nesbit, Climate Nexus; Scott Edward Anderson, The Green Skeptic; Susan Hunt Stevens, Practically Green; Erik Assadourian, Worldwatch Institute; Rick Thompson, Greentech Media; Leslie Danziger, The GLASS Forum; Tim Mohin, AMD; and Jigar Shaw, The Carbon War Room, among many others. For more information on confirmed sessions visit www.sxsweco.com.

Recently revealed were additional members of the SXSW Eco Advisory Board. New Advisory Board members include: Karl Van Orsdol, Global Strategist, HP Energy and Sustainability Management, Hewlett Packard; Kelly Rigg, Executive Director, Global Campaign for Climate Action; Ingrid Vanderveldt, Founding Organizer of The GLASS Forum for Women and Managing Partner of VH2 Energy Investments LLC; and Mitch Jacobson, Co-Director, ATI Clean Energy, who will join previously announced participants Robert Skinner, Associate Director, United Nations Foundation; Callum Grieve, Global Director of Communications, The Climate Group; Melinda Taylor, Executive Director of the Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law at the University of Texas School of Law; and Karl R. Rábago, Vice President for Distributed Energy Services with Austin Energy.

SXSW Eco is also pleased to announce TriplePundit.com, an online leader in sustainable business news as a media partner, joining the Texas Tribune, the trendsetter in Texas political coverage. For more information on media partners, visit www.sxsweco.com/media.

SXSW Eco is currently accepting proposals for session topics. Individuals with ideas, or those who are interested in speaking at SXSW Eco may submit proposals directly via the SXSW Eco Session Proposal Form. All ideas will be reviewed by SXSW Eco staff as well as the SXSW Eco Advisory Board. Proposals will be accepted through Friday, July 29. To submit an idea or for more information, visit www.sxsweco.com/present.

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 rates of $800 through September 2 and $1000 through September 30, after which the final walk-up rate will be $1200. 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/.

About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.

About SXSW Eco
SXSW Eco is a three-day conference acknowledging the need for a concerted, cross sector approach to solving the recognized challenges facing the natural world, the globalized economy and humankind. Hosting an international audience of executive level decision makers from the public and private sectors, and thought leaders from academia, the event will evolve this critical conversation beyond rhetoric and towards tangible solutions. SXSW Eco is for professionals at the forefront of the post-recognition discussion who are dedicated to making progress for society, the economy, and the environment. SXSW Eco will provide unique networking opportunities and cutting-edge discussion with experienced, passionate, and pragmatic professionals with varied backgrounds from the public, private and academic sectors.

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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