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SXSW Eco Announces 2016 Season with Initial Keynote and Featured Speakers
Author, Attorney and Activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to Keynote SXSW Eco 2016

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- SXSW Eco®, a conference that celebrates the power of design, technology and business to drive global change, has announced environmental activist and President of the Waterkeeper Alliance, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., as its opening day Keynote for the 2016 event. He will speak on Monday, October 10. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will discuss the role that natural resources play in our work, our health, and our identity as Americans. SXSW Eco will take place on October 10-12, 2016 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is President of Waterkeeper Alliance, the fastest-growing global movement for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water. His reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Kennedy was named one of Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Agents of Change" and one of Time magazine's "Heroes for the Planet" for his success helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group's achievement helped spawn over 275 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe. A high-profile speaker and activist, he has used numerous media outlets, including his 2004 book, Crimes Against Nature, to call into question the environmental policies of the United States.

In addition, several featured speakers have also been announced, including:

  • Annette Kim, Director of University of Southern California's Spatial Analysis Lab, will explore how to discover the hidden connections between urban residents and their actions through data visualization.
  • Susan Surface, Program Director of Design in Public, is redefining corporate responsibility in design and architecture by calling attention to the motivations behind what we build.
  • Raj Patel, Research Professor at University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs and author of The Value of Nothing, Stuffed and Starved and many more, will shed light on the interconnected global food system.
  • Robert Young Pelton, journalist, author and filmmaker, has traveled the world documenting true stories from the world's most dangerous places and will share stories from his experiences.

Now in its sixth year, SXSW Eco creates a space for business leaders, policy makers, innovators and designers to advance solutions that drive social, economic and environmental change. Programming tracks include: Cities, Communications, Conservation + Adaptation, Corporate Responsibility, Energy, Food Systems, Place By Design, Policy, Startup Central and Water. SXSW Eco is now accepting proposals for PanelPicker® and submissions for the Startup Showcase and Place By Design pitch competitions.

The PanelPicker interface is an online tool that allows the SXSW Eco community to have a significant voice in programming and conference activities through an open proposal and voting process. Submissions to PanelPicker can be made through April 29 at []. Public voting on the sessions takes place May 9 - 20.

The Startup Showcase is a rapid-fire pitch competition spotlighting innovative early stage companies in the areas of Building, Energy, Global Health, Internet of Things + Software, Not-for-Profit, Supply Chain + Product Innovation, Transportation, Reuse + Recycling and Water. Applications are open through June 24. To submit to Startup Showcase or to see a recap of the 2015 event, including finalists and winners, click here.

Place by Design, SXSW Eco's design competition, celebrates projects that achieve a positive social and environmental impact through the creation or re-imagining of public space. Finalists compete in the categories of Art + Interaction, Data + Tech, Resilience, Social Impact and Urban Strategy. Applications are open through May 27. To submit to Place By Design or to see recap of the 2015 event, including finalists and winners, click here.

About SXSW Eco

SXSW Eco creates a space for business leaders, investors, innovators and designers to advance solutions that drive economic, environmental and social change. The conference will feature collaborative events to facilitate direct connections, as well as focused panel sessions and exciting competitions that will introduce attendees to transformative technologies, policies, products and ideas.

SXSW Eco 2016 is sponsored by Southwest Airlines and The Austin Chronicle

Press Credentials: If you are a member of the press and interested in attending, media registration for SXSW Eco 2016 is now open through September 23, 2016. Please visit for more information.

Brett Cannon
SXSW Eco Press & Publicity