Keynote Speakers

Thursday, October 8th, 7:00 p.m.

Keynote Address: Green Jobs Not Jails: Criminal Justice Ecology
Van Jones, President & Founder, Dream Corps/CNN Political Correspondent
Mead Memorial Chapel

Van JonesVan Jones

Van Jones is the President and Co-Founder of Dream Corps. Current initiatives, #cut50, #YesWeCode, and Green For All create innovative solutions to "close the prison doors, open the doors of opportunity, into a new green economy." A Yale- educated attorney, Van has written two New York Times Bestsellers: The Green Collar Economy, the definitive book on green jobs, and Rebuild the Dream, a roadmap for progressives. Van is a correspondent for CNN and regular guest on political talk shows. In 2009, Van worked as the green jobs advisor to the Obama White House. There, he helped run the inter-agency process that oversaw $80 billion in green energy recovery spending.

Friday, October 9th, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

Keynote Conversation - Environmental Studies at 50: What’s Next?
Mead Memorial Chapel

Bill McKibbenBill McKibben - moderator

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist, and the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, where he has taught courses on subjects ranging from social movements to the Book of Job. A former staff writer for The New Yorker, he writes frequently for a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of BooksNational Geographic, and Rolling Stone. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he has since written a dozen more books including Deep Economy, Enough, Wandering Home, and Eaarth. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change organization, which has inspired twenty thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement. He was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers. In 2014, biologists honored him by naming a new species of woodland gnat— Megophthalmidia mckibbeni–in his honor. He lives in the mountains above Lake Champlain with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, where he spends as much time as possible outdoors. 


William CrononWilliam Cronon

Bill Cronon is the Frederick Jackson Turner Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies and Vilas Research Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he is also Director of the Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE). His work seeks to understand the history of human interactions with the natural world: how we depend on the ecosystems around us to sustain our material lives, how we modify the landscapes in which we live and work, and how our ideas of nature shape our relationships with the world around us. He is the author of, among other works, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (1983), and Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (1991). He co-edited Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America's Western Past (1992), and edited Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature (1995), which featured his essay “The Trouble with Wilderness, or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.” He has advised fifty Ph.D. dissertations so far.

Bill has won fellowships from the Rhodes Trust, and the Danforth, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Foundations, as well as many prizes for his work. These include, in 2014, the Wilderness Society’s Robert Marshall Award, given to a private citizen who has made outstanding, long-term contributions to conservation and fostering an American land ethic.

Bill is currently at work on a history of Portage, Wisconsin, from the end of the last Ice Age down to the present, and a much revised book entitled Saving Nature in Time: The Environmental Past and the Human Future on the evolving relationship between environmental history and environmentalism.

Rachel Morello-FroschRachel Morello-Frosch

Rachel Morello-Frosch is Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management and the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.  As an environmental health scientist, her research examines race and class determinants of health among diverse communities in the United States with a focus on social inequality, psychosocial stress and how these factors interact with environmental chemical exposures to produce environmental health inequalities. Much of her work has examined this environmental justice question in the context of ambient air pollution, prenatal exposures to environmental chemicals and effects on developmental outcomes, often using community-based participatory research methods for data collection.

Rachel is co-author of Contested Illness: Citizens, Science and Health Social Movements. She has also co-authored a series of reports and articles on The Climate Gap, which examine how climate change disproportionately impacts low income communities and communities of color and how policy change can mitigate climate change, protect community health and support social equity goals.  She has published her research in Environmental Health, Environmental Health Perspectives, and The American Journal of Public Health, She has co-authored chapters in several books including In the Wake of the Storm: Environment, Disaster, and Race after Katrina (2006); The New Political Sociology of Science: Institutions, Networks, and Power (2006).

Finally, in collaboration with researchers, regulatory scientists, and community partners, Rachel has developed scientifically valid and transparent tools for assessing the cumulative impacts of chemical and non-chemical stressors to improve regulatory decision-making and advance environmental justice.  She is also assessing the application of these methods for implementation of climate change policies in California. Her research is supported by NIEHS, NSF, Cal-EPA, the California Breast Cancer Research Program and private foundations.

Gernot WagnerGernot Wagner

Gernot Wagner serves as lead senior economist at the Environmental Defense Fund, and also teaches energy economics as adjunct associate professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, where his 2014 course syllabus on Energy Economics had as its introductory questions “What determines the cost of a ton of coal? Is OPEC an oligopoly? Should we subsidize low-carbon or tax fossil energy? Do Prius owners drive more?” The course’s goals were “to provide a set of tools to approach these and many other fundamental questions in energy economics, and to teach us to talk about them in plain English.” He is also a research associate at the Harvard Kennedy School, a visiting research associate at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Gernot is the author of But will the planet notice? How Smart Economics Can Save the World (2011), and, with Harvard’s Martin L. Weitzman, Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet (2015). He has also published widely in newspapers and journals outside and inside academia including The Atlantic, Forbes, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times, where he served on the editorial board as a Peter Martin Fellow, covering economics, energy, and the environment. His academic publications have appeared in Nature, Nature Climate Change, Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, and Conservation Biology, among other journals.