Moving Forward on Climate Change and Sustainability

THU, NOV 20, 2014 (1:53:28)

Sierra Club's Mary Anne Hitt, Tufts ecologist Julian Agyeman, NASA's Gavin Schmidt and policy advisor Nigel Purvis convened at the WGBH Idea Lab in 2014, to discuss efforts to stop deforestation, climate modeling, a grassroots effort to reduce or clean up coal-fired power plants, and a presentation on building greener and more equitable cities.

The Innovation IdeaLab is an invitation-only, day-long gathering that brings together powerful thought leaders and doers for the purpose of inspiring new public media stories on topics ranging from climate change, food and health, and creativity and entrepreneurship, to building more equitable societies. on efforts to stop deforestation, climate modeling, a grassroots effort to reduce or clean up coal-fired power plants, and a presentation on building greener and more equitable cities.

+ BIO: Nigel Purvis

Nigel Purvis is the founder and president of Climate Advisers, a Washington, DC based consultancy specializing in US climate change policy, international climate change cooperation, global carbon markets, and climate related forest conservation. The firm's clients include philanthropic foundations, think tanks, and environmental groups, governments, international organizations, companies, and financial institutions. Nigel directed US environmental diplomacy in the William J. Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, most recently as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment, and Science. In that capacity he shaped US Foreign policy relating to climate change, biodiversity conservation, forests, toxic substances, ozone depletion, and environmental aspects of international trade. He worked closely with senior officials in the White House, Congress, key federal agencies, and negotiated internationally with ministers and ambassadors from around the world.
Currently, Nigel holds climate change and international affairs research appointments at Resources for the Future, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the Brookings Institution. From 2005 to 2007, Nigel served as the global vice president for policy and external affairs at the Nature Conservancy. From 2002 to 2005, he was a senior scholar in the foreign policy program of the Brookings Institution and an International affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a prize-winning honors graduate of Harvard Law School.

+ BIO: Gavin Schmidt

Gavin Schmidt is a climate scientist who works on understanding past, present, and future climate change. He is the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an adjunct faculty member with the Earth Institute of Columbia University. He is committed to communicating science to the general public, making sure that the non-scienctists have access to the basics of climate change. His TED talk (2014) was focused on simulating the emergent patterns of climate change. He is the author, with Josh Wolfe, of Climate Change: Picturing the Science (2009), co-founder on the website RealClimate.org, and was awarded the American Geophysical Union's inaugural Climate Communications Prize in 2011. On Twitter he is @ClimateOfGavin.

+ BIO: Mary Anne Hitt

Mary Anne Hitt is director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, which is working to eliminate coal pollution, stop climate disruption and re-power the nation with clean energy. In 2012, Mother Jones described the campaign as "a grassroots rebellion [that] is winning the biggest victory yet on climate change." Mary Anne was named one of the 10 most influential people of 2013 by SNL Energy and she was listed in 2013 by the Washingtonian as part of "The New Guard: People Who Are Shaping Washington" in Obama's second term. In 2014, she and the Beyond Coal Campaign were featured in the Showtime climate series Years of Living Dangerously. She previously served as executive director of Appalachian Voices and other grassroots organizations. She received her master of science from the University of Montana and her bachelors degree from the University of Tennessee, where she later received the 2008 Notable UT Woman Award. She grew up in the mountains of east Tennessee and now lives in West Virginia with her family.

+ BIO: Julian Agyeman

Julian Agyeman is a professor of urban and environmental policy and planning a Tufts University. He is the originator of the concept of "just sustainabilities," the full integration of social justice and sustainability, defined as "the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and in the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems."

He is an environmental social scientist who thrives at the boarders and the intersections of a wide range of knowledge and methodologies and utilizes these in creative and original ways. His research interests critically explore some aspect(s) of the complex and embedded relations between humans and the environment, whether mediated by institutions or social movement organizations, and the effects of this on public policy and planning processes and outcomes, particularly in relation to notions of justice and equity.

He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the international journal Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. With over 160 publications, his recent books include Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability (MIT Press 2011), Introducing Just Sustainabilities: Policy, Planning, and Practice (Zed Books 2013) and Incomplete Streets: Processes, Practices, and Possibilities (Routledge 2014).

+ BIO: Miles O'Brien

Miles O’Brien is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker and veteran journalist who focuses on science, technology, and aerospace. He has written, produced, and directed numerous documentary films for NOVA, FRONTLINE, and the National Science Foundation’s Science Nation series. In addition, Miles is a producer and correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and an aviation analyst for CNN.

For nearly seventeen years, Miles was a staff correspondent and anchor with CNN based in Atlanta and New York. While at CNN, he secured a deal with NASA to become the first journalist to fly on a space shuttle. The project was canceled, however, when Columbia and her crew were lost in 2003. Miles told the story of the disaster to the world in a critically acclaimed sixteen-hour marathon of live coverage. He is currently an at-large member of the NASA Advisory Council, offering strategic advice to the NASA administrator.

In 2014, a heavy equipment case fell on Miles’s forearm while he was on assignment. He developed acute compartment syndrome, which necessitated the emergency amputation of his left arm above the elbow. Despite the loss of his arm, Miles continues to report on the latest scientific field research from all corners of the globe, whether it be the melting Denali Glacier or the Ebola hot zone of Western Africa. Not one to let anything hold him back, Miles is an avid sportsman and enjoys physical challenges. Since his accident, he has ridden numerous “century rides” on his bicycle, run two marathons, and finished a triathlon.

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