Mary Robinson is President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice. She served as President of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is a member of the Elders and the Club of Madrid and the recipient of numerous honours and awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States Barack Obama. She is also a member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. Between March 2013 and August 2014 she served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa. In August 2014 she was appointed the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change.
A former President of the International Commission of Jurists and former chair of the Council of Women World Leaders she was President and founder of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative from 2002-2010 and served as Honorary President of Oxfam International from 2002-2012.
Mary Robinson serves as Patron of the Board of the Institute of Human Rights and Business in addition to being a board member of several organisations including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the European Climate Foundation. She is the Chancellor of the University of Dublin since 1998. Her memoir, Everybody Matters was published in September 2012.
Andrew C. Revkin, the Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University, has been writing about environmental and social sustainability for more than three decades, from the Amazon to the White House to the North Pole, mainly for The New York Times. He has won the top awards in science journalism multiple times, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship. At Pace, he teaches courses in blogging, environmental communication and documentary film. He has written acclaimed books on global warming, the changing Arctic and the violent assault on the Amazon rain forest, as well as three book chapters on science communication.
Drawing on his experience with his Times blog, “Dot Earth,” which Time Magazine named one of the top 25 blogs in 2013, Revkin speaks to audiences around the world about paths to progress on a turbulent planet.
Revkin is also a performing songwriter, was a longtime accompanist for Pete Seeger and recently released his first album of original songs. Two films have been based on his work: Rock Star (Warner Brothers, 2001) and The Burning Season (HBO, 1994).
Round Table Participants
Amy Adams, a tarheel state native, holds a Masters in Environmental Education and a Bachelors in Biology from ECU. She spent the past decade working for NCDENR, most recently as a Regional Supervisor in the Surface Water Protection Section. As Supervisor, Ms. Adams oversaw multiple program areas including stormwater, waste water and wetland programs as well as others. She left her post in state government in protest in the fall of 2013. She joined the multi-state environmental advocacy group Appalachian Voices as the NC Campaign Coordinator providing leadership and oversight to the organization’s work in the state. She has been featured on Rachel Maddow, Democracy Now!, North Carolina Public Radio, Living on Earth, and has been a speaker for health and the environment at Moral Mondays.
Joni Adamson is Professor of Environmental Humanities in the Department of English, and Senior Sustainability Scholar at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.
She is also a PI with the North American Observatory and West Cluster of “Humanities for the Environment” (HfE). This networking activity builds on over 20 years of organizational work that includes, in 2012, her service as President for the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE). She also founded and, for 10 years, led the American Studies Association’s Environment and Culture Caucus. This work resulted in two co-edited collections, American Studies, Ecocriticism and Citizenship: Thinking and Acting in the Local and Global Commons (2013, Routledge). Another collection, Keywords for Environmental Studies, brings leading international figures from the humanities, sciences and social sciences together to think collectively about the issues facing humans in a time of rapid environmental change (in press, New York University Press, 2015). Adamson is author of American Indian Literature, Environmental Justice and Ecocriticism (2001, U of Arizona P) and co-edited the collection, The Environmental Justice Reader (2002, U of Arizona P).
Sumudu Anopama Atapattu is the Associate Director of the Global Legal Studies Center and Senior Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She teaches in the area of International Environmental law and her book, “Emerging Principles of International Environmental Law,” was published by Transnational Publishers, New York in 2006. She holds an LL.M. (Public International Law) and a Ph.D. (International Environmental Law) from the University of Cambridge, U.K., and is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.
Ms. Atapattu has received numerous awards and scholarships for academic excellence, including a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust scholarship and a Benefactor Studentship awarded by St. John’s College, Cambridge. In 1986 she was awarded the best student prize and Sir Lalitha Rajapakse Memorial Prize by the Sri Lanka Law College, Colombo where she graduated at the top of her class. In 2000 she was awarded a Senior Fulbright scholarship and carried out research on “Environmental Rights and Human Rights” at the New York University Law School and the George Washington University Law School as a visiting scholar.
The Reverend Canon Sally Grover Bingham, an Episcopal priest and Canon for the Environment in the Diocese of California, was one of the first faith leaders to fully recognize the changing climate as a moral issue. She is founder and president of The Regeneration Project and its Interfaith Power & Light campaign, which currently has 15,000 congregation members in forty states. Rev. Bingham serves on the national board of the Environmental Defense Fund and the advisory board of both the Union of Concerned Scientists and Climate One. She has received many awards including, in 2012, the Rachel Carson Women in Conservation Award from the Audubon Society and the Life Time Achievement Award from the Festival of Faiths, and in 2014, the Bishop of California Green Cross Award. Rev. Bingham is the lead author of Love God Heal Earth, a collection of 21 essays on environmental stewardship by religious leaders, published by St. Lynn’s Press.
Molly Diggins is the State Director of Sierra Club’s North Carolina Chapter, with 60,000 members and supporters in North Carolina. Since opening the Chapter’s statewide office in 1997, Ms. Diggins has worked to build public and political support for the passage of wide-ranging and groundbreaking environmental policies on both the local and state level. Ms. Diggins is a native of Buffalo New York, with a Masters degree in Adult Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to becoming staff with Sierra Club, Ms. Diggins worked several years in the private and public arena in helping persons with disabilities identify and achieve employment goals.
Luis E. Fernandez is the Director of the Carnegie Amazon Mercury Ecosystem Project (CAMEP) research initiative at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology that examines the impacts of artisanal gold mining, mercury contamination, and deforestation on natural and human ecosystems in the Amazonian region of Madre de Dios, Peru. He also conducts research with the Martu aboriginal peoples in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia, looking at the role of the Martu in maintaining native mammal biodiversity through the use of fire in traditional hunting practices. Luis also holds positions as Senior Research Associate at Stanford University’s Department of Anthropology and Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology at Wake Forest University. His work has been recognized through multiple awards, including the U.S. EPA Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, for his work on mercury dynamics in the Amazon Basin. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) and serves on the Board of Directors of the Amazon Aid Foundation and the advisory boards of the Environmental Health Council, the Artisanal Gold Council, and the environmental start-up firm OROECO.
Michael B. Gerrard is Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School, where he teaches courses on environmental and energy law and directs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. He is also Associate Chair of the Faculty of Columbia’s Earth Institute. Before joining the Columbia faculty in January 2009, he was partner in charge of the 110-lawyer New York office of Arnold & Porter LLP. He practiced environmental law in New York City full time from 1979 to 2008 and tried numerous cases and argued many appeals in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals. He formerly chaired the American Bar Association’s 10,000-member Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. He has served as a member of the executive committees of the boards of the Environmental Law Institute and the American College of Environmental Lawyers. Gerrard is author or editor of eleven books, two of which were named Best Law Book of the Year by the Association of American Publishers. His most recent book is Global Climate Change and U.S. Law (with Jody Freeman) (2d ed. 2014).
Frank Holleman is a Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and coordinates SELC’s coal ash work. Prior to joining SELC, Frank practiced law, with an emphasis on litigation, at Wyche, Burgess, Freeman, and Parham in Greenville, S.C. Frank served as the United States Deputy Secretary of Education, as Chief of Staff to U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley, and as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice. Frank was a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun and Judge Harrison Winter of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Frank is a native of Seneca, S.C., and a graduate of Furman University, Harvard Law School, and the London School of Economics and Political Science (M.Sc.). In 2010, he received the Environmental Awareness Award from the State of South Carolina.
Lucas Johnston is Assistant Professor of Religion and Ollen R. Nalley Faculty Fellow at Wake Forest University. His interdisciplinary educational background includes degrees in Religion and Nature (PhD), Environmental Ethics (Graduate Certificate), Theology (MA), and Psychology (BA). His research focuses on the relationships between biocultural evolution and religion, with particular attention to environmental social movements and cross-cultural political dialog related to ideas about nature. He is the author of Religion and Sustainability: Social Movements and the Politics of the Environment (2013), co-editor of Science and Religion: One Planet, Many Possibilities (2014), and editor of Higher Education for Sustainability: Cases, Challenges, and Opportunities Across the Curriculum (2012). He currently serves as the Senior Book Reviews Editor for the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture and as the Co-Chair of the Religion and Ecology Group of the American Academy of Religion.
Dr. Stephanie Kaza is Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont and Director of the Environmental Program. Her courses include Religion and Ecology; Women, Health, and Environment; Unlearning Consumerism; and other values-based courses. She co-founded the Environmental Council at University of Vermont, a campus-wide consortium on sustainability, and is the faculty director for the UVM Office of Sustainability and Sustainability Faculty Fellows program.
Dr. Kaza is the 2011 winner of the UVM George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching. Her books include Mindfully Green (2008), Hooked! Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume (2005), Dharma Rain: Sources for Buddhist Environmentalism (2000, co-edited with Kenneth Kraft), and The Attentive Heart: Conversations with Trees (1993). Dr. Kaza serves on the Executive Councils of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences and the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors and is vice-president of the UVM Faculty Senate.
(Due to unforeseen circumstances, Stephanie Kaza was unable to participate.)
Jacob Olupona joined the Harvard University Faculty of Divinity and Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 2006 and is a noted scholar of indigenous African religions. In his book City of 201 Gods: Ilé-Ifè in Time, Space, and the Imagination, he examines the modern urban mixing of ritual, royalty, gender, class, and power, and how the structure, content, and meaning of religious beliefs and practices permeate daily life. His other books include Òrìsà Devotion as World Religion: The Globalization of Yorùbá Religious Culture, co-edited with Terry Rey, and Kingship, Religion, and Rituals in a Nigerian Community: A Phenomenological Study of Ondo Yoruba Festivals, which has become a model for ethnographic research among Yoruba-speaking communities. In 2012, he was named one of Harvard’s Walter Channing Cabot Fellows, for distinguished publications.
Olupona has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Ford Foundation, the Davis Humanities Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Getty Foundation. He has served on the editorial boards of three influential journals and as president of the African Association for the Study of Religion. In 2007 he received the Nigerian National Order of Merit, that country’s prestigious award given each year for intellectual accomplishment in the four areas of science, medicine, engineering/technology, and humanities.
(Due to unforeseen circumstances, Jacob Olupona was unable to participate.)
Larry Rasmussen was Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York from 1986-2004. Prior to that he was Professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC, and Assistant Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. He is a past president of the Society of Christian Ethics and a past editor of The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics.
His books include Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (Oxford U. Press, 2013 and Gold and Grand Prize winner of the 2014 Nautilus Book Awards); Earth Community, Earth Ethics (Orbis Books and the World Council of Churches, 1996 and winner of the 1997 Grawemeyer Award); Moral Fragments and Moral Community (Fortress, 1993); Dietrich Bonhoeffer: His Significance for North Americans (Fortress, 1990); Reinhold Niebuhr: Theologian of Public Life (Fortress, 1991; HarperCollins, 1989); and Bible and Ethics in the Christian Life, co-authored with Bruce Birch (Augsburg-Fortress, Second Edition, 1989; Third Edition in process). In addition, he has published widely in journals and magazines.
He is director of the Ghost Ranch decade project on Earth-honoring Faith: A Song of Songs. Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM, is a Retreat and Conference Center.
Will Scott was born and raised in Chatham County, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina as an undergraduate as law school and is a member of the North Carolina State Bar. Prior to becoming the Yadkin Riverkeeper he worked for the Southern Environmental Law Center and NC House candidate John Ager.
Bron Taylor is Professor of Religion and Environmental Ethics at the University of Florida, and a Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany. His research focuses on the connections between what people construe as “nature” and “religion,” and especially, on the emotional and spiritual dimensions of environmental movements. He edited the award-winning Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature and has produced five other books, including Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future; Avatar and Nature Spirituality; and Ecological Resistance Movements: the Global Emergence of Radical and Popular Environmentalism.
Taylor has led a variety of scholarly initiatives, including the development of the Environmental Studies program at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and the graduate program in Religion and Nature at the University of Florida. His also the founder of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, and its affiliated Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, which he edits. He has given invited and keynote presentations in over a dozen countries.
Jace Weaver is the Franklin Professor of Native American Studies and the director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia. An attorney and a Ph.D. in religion, he is the award-winning author or editor of twelve books in the field, including Defending Mother Earth: Native American Perspectives on Environmental Justice. Most recently, his environmental work has focused on the impact of climate change on indigenous peoples. He organized and hosted the first major conference on the impact of climate change on tribal resource management. He also was an invited speaker at an international conference on environmental engineering at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany. His article “Misfit Messengers: Indigenous Religions and Climate Change” is forthcoming in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.