skip to content
  • Calendar
  • Maps

Past Keynote Speakers

2018: Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes is Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. A world-renowned geologist and historian of science, she is the author of over 100 scholarly and popular books, articles, and opinion pieces. Her most recent books are Merchants of Doubt (Bloomsbury, 2010), and The Collapse of Western Civilization (Columbia University Press, 2014), both co-authored with Erik M. Conway. Oreskes also wrote the Introduction to Laudato Si, the Melville House edition of the Papal Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality.

2017: Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson served as the first woman President of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. She sits on the advisory board of Sustainable Energy For All, and between March 2013 and August 2014, Mary served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa. From August 2014 to end of 2015 she served as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change.

2016: Joel Makower

Joel Makower has been a well-respected voice on business and the environment for over 25 years. As a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur on corporate sustainability practices, he has helped a wide range of companies align environmental goals with business strategy. As chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group, Inc., he hosts GreenBiz.com’s annual GreenBiz Forums as well as the VERGE conferences produced around the world. Joel is the author of the annual “State of Green Business” report and more than a dozen books, including Strategies for the Green Economy (2008) and The New Grand Strategy (2016).

2015: David Orr

David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Senior Adviser to the President at Oberlin College. He is the author of seven books and co-editor of three others. His first book, Ecological Literacy (1992), was described as a "true classic", and a second book, Earth in Mind (1994/2004) is praised by people as diverse as biologist E. O. Wilson, and writer, poet, and farmer, Wendell Berry. Both are widely used in hundreds of colleges and universities. He has authored nearly 200 articles, reviews, book chapters, and professional publications. In the past 25 years he has served as a board member or adviser to eight foundations and organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute.

2014: Sally Jewell

Sally Jewell was sworn in as the 51st Secretary of the Interior in 2013, and lead an agency of more than 70,000 employees responsible for serving as stewards for approximately 20 percent of the nation’s lands — including national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands. As Secretary, Jewell oversaw the responsible development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters and upheld trust responsibilities to the 566 federally recognized Native American tribes.

2013: L. Hunter Lovins

L. Hunter Lovins is a former co-CEO of Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado-based nonprofit resource policy think tank. In 1982, with Amory Lovins, she co-founded RMI, an organization that conducts research and provides consulting services in a variety of fields. Trained as a lawyer, she helped establish the California Conservation Project, an innovative urban forestry and environmental education group. Ms. Lovins has co-authored eight books, notably Brittle Power: Energy Strategy for National Security (1982) and Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use (1997). She has consulted for both the public and the private sectors, briefing senior management at such groups as Mitsubishi, Bank of America, and numerous utility companies.

2012: Eric Lombardi

Eric Lombardi, Executive Director of Eco-Cycle International, is a specialist in community recycling systems, social enterprise and public-private project development. Over 25 years he built Eco-Cycle into the largest Zero Waste social enterprise in the U.S.A. Lombardi is also an international consultant, keynote speaker and workshop leader for government and private sector clients across the USA and internationally. His work covers the design of recycling facilities, the collection and marketing of “hard to recycle” materials, the benefits of a social enterprise approach, and the politics and strategies of growing community recycling programs. Lombardi was invited to the Clinton White House in 1998 as one of the Top 100 USA Recyclers.