“Environmental sustainability” may be a catch phrase of the 21st century, but who knows what it really means? The Environmental Consortium of Colleges & Universities will wrestle with that problem at its tenth annual conference Friday and Saturday. On hand to lend guidance is James Gustave Speth, former advisor to President Bill Clinton and founder of the World Resources Institute. Speth made headlines in August 2010 when he was arrested at the White House for protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline. David Hales, President of Second Nature, delivers the opening keynote. Prior to assuming this post, Hales was President of College of the Atlantic, the first U.S. institution of higher education to be a “NetZero” emitter of greenhouse gases. James Gustave “Gus” Speth, Professor at Vermont Law School, will be presented with the Environmental Consortium’s "The Great Work Award, in honor of Thomas Berry" and delivers the second keynote.
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David Hales has been President and CEO of Second Nature, the Boston-based advocacy organization committed to promoting sustainability through higher education since August, 2012.
Prior to assuming this post, Hales was President of College of the Atlantic. Under his leadership, College of the Atlantic received recognition for innovative academic excellence, and became the first institution of higher education in the United States to be a “NetZero” emitter of greenhouse gases.
President Hales has held numerous positions promoting sustainability nationally and internationally, including directing environmental policy and sustainability programs of the United States Agency for International Development throughout the Clinton administration.
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James Gustave Speth joined the faculty of the Vermont Law School as Professor of Law in 2010. He serves also as Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute.
In 2009 he completed his decade-long tenure as Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. From 1993 to 1999, Gus Speth was Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Development Group. Prior to his service at the UN, he was founder and president of the World Resources Institute; professor of law at Georgetown University; chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality (Carter Administration); and senior attorney and cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council. Throughout his career, Speth has provided leadership and entrepreneurial initiatives to many task forces and committees whose roles have been to combat environmental degradation and promote sustainable development, including the President’s Task Force on Global Resources and Environment; the Western Hemisphere Dialogue on Environment and Development; and the National Commission on the Environment. Among his awards are the National Wildlife Federation’s Resources Defense Award, the Natural Resources Council of America’s Barbara Swain Award of Honor, a 1997 Special Recognition Award from the Society for International Development, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Environmental Law Institute and the League of Conservation Voters, and the Blue Planet Prize. He holds honorary degrees from Clark University, the College of the Atlantic, the Vermont Law School, Middlebury College, the University of South Carolina, Green Mountain College, the University of Massachusetts, and Unity College. He is the author, co-author or editor of seven books including the award-winning The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability and Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment. His latest book is America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, published by Yale Press in September 2012.
Speth currently serves on the boards of the New Economy Coalition, Center for a New American Dream, Climate Reality Project, and the Institute for Sustainable Communities. He is an honorary director of the World Resources Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council and is an advisory board member or associate for the Democracy Collaborative, United Republic, 350.org, EcoAmerica, Labor Network for Sustainability, New Economy Working Group, SC Coastal Conservation League, Environmental Law Institute, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Southern Environmental Law Center, Heinz Center, Free Speech for People, and Vermont Institute for Natural Science.
He graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 1964 with a BA in Political Science, and subsequently earned an M.Litt. in Economics from Oxford University in 1966 as a Rhodes Scholar and his JD from the Yale Law School in 1969. After law school, he served as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black.