Dr. Chu was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy serving from January 2009 until the end of April 2013. He was the first scientist to hold a Cabinet position and the longest serving Energy Secretary. Currently, Dr. Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular & Cellular Physiology in the Medical School at Stanford University. Dr. Chu holds numerous awards including the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics in addition to 26 honorary degrees.
Dr. James Hansen is a world-renowned climate scientist and the first individual to testify to the existence of climate change before Congress in 1988. A former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, his latest study concludes that two degrees Celsius is too dangerous and humanity must aim far below. A tireless advocate for climate action, Dr. Hansen speaks around the world, writes, and studies climate change to develop new models to predict its direction and effects.
Christiana Figueres has been the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since 2010 and will oversee the Paris Climate talks in December 2015. Ms. Figueres began her career in 1982 as the Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Bonn, Germany. Additionally, Ms. Figures served as a member of the Costa Rican climate negotiating team from 1995-2000 and has worked on climate change and renewable energy programs in the US and Latin America.
Michael Brune is the Executive Director of the Sierra Club and author of Coming Clean: Breaking America’s Addiction to Oil and Coal. Prior to his position with the Sierra Club, Mr. Brune served as the Executive Director of the Rainforest Action Network and as an organizer at Greenpeace. Mr. Brune’s first experience with environmental protection was organizing for clean water as a teenager on the New Jersey shore.
Governor Jerry Brown is the Governor of California and was elected to his third gubernatorial term in 2010. Prior to his service as Governor of California, Governor Brown has served as the Mayor of Oakland, the California Attorney General, and the Chairman of the Democratic National Convention. Governor Brown has been a tireless advocate for the environment, with legislative efforts including enacting the nation’s first energy efficiency standards in the 1980’s
Lyndon Rive is the co-founder and CEO of SolarCity, now the largest installer of residential solar systems in the US. Mr. Rive founded his first business at age 17 in South Africa, and, much like his cousin Elon Musk of Tesla, has been a serial entrepreneur ever since. He co-founded SolarCity in 2006 with his brother Peter with the goal to make solar energy accessible and affordable for every American.
Paul Polman is the CEO of Unilever, one of the largest and most recognizable brands in the world. As CEO, Mr. Polman has made Unilever a leader in sustainability and is an outspoken voice for strong action on climate and corporate social responsibility. Mr. Polman is a member of the UN Global Compact, the Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and has served on several high level UN panels.
Oronto Douglas was a leading human rights and environmental lawyer in Nigeria who worked to protect the Niger Delta and its communities from environmental degradation and later served as Special Advisor to President Goodluck Jonathan. Mr. Douglas co-founded Nigeria’s most influential environmental protection organization, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria and was an outspoken advocate for human rights despite repeated imprisonment and torture by Nigeria’s military regime. Mr. Douglas died on April 9th, 2015, from stomach cancer.
Maria Gunnoe, a lifelong resident of Boon County and descendant of coal miners, is one of Appalachia’s most outspoken activists and in 2009 won the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work. She became an environmental activist after the Jupiter mine started removing a ridge above her home, triggering massive flooding on her land.
A sixth-generation resident of the Coal River Valley, West Virginia, Bo Webb is former board president and current member of Coal River Mountain Watch. In 2010 he was one of the leaders of the largest ever national protest on mountaintop removal mining, called Appalachia Rising, in front of the White House, and was co-founder of Mountain Justice Summer. For his tireless advocacy, he was awarded the Purpose Prize in 2010. Today he helps to lead the Appalachian Community Health Emergency (ACHE) campaign, asking the federal government to comprehensively study the impacts of mountaintop removal mining and impose a national moratorium on mountaintop removal mining permits until those studies are completed.
Under Amanda Starbuck’s leadership, RAN has won significant commitments from all of the largest U.S. banks to significantly reduce their financing of environmentally destructive mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. In 2013 RAN was a founder and lead organizer of the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, recruiting 100,000 people to commit to participate in non-violent civil disobedience, should President Obama signal his approval of the KXL pipeline. Ms. Starbuck also serves on the board of Bank Track, a global network that monitors the impacts of the private financial sector on people and the environment. With a professional background in the renewable energy sector, she holds a MA in Environmental Policy and has lectured at Yale, Berkeley and Leeds Universities.
Jennifer Hall-Massey lives in Prenter, West Virginia, just 36 miles outside of the capital, Charleston. Her small town has lost six neighbors to brain tumors, including Hall-Massey’s 29-year-old brother. According to a Sept. 2009 New York Times article “tests showed that their well water contained toxic amounts of lead, manganese, barium and other metals that can contribute to organ failure or developmental problems.” The Times also reported that “in the eight miles surrounding Mrs. Hall-Massey’s home, coal companies have injected more than 1.9 billion gallons of coal slurry and sludge into the ground since 2004.” Hall-Massey and 264 neighbors have sued nine coal companies, accusing them of contaminating local water supplies with dangerous waste.
Wu Gang is the Chairman of the Goldwind Corporation, one of China’s largest wind turbine manufacturers. Mr. Wu has worked in the wind industry since the 1980’s and in 2006 was awarded the World Wind Energy Award for his work advancing the global wind industry. Mr. Wu was named one of China’s most powerful people by Newsweek in 2009.
Amory Lovins is an international authority on sustainable energy and technology. Mr. Lovins’ forty-plus year career has included advising heads of state, global companies, energy efficient home design, and pioneering utility models, among others. He founded the Rocky Mountain Institute, a “think and do tank” on energy. with his wife L. Hunter Lovins.
Danny Kennedy is the co-founder of Sungevity and an internationally recognized leader on energy and environment. Mr. Kennedy also co-founded SFUNCUBE, the only incubator of its kind that supports solar entrepreneurs, and serves on the board of VoteSolar and several other solar start-ups. Before founding Sungevity, Mr. Kennedy worked as a campaign manager with Greenpeace.
Peter Agnefjall was named CEO of IKEA, a global leader in sustainability, in 2013 and has been with the company since 1995. Mr. Agnefjall presides over IKEA’s comprehensive sustainability efforts, from only selling LED lights in stores to investing millions of euros in renewable energy to producing more renewable electricity than it consumes by 2020.
Xin “Eric” Luo joined Shunfeng as CEO in January 2015. Previously, Mr. Luo was CEO of Suntech, which was bought out by Shunfeng in 2014. Mr. Luo has over twenty years of management experience in a variety of manufacturing industries.
Kumi Naidoo is a South African human rights activist and has served as Executive Director of Greenpeace International since 2009, leading efforts to expand into the Global South and East. Mr. Naidoo’s career began organizing against apartheid in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He was the first Black South African to earn a Doctorate at Oxford University and returned to South Africa work on a variety of adult literacy, voting, and citizen participation campaigns.
Jesse Moore co-founded M-Kopa in Kenya in 2012 and is the leader of “pay as you go” off grid energy. The company has electrified more than 200,000 homes since its launch and is currently adding 500 new homes each day. Before founding M-Kopa, Mr. Moore was the Director of the GSM Development Fund in London, which aimed to use mobile for development for low-income customers.
Muhammad Yunus is the founder of microcredit, social business, and Grameen Bank. He won the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Grameen Bank in 2006 for his pioneering model of microcredit, microfinance, and community development. Mr. Yunus is a global authority on entrepreneurship and community development and has won 112 awards for his work globally.
Peter Lewis is director of African Studies and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work focuses on economic reform and political transition in developing countries, with particular emphasis on governance and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has written extensively on questions of economic adjustment, democratization, and civil society in Africa; democratic reform and political economy in Nigeria; public attitudes toward reform and democracy in West Africa; and the comparative politics of economic change in Africa and Southeast Asia. His most recent book, Growing Apart: Politics and Economic Change in Indonesia and Nigeria is concerned with the institutional basis of economic development, drawing upon a comparative study. Dr. Lewis has published other co-authored and edited books, in addition to articles in World Politics, World Development, the Journal of Democracy, the Journal of Modern African Studies, African Affairs and others, and numerous book chapters. He is a member of Council on Foreign Relations and a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has consulted for the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Carter Center, the Council on Foreign Relations, Freedom House, USAID, and the World Bank. He received a BA degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and MA and PhD degrees from Princeton University.
Peter Calthorpe has been working in urban design since 1976 and is a pioneer of sustainable urban development. Mr. Calthorpe has published books and articles that have become guidelines for urban planning, such as his concept of “Transit Oriented Development”. Mr. Calthorpe works around the world to design human scale, sustainable cities and is currently developing examples and standards of Low Carbon cities in China.
Jaime Lerner is an architect and urban planner, founder of the Instituto Jaime Lerner and chairman of Jaime Lerner Arquitetos Associados (JLAA). Former president of the UIA - International Union of Architects in the 2002/2005 term, three-time mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, he led the urban revolution that made the city renowned for urban planning, public transportation, environmental social programs and urban projects. He served as governor of Parana State twice and conducted an economic and social transformation both in the urban and rural areas. His international awards include the highest United Nations Environmental Award (1990), Child and Peace Award from UNICEF (1996), the 2001 World Technology Award for Transportation, and the 2002 Sir Robert Mathew Prize for the Improvement of Quality of Human Settlements. In 2010 Lerner was nominated among the 25 most influential thinkers in the world by the Time magazine and in 2011, in recognition for his leadership, vision and contribution in the field or sustainable urban mobility, he received the Leadership in Transport Award, granted by the International Transport Forum at the OECD.
Prof. Karen Strier
Karen B. Strier is Vilas Research Professor and Irven DeVore Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1980, she received her MA in 1981 and her PhD in 1986 in Anthropology from Harvard University. She is an international authority on the endangered northern muriqui monkey, which she has been studying in the Brazilian Atlantic forest since 1982. Her pioneering, long-term field research has been critical to conservation efforts on behalf of this species, and has been influential in broadening comparative perspectives on primate behavioral and ecological diversity. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. She received an Honorary Degree (Doctorate of Science) from the University of Chicago, and Distinguished Primatologist Awards from the American Primatological Society and the Midwestern Primate Interest Group. She has been awarded various research, teaching, and service awards from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has also been honored with Lifetime Honorary Memberships from the Brazilian Primatological Society and the Latin American Primatological Society, and with Honorary Citizenship of the city of Caratinga, in Minas Gerais, Brazil. She has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications, in addition to various co-authored and edited volumes and two single-authored books, Faces in the Forest: The Endangered Muriqui Monkeys of Brazil and Primate Behavioral Ecology, soon to appear in its 5th edition.
Dr. Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall is known worldwide for her groundbreaking research on chimpanzees in the 1960s. Dr. Goodall has spent the last fifty-five years on research, advocacy, and education on chimpanzees and environmental protection and has received numerous awards and honorary degrees for her work. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute to protect the chimpanzees of Tanzania’s Gombe National Park and Roots and Shoots as a global environmental and humanitarian youth program.
Michael Pollan is a New York Times best-selling author and food guru. Mr. Pollan writes about the complex relationships between our food, culture, history, environment, and economy. He has won numerous awards for his books and articles and appeared in the documentary Food, Inc. Mr. Pollan is currently the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism.
Mia MacDonald is the executive director and founder of Brighter Green. She is a New York-based public policy analyst and writer who has worked as a consultant to a range of international non-governmental organizations–including the Ford Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, the Green Belt Movement, the Sierra Club, and Save the Children, and several United Nations agencies, among others—on issues of environment, sustainable development, women’s rights and gender equality, reproductive health and population, and conservation and animal protection. She has published many articles in popular and environmental media, authored a number of policy papers and reports, and contributed to four books, including Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai’s best-selling autobiography, Unbowed. She is a Senior Fellow of the Worldwatch Institute and has taught in the human rights program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and the environmental studies department at New York University. She is a member of the board of directors of the Green Belt Movement International – North America (currently serving as treasurer, after four years as board chair) and the Culture & Animals Foundation, and has been a member of the boards of Farm Sanctuary and the Food Empowerment Project. She received a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a B.A. with honors from Columbia University, and also studied English Literature and Language at Oxford University.
Daniel Nepstad holds a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from Yale University. He has worked in the Amazon for 30 years studying the effects of climate change, policy, and land use on Amazon forests, and was the Founding President of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). A world authority on REDD and low-emission rural development (LED-R), he was previously Senior Scientist at Woods Hole Research Center, and the Chief Program Officer of Environmental Conservation at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Mr. Nepstad is co-founder of Aliança da Terra, and was a founding board member of the Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS). Today he serves on the Board of Directors of Forest Trends, the Steering Committee of the Solidaridad Farmer Support Program, and the Science Committee of the Brazilian state of Acre’s REDD program. He has also served on the REDD Offset Working Group of California, the External Advisory Group of the World Bank Forest Section, and was a Lead Author of the IPCC 5th Annual Assessment report. He has published more than 140 scientific articles and three books.
Blairo Maggi is the son of late Brazilian agribusiness mogul Andre Maggi, who founded Andre Maggi Group, the world's largest private soybean producer. Mr. Blairo Maggi owns slightly more than 16% of the group, which has interests in energy, fertilizers, transportation and rubber extraction. In 2002 Mr. Maggi was elected governor of Mato Grosso state, a haven for soybean production. Three years later, after being accused of tearing down rain forests to plant more soybeans, he won Greenpeace's Golden Chainsaw Award, given to the Brazilian most responsible for destruction of the Amazon. Today he is a senator representing the state of Matto Grosso. Recently he has been courting environmentalists by working to dramatically slow deforestation rates, taking on loggers and lobbying hard for the carbon compensation market to keep farmers from cutting down forests while reaping tax revenue for his home state.
Tasso Azevedo is a forestry and climate change consultant and social entrepreneur. He was the founder and director of the Brazilian NGO Imaflora (Institute of Forest and Agriculture Management and Certification), Director of the National Forest Program at the Ministry of Environment in Brazil, the Secretary General of National Forest Commission and the first Chief & Director General of the Brazilian Forest Service. Mr. Azevedo was one of the key people involved in the design and implementation of Brazil’s National Plan to Combat Deforestation in the Amazon, resulting in a more than 75 percent decline in deforestation in the region, as well as the Amazon Fund and the identification of Brazil's targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He graduated from the School of Agriculture at the University of São Paulo and also serves as a board member of Imazon, Imaflora, Planeta Sustentável and the REDD Task Force. He also teaches post-graduate programs at the Fundação Instituto de Administração, Fundação Getulio Vargas, Pontificia Universidade Católica, Fundação Don Cabral and UniEthos.
Dr. Russell Mittermeier
Dr. Russell Mittermeier is the President of Conservation International and the only active field biologist to head an international conservation organization. Dr. Mittermeier has discovered twelve species and worked tirelessly to protect the globe’s most threatened places and species.
Dr. Ian Singleton has been working with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program since its inception. Dr. Singleton began his career as a zookeeper and vacationed in Indonesia to learn more about orangutans. The experience led him to pursue a PhD and relocate to Indonesia to found the Conservation Program.
Kuntoro Mangkusubroto is the head of the Republic of Indonesia president’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight, which monitors the delivery of development programmes in the president’s cabinet. He also chairs the task-force on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), as well as the national committee on the post-2015 development agenda. Prior to the current cabinet, Mr. Kuntoro was head of the Agency for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Aceh-Nias; minister for mining and energy; and CEO of three state-owned companies (PTBA, Timah and PLN). He is also a professor in decision science at Bandung Institute of Technology. His international reputation earned him several recognitions such as the ASEAN Engineering Excellence Award and an honorary doctorate in engineering from Northeastern University in the US.
Bambang Widjojonto is a human rights activist and Deputy Chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission in Indonesia. Previously, Mr. Widjojonto founded the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation to advocate for the people of West Papua. For this work he won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C., is an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Dr. Barnard has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Barnard has authored more than 70 scientific publications as well as 17 books, including the New York Times best-sellers Power Foods for the Brain, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, and the USA Today best-seller Dr. Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes. As president of the Physicians Committee, Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research. Originally from Fargo, N.D., Dr. Barnard received his medical degree at the George Washington University School of Medicine and completed his residency at the same institution. He practiced at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York before returning to Washington to found the Physicians Committee.
Mary Nichols has been the Chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) since 2007. She also served as Chair from 1979-1983. In addition to serving on the CARB, she has been the Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Air and Radiation program, Secretary for California's Resources Agency, and the Director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles.