This Way to Sustainability Conference

Keynote Speakers 2021

Friday March 26, 2021 | 12:00-1:00 PM

Leah Penniman, MA

Farmer, Activist, Author, Teacher| Farming While Black(opens in new window)

Leah PennimanLeah Penniman was raised in Massachusetts and began farming as a teenager with The Food Project in Boston. Penniman holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University. Li has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002. She has worked at the Food Project, Farm School, Many Hands Organic Farm, Youth Grow and with farmers internationally in Ghana, Haiti, and Mexico. Li co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission of ending racism and injustice in the food system and reclaiming the inherent right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system as Black and Brown people. The work of Penniman and Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Soros Racial Justice Fellowship, Fulbright Program, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, NYS Health Emerging Innovator Awards, and Andrew Goodman Foundation, among others. Leah Penniman has also worked as a science teacher at University Park Campus School, Tech Valley High School, and Darrow School and was founding director of the Harriet Tubman Democratic High School. Penniman lives on the farm with her partner, Jonah Vitale-Wolff and their two children, Neshima and Emet Vitale-Penniman.

Friday, March 26, 2021 | 9:00-10:00 AM

Katharine Wilkinson, PhD

Author, Strategist, Teacher| in new window)

Katharine WilkinsonDr. Katharine Wilkinson is an author, strategist, teacher, and one of 15 “women who will save the world,” according to Time magazine. Her books on climate include the bestselling anthology All We Can Save, The Drawdown Review, the New York Times bestseller Drawdown, and Between God & Green. Dr. Wilkinson co-founded and leads The All We Can Save Project with Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, in support of feminist climate leadership, and she co-hosts the podcast A Matter of Degrees, telling stories for the climate curious with Dr. Leah Stokes. Previously, Dr. Wilkinson was the principal writer and editor-in-chief atProject Drawdown. She speaks widely, including at National Geographic, Skoll World Forum, and the United Nations. HerTED Talk on climate and gender equality has more than 1.9 million views. A homegrown Atlantan, Dr. Wilkinson holds a doctorate in geography and environment from Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a BA in religion from Sewanee, where she is now a visiting professor. She is happiest on a mountain or a horse. Find her@DrKWilkinson.

Thursday March 25, 2021 | 1:00-2:00 PM

Jennifer Atkinson, PhD

Author, Teacher | Dr. Jennifer in new window)

Jennifer AtkinsonDr. Jennifer Atkinson is an Associate Professor of environmental humanities at the University of Washington, Bothell. Her seminars on Eco-Grief & Climate Anxiety(opens in new window) have been featured in The Los Angeles Times(opens in new window), The Washington Post(opens in new window), the Seattle Times(opens in new window), NBC News(opens in new window), Grist(opens in new window), Medium(opens in new window), KUOW(opens in new window), and many other outlets. Jennifer works with psychologists, artists, scientists, and community groups to provide resources for navigating the emotional toll of our climate crisis. She recently received a grant(opens in new window) from the Rachel Carson Center in Munich to co-facilitate an interdisciplinary project titled "An Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators(opens in new window)” with a global team of scholars and activists.

Jennifer is also the author of Gardenland: Nature, Fantasy and Everyday Practice(opens in new window), a book that explores garden literature as a "fantasy genre" where people enact desires for community, social justice, joyful labor, and contact with nature. Her writing on the history of gardening in hard times has been featured on programs like NPR(opens in new window), The Conversation(opens in new window), and Earth Island Journal(opens in new window). She holds a PhD in English Literature & Language from the University of Chicago, and lives in Seattle where she’s taught at the University of Washington for the past 11 years.

Thursday, March 25, 2021 | 9:00-10:00 AM

Bill Shireman, PhD

President & CEO | Future 500(opens in new window) 

Bill ShiremanDr. Shireman's mission is to bring together people who love to hate each other—capitalists, activists, conservatives, and progressives, among others. He teaches leadership and negotiations at the UC Berkeley Haas Business School, and serves as a surrogate founding father of Bridge USA, where young progressives, conservatives, libertarians, and independents all register "decline-to-hate," and engage in democracy by listening, speaking, learning, teaching, and then solving problems together. He is also Future 500’s founder, president and CEO. As a life-long Republican and an environmental activist, a social progressive and a free-market enthusiast, Bill Shireman believes that our economics and our ecosystems don’t have to be at odds and that the left and right both have ample room to learn from each other. As the executive director of Californians Against Waste, he united Coors, Safeway and the Sierra Club to pass California’s “bottle bill”, possibly one of the nation’s most cost-effective recycling laws. His success forging a partnership between Mitsubishi and Rainforest Action Network helped catalyze the global deforestation-free movement and also led to the founding of Future 500. His current passion is overcoming America’s chronic polarization and crafting transpartisan solutions to climate change and other problems.  

Visit In This Together(opens in new window) to download your free copy of "The Non-Idiots Guide to Escaping Anti-Social Media"