Katharine Wilkinson

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Renowned Strategist, Expert and Author on How Organizations and Changemakers Can Address the Climate Crisis; Advisor on Advancing and Communicating Proactive Climate Solutions; Senior Writer, New York Times Best-Seller “Drawdown” (2017)

Biography

Humanity has faced urgent threats in the past, but never one as all-encompassing as the climate crisis. The living systems of the planet are fraying and the fabric of society cannot hold without them. What’s required is nothing short of total transformation; within that transformation lies evolutionary possibility. What, then, does it mean to live on Earth at this moment? What can or should be done—by businesses, governments, concerned citizens? Is there a path away from crisis, toward a life-giving future for all?

Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, renowned expert, strategist and author on how humanity can address the climate crisis, says the solutions for a regenerative future are already largely in hand. One hundred of them are outlined in the New York Times best-selling book for which she was the senior writer, “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” (Penguin, 2017). The challenge is to apply climate solutions with speed and at scale. The opportunity is to create a more vibrant, equitable, prosperous and resilient world. Our collective wisdom is vast, she says; it’s time for collective will to match it.

Wilkinson, the vice president of communication and engagement at the nonprofit Project Drawdown, articulates a bold vision for the future, grounded in climate solutions that are economically viable and scientifically proven. Given the urgency of change required, investing in existing solutions is essential. With innovation, others are on the way. Wilkinson’s speaking, writing and research emphasizes three aspects of climate action strategy: opportunities to act on the insights of Project Drawdown, effectively communicating a call to climate action, and the leadership capabilities required by changemakers. All three are critical for creating organizations that are life-giving for stakeholders, society and the planet.

Through her eloquent and accessible keynotes – such as her recent TED Talk linking climate change to the empowerment of women and girls – Wilkinson conveys a powerful call to heal the Earth and humanity in the process. Sustainability – doing less harm – is no longer sufficient. Regeneration is now the necessary aspiration. Wilkinson offers frameworks and strategies for the transformation required of leaders, organizations and society. With illustrative stories and actionable insights, she both informs and inspires. Bringing a holistic, global perspective, she is uniquely adept at placing particular topics or efforts in their larger context.

Wilkinson’s first book, “Between God & Green: How Evangelicals Are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change” (Oxford University Press, 2012), explored the intersection of religion, politics, culture and climate change. This work on bridging the gap between conservative Christianity and climate action persuaded Wilkinson of the necessity of rooting climate action in values, stories and vision. Her writing has also been published by BBC, CNN and Time, among others. She has shared her expertise at Aspen Ideas, National Geographic, Skoll World Forum, Talks @ Google, TED Women, the United Nations, and through frequent media appearances. Wilkinson currently advises on Mary Robinson’s climate podcast, Mothers of Invention, and works to champion women’s climate leadership.

Building on her strategic advisory experience at The Boston Consulting Group and the purpose consultancy BrightHouse, Wilkinson influences leading companies and philanthropies on climate action. She has worked with diverse clients including American Express, Interface, KPMG, Kroger, New Chapter, Purpose Built Communities and SunTrust Bank. GreenBiz named her one of “25 badass women shaking up the corporate climate movement.” Her prior experience includes teaching at the University of Oxford and Agnes Scott College, co-founding the social venture Civic Dinners, and work for the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council. She serves on the boards of Wild Ark, a pioneering conservation organization, and Chattahoochee NOW, a nonprofit working to reimagine Atlanta’s riverfront.

Wilkinson holds a doctorate in geography and environment from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a bachelor’s in religion from Sewanee: The University of the South, where she was a Udall Scholar and valedictorian.

Katharine Wilkinson is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

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Wilkinson, Katharine

Biography

Humanity has faced urgent threats in the past, but never one as all-encompassing as the climate crisis. The living systems of the planet are fraying and the fabric of society cannot hold without them. What’s required is nothing short of total transformation; within that transformation lies evolutionary possibility. What, then, does it mean to live on Earth at this moment? What can or should be done—by businesses, governments, concerned citizens? Is there a path away from crisis, toward a life-giving future for all?

Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, renowned expert, strategist and author on how humanity can address the climate crisis, says the solutions for a regenerative future are already largely in hand. One hundred of them are outlined in the New York Times best-selling book for which she was the senior writer, “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” (Penguin, 2017). The challenge is to apply climate solutions with speed and at scale. The opportunity is to create a more vibrant, equitable, prosperous and resilient world. Our collective wisdom is vast, she says; it’s time for collective will to match it.

Wilkinson, the vice president of communication and engagement at the nonprofit Project Drawdown, articulates a bold vision for the future, grounded in climate solutions that are economically viable and scientifically proven. Given the urgency of change required, investing in existing solutions is essential. With innovation, others are on the way. Wilkinson’s speaking, writing and research emphasizes three aspects of climate action strategy: opportunities to act on the insights of Project Drawdown, effectively communicating a call to climate action, and the leadership capabilities required by changemakers. All three are critical for creating organizations that are life-giving for stakeholders, society and the planet.

Through her eloquent and accessible keynotes – such as her recent TED Talk linking climate change to the empowerment of women and girls – Wilkinson conveys a powerful call to heal the Earth and humanity in the process. Sustainability – doing less harm – is no longer sufficient. Regeneration is now the necessary aspiration. Wilkinson offers frameworks and strategies for the transformation required of leaders, organizations and society. With illustrative stories and actionable insights, she both informs and inspires. Bringing a holistic, global perspective, she is uniquely adept at placing particular topics or efforts in their larger context.

Wilkinson’s first book, “Between God & Green: How Evangelicals Are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change” (Oxford University Press, 2012), explored the intersection of religion, politics, culture and climate change. This work on bridging the gap between conservative Christianity and climate action persuaded Wilkinson of the necessity of rooting climate action in values, stories and vision. Her writing has also been published by BBC, CNN and Time, among others. She has shared her expertise at Aspen Ideas, National Geographic, Skoll World Forum, Talks @ Google, TED Women, the United Nations, and through frequent media appearances. Wilkinson currently advises on Mary Robinson’s climate podcast, Mothers of Invention, and works to champion women’s climate leadership.

Building on her strategic advisory experience at The Boston Consulting Group and the purpose consultancy BrightHouse, Wilkinson influences leading companies and philanthropies on climate action. She has worked with diverse clients including American Express, Interface, KPMG, Kroger, New Chapter, Purpose Built Communities and SunTrust Bank. GreenBiz named her one of “25 badass women shaking up the corporate climate movement.” Her prior experience includes teaching at the University of Oxford and Agnes Scott College, co-founding the social venture Civic Dinners, and work for the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council. She serves on the boards of Wild Ark, a pioneering conservation organization, and Chattahoochee NOW, a nonprofit working to reimagine Atlanta’s riverfront.

Wilkinson holds a doctorate in geography and environment from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a bachelor’s in religion from Sewanee: The University of the South, where she was a Udall Scholar and valedictorian.

Katharine Wilkinson is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

Drawdown: Becoming a Regenerative Organization

Addressing the challenge of the climate crisis is an all-encompassing, collective and global effort. Every organization – whether corporation, nonprofit, philanthropy or government – has to reevaluate whether it is contributing to building a truly regenerative society. In this presentation, Katharine Wilkinson advocates for a “big picture” shift in how organizations of all types view climate change and their own role in addressing it. Pursuing a handful of separate initiatives on “clean energy” or “sustainability” is not enough, argues Wilkinson. Organizations must commit to across-the-board transformation and factor climate concerns into every decision they make in every area of business. This keynote can be customized specifically for corporations, philanthropies and nonprofits, and the public sector at every level, from cities to international organizations. We all have a part to play in the challenge of our time; Katharine Wilkinson equips you with the perspective you need to find yours.

Climate Changemakers: Leadership in an Age of Climate Crisis

In history, politics and business alike, there is wide recognition that the qualities of good leadership are paramount – and no more important than in a time of crisis. Today the world finds itself in a climate crisis and in need of leaders who can not only grasp the gravity of the situation but develop workable solutions and communicate a path forward to a wide variety of stakeholders. This presentation by Katharine Wilkinson, aimed at leaders in organizations of all types and across industries and sectors, conveys how employees at every level can make a true impact in addressing the climate crisis through a new perspective, a comprehensive strategy, and an ability to clearly and persuasively communicate what must be done, why and how.

Who Saves the World? The Nexus of Gender, Climate and Women’s Leadership

Climate change and gender equality are typically seen as separate issues. This is not the case, argues Katharine Wilkinson. The improvement of rights and social status for women and girls correlates closely with important efforts to address climate change, from encouraging sustainable farming to expanding education to children of both genders. It is critical, she argues, to support the catalytic climate leadership of women and girls. In this keynote presentation, Wilkinson draws on her highly acclaimed TED Talk, “How empowering women and girls can help stop global warming,” to share key ways equity can help address climate change. Policymakers, philanthropists, nonprofits and companies all have a role to play in protecting the planet through promoting gender equality. This presentation helps you discover how to realize your organization’s potential.

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Recommendations

“This from @DrKWilkinson is one of the best talks on climate change—or anything—I’ve ever seen. Important, and so good on so many levels.”

— Dr. Alan Townsend, Provost & Professor at Colorado College

“She is truly one of the most brilliant and influential voices on climate and deserving of the widest possible platform.”

— Eric Holthaus, Meteorologist & Columnist for Grist

Praise for “Drawdown”

“At this point in time, the Drawdown book is exactly what is needed; a credible, conservative solution-by-solution narrative that we can do it. Reading it is an effective inoculation against the widespread perception of doom that humanity cannot and will not solve the climate crisis. Reported by-effects include increased determination and a sense of grounded hope.”

— Per Espen Stoknes, Author, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

“…[T]here’s been no real way for ordinary people to get an understanding of what they can do and what impact it can have. There remains no single, comprehensive, reliable compendium of carbon-reduction solutions across sectors. At least until now. …[T]he public is hungry for this kind of practical wisdom.”

— David Roberts, Vox

Drawdown is not just a project – it is an adventure. It is a promising story that has the potential to engage every person on the planet with at least one solution to climate change, whether it is educating girls, improved rice cultivation, creating walkable cities, eating a plant-rich diet, household recycling, or any of the other solutions. ”

— Karen O’Brien, cCHANGE

Drawdown is an exceptional example of cooperation between some of the sharpest thinkers on climate and energy matters, an atlas that has the potential to save the planet.”

— Andreas Kuhlmann, CEO German Energy Agency

“It will give you the best kind of hope, the kind that balances realism with radical vision. …Stabilizing the climate system will require a heroic global effort, but the point here is only to show that…such an effort can do more than merely succeed; that it can succeed well, and open into futures that we can actually bear to contemplate.”

— Tom Athanasiou, The Nation

“The Paul Hawken presentation I just experienced at Telluride Mountainfilm was simply the best speech I have ever heard. And, not so incidentally, also the most important. To come at the world’s most important issue in an entirely novel fashion is a monumental feat.”

— Tom Peters, American writer on business management practices, best known for In Search of Excellence

“In the course of 20-some years of investigating and writing about global warming I’ve become all too familiar with that dynamic of gloom/doom/shame/fear/apathy, and I think Hawken has put his finger on exactly why we haven’t made more policy progress. The biggest anchor dragging behind this boat isn’t climate denial or even indifference but, I suspect, the almost unspeakably deep, defeatist conviction that no response really matters because we are already so thoroughly screwed. I’m vulnerable to that despair at times and maybe you are, too. If so, read this book — not just as an antidote to fear and despair but as foundation for understanding and supporting the kinds of change that really could be coming, and at every scale from your household to your company, your community, your county and state and national government.”

— Ron Meador, MinnPost

“Am blown away by Drawdown. Like hearing an advance copy of Sergeant Pepper,back in the day.”

— John Elkington, CEO Volans, author and world authority on sustainable development

“Be kindly unto the scientists, for they may just save our skin—and make us happier and wealthier in the bargain…. An optimistic program for getting out of our current mess, well deserving of the broadest possible readership.”

— Kirkus Review

“A rigorous and profoundly important resource.”

— Donna Seaman, Booklist

“With a climate-denying party controlling the government, it can seem that there’s no hope…. But a new book might change that—and serve as a blueprint for what comes next if the U.S. government (and the global community) begins to aggressively focus on altering the climate future. Drawdown is likely the most comprehensive model of climate solutions ever made.”

— Fast Company

Drawdown is a magnificent achievement.”

— Greg Watson, Schumacher Center for New Economics

“This is one of the most powerful, hopeful, world-changing documents. A deeply peer reviewed, fully win-win, nearly no-regrets pathway…with a surprising ranking of the most important and impactful solutions. Paul Hawken’s simple, elegant genius in leading this approach, can inspire rapid, catalytic action. ”

— Andy Lipkis, TreePeople

“A bold plan to beat back climate change based on solutions already within our grasp.”

— Outside Magazine

“At a time when the Trump administration is working to dismantle much of the nation’s efforts to minimize climate change, Paul Hawken’s new book swoops onto the scene like a knight in shining armor…. The book’s release couldn’t possibly come at a better time. Refreshingly absent of political analysis, it’s grounded in scientific reality and will likely go a long way toward inciting people to action.”

— The Portland Tribune

Drawdown is likely the most hopeful thing you’ll ever read about our ability to take on global warming.”

— Joel Makower, GreenBiz

“This book is a beautiful, inspiring, and deeply satisfying read. Most importantly it is no more doom and gloom. It is OPTIMISTIC and empowering. Paul Hawken is a true visionary and a brilliant voice for real solutions.”

— Jessica Rolph, Founding Partner, Happy Family

“It’s so brilliant…a showstopper.”

— Donald A. Falk, PhD, Associate Professor School of Natural Resources and the Environment University of Arizona

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