Katharine Wilkinson

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Renowned Climate Change Strategist, Author and Expert on How Organizations and Changemakers Can Lead on Climate; Trusted Advisor to Business and Government Leaders, Investors, Organizations and Communities; Senior Writer, New York Times Bestseller “Drawdown” (2017); Editor-in-Chief, “The Drawdown Review” (2020); Co-editor, “All We Can Save” (2020); Co-host, “A Matter of Degrees” Podcast; Co-founder, The All We Can Save Project; One of 15 “Women Who Will Save the World,” Time Magazine

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.

“While time is of the essence, solutions for a regenerative future are already largely in hand,” says Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, one of the world’s foremost climate change strategists and thinkers. One hundred of them are outlined in the New York Times bestselling book for which she was the senior writer: “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” (Penguin, 2017).

“But these solutions must be implemented with speed and at scale in order to ensure a vibrant and resilient future,” says Wilkinson, who works closely with leaders around the world on strategies for addressing the climate crisis. “We have the frameworks and tools to turn away from the brink, and there are numerous near-term reasons to pursue them. But we need people, especially policymakers and leaders of global corporations, to truly step up and lead. Today, not tomorrow, because later is too late.”

Building on her strategic advisory experience at The Boston Consulting Group and the purpose consultancy BrightHouse, Wilkinson advises leaders on responsible, sustainable and regenerative practices. She has worked with global organizations including American Express, Interface, KPMG, Kroger, New Chapter, Purpose Built Communities and SunTrust Bank.

In March 2020, before leaving her post as editor-in-chief at Project Drawdown, Wilkinson and her team released “The Drawdown Review,” a comprehensive, research-driven publication cataloging the world’s top climate solutions. Later that year, she and her co-editor released the critically hailed bestseller “All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis” (One World, 2020) and co-founded the All We Can Save Project. A profoundly inspiring anthology of writings by women climate leaders, “All We Can Save” was named among the 10 best science books of 2020 by Smithsonian magazine. Rolling Stone called it “a mosaic that honors the complexity of the climate crisis like few, if any, books on the topic have done yet … a feast of ideas and perspectives, setting a big table for the climate movement, declaring all are welcome.”

Wilkinson 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 and promising innovations is essential. Wilkinson is equally convicted that we need the biggest, strongest team possible to turn the promise of those solutions into reality.

Through her eloquent and accessible keynotes – such as her 2018 TED Talk, which has nearly 2 million views – Wilkinson conveys a powerful call to heal the Earth and humanity in the process. As a speaker, writer and researcher, she highlights three critical dimensions of climate action strategy: the truth of where we are and why we’re here, the courage to stand up and lead, and the solutions that can move us toward a just and livable future. She stresses that changemakers and organizations need all three.

“Our collective wisdom is vast. It’s time for our collective will to match it,” says Wilkinson. “Sustainability – doing less harm – is no longer sufficient. Regeneration is now the necessary aspiration.”

# # #

Dr. Katharine Wilkinson is the former editor-in-chief at the climate solutions nonprofit Project Drawdown and now leads The All We Can Save Project. Recently, Time featured her as one of 15 “women who will save the world,” Apolitical named her one of the “100 most influential people in gender policy,” and GreenBiz named her one of “25 badass women shaking up the corporate climate movement.” Her 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. Among other roles, Wilkinson co-hosts the podcast “A Matter of Degrees” and is a visiting professor at Sewanee: The University of the South. She has presented at Aspen Ideas, National GeographicSkoll World ForumTalks @ Google, TED Women and the United Nations. Her writings have been published by the BBC, CNN and Time, among others, and she is frequently interviewed by media outlets. She serves on the boards of Doc Society, serving the transformational power of documentary film, 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 degree in religion from Sewanee: The University of the South, where she was a Udall Scholar and valedictorian.

Katharine Wilkinson is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Photo credit: Ben Brinker

Videos

Media

A Matter of Degrees Podcast

'All We Can Save' Authors Push for More Diversity in Climate Discussion (Video)

April 22, 2021

Smart Leaders Build Climate Solutions into Their Business Plans

April 21, 2021

TIME Magazine logo

These Women Are Transforming What Climate Leadership Looks Like. Here's What They Learned From the Pandemic

April 20, 2021

What Is Climate Feminism?

March 18, 2021

Meet 6 Unstoppable Women Who Are Working to Achieve Climate Justice Across the Globe

March 12, 2021

This Book About Climate Change Will Give You Hope

December 22, 2020

"All We Can Save" Is the Big Tent Approach to Climate Activism We Need

December 5, 2020

The Ten Best Science Books of 2020

November 27, 2020

Putting Out Wildfires, Now and Tomorrow

November 20, 2020

Build Long-Term Growth While Addressing Climate Change

November 2, 2020

New Data Reveals How People Think About Climate Change, Both in the U.S. and Abroad (Video)

October 13, 2020

Refocusing Climate Change as a Human Problem (Audio)

September 30, 2020

Jane Fonda, America Ferrera Team Up for Audiobook on Women & Climate Change: 'Guys Had Their Shot'

September 25, 2020

Are We Missing the Point About Climate Change?

September 24, 2020

A Post-Ginsburg Court Could be One More Climate Obstacle

September 23, 2020

Anthology "All We Can Save" Passes the Mic to Female Climate Leaders

September 23, 2020

Why We Need More Women Leading the Fight for the Planet

September 22, 2020

Welcome to the Feminist Climate Renaissance

September 22, 2020

All We Can Save Redefines ‘We’ in the Climate Fight

September 22, 2020

Why 'All You Can Save' Will Make You Feel Hopeful About the Climate Crisis

September 21, 2020

'Wakanda Doesn't Have Suburbs': How Movies Like Black Panther Could Help Us Save the Palnet

September 21, 2020

Washington Post logo

They Edited a Book About the Climate Crisis. Here's What They Learned About Hope

August 31, 2020

A Well-Curated Collection With Many Ideas for Ways Large and Small to Save the Planet

July, 2020

Report: Existing Climate Solutions Sufficient to Reach ‘Drawdown’ by Mid-2040s

March 3, 2020

Women, Girls and Non-Binary Leaders are Demonstrating the Kind of Leadership Our World So Badly Needs

December 6, 2019

Meet the Expert Cataloging Every Climate Solution (Audio)

December 6, 2019

What Do Evangelical Christians Really Think About Climate Change?

October 19, 2019

We Must Lead from the Front to Combat Climate Change

October 6, 2019

Climate Change is Heartbreaking. We Can Turn That Pain Towards Action

September 25, 2019

TIME Magazine logo

The Woman Who Discovered the Cause of Global Warming Was Long Overlooked. Her Story is a Reminder to Champion All Women Leading on Climate

July 17, 2019

CNN logo

Women Hold the Key to Curbing Climate Change

March 8, 2019

What Would Jesus Do? Talking with Evangelicals About Climate Change

December 19, 2018

Wired logo

Here's a Way to Fight Climate Change: Empower Women

December 3, 2018

Gender Equity is the Most Overlooked Solution for Climate Change

November 29, 2018

A Theory of Climate Change-and Climate Wonder-For the Classroom

August 27, 2018

Read These 3 Books About Global Warming

August 3, 2018

A Conversation on Climate: Is it "Game Over" - or "Game On" for the Planet?

April 13, 2018

What Will It Take to Kickstart the 'Drawdown' Movement?

February 7, 2018

How to Cool a Planet

December 31, 2017

Project Drawdown: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (Audio)

December 17, 2018

Man vs. Woman vs. Planet (Audio)

October 17, 2018

Reaching Drawdown: Interview with Katharine Wilkinson

A-Z Name

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.

“While time is of the essence, solutions for a regenerative future are already largely in hand,” says Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, one of the world’s foremost climate change strategists and thinkers. One hundred of them are outlined in the New York Times bestselling book for which she was the senior writer: “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” (Penguin, 2017).

“But these solutions must be implemented with speed and at scale in order to ensure a vibrant and resilient future,” says Wilkinson, who works closely with leaders around the world on strategies for addressing the climate crisis. “We have the frameworks and tools to turn away from the brink, and there are numerous near-term reasons to pursue them. But we need people, especially policymakers and leaders of global corporations, to truly step up and lead. Today, not tomorrow, because later is too late.”

Building on her strategic advisory experience at The Boston Consulting Group and the purpose consultancy BrightHouse, Wilkinson advises leaders on responsible, sustainable and regenerative practices. She has worked with global organizations including American Express, Interface, KPMG, Kroger, New Chapter, Purpose Built Communities and SunTrust Bank.

In March 2020, before leaving her post as editor-in-chief at Project Drawdown, Wilkinson and her team released “The Drawdown Review,” a comprehensive, research-driven publication cataloging the world’s top climate solutions. Later that year, she and her co-editor released the critically hailed bestseller “All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis” (One World, 2020) and co-founded the All We Can Save Project. A profoundly inspiring anthology of writings by women climate leaders, “All We Can Save” was named among the 10 best science books of 2020 by Smithsonian magazine. Rolling Stone called it “a mosaic that honors the complexity of the climate crisis like few, if any, books on the topic have done yet … a feast of ideas and perspectives, setting a big table for the climate movement, declaring all are welcome.”

Wilkinson 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 and promising innovations is essential. Wilkinson is equally convicted that we need the biggest, strongest team possible to turn the promise of those solutions into reality.

Through her eloquent and accessible keynotes – such as her 2018 TED Talk, which has nearly 2 million views – Wilkinson conveys a powerful call to heal the Earth and humanity in the process. As a speaker, writer and researcher, she highlights three critical dimensions of climate action strategy: the truth of where we are and why we’re here, the courage to stand up and lead, and the solutions that can move us toward a just and livable future. She stresses that changemakers and organizations need all three.

“Our collective wisdom is vast. It’s time for our collective will to match it,” says Wilkinson. “Sustainability – doing less harm – is no longer sufficient. Regeneration is now the necessary aspiration.”

# # #

Dr. Katharine Wilkinson is the former editor-in-chief at the climate solutions nonprofit Project Drawdown and now leads The All We Can Save Project. Recently, Time featured her as one of 15 “women who will save the world,” Apolitical named her one of the “100 most influential people in gender policy,” and GreenBiz named her one of “25 badass women shaking up the corporate climate movement.” Her 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. Among other roles, Wilkinson co-hosts the podcast “A Matter of Degrees” and is a visiting professor at Sewanee: The University of the South. She has presented at Aspen Ideas, National GeographicSkoll World ForumTalks @ Google, TED Women and the United Nations. Her writings have been published by the BBC, CNN and Time, among others, and she is frequently interviewed by media outlets. She serves on the boards of Doc Society, serving the transformational power of documentary film, 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 degree in religion from Sewanee: The University of the South, where she was a Udall Scholar and valedictorian.

Katharine Wilkinson is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Photo credit: Ben Brinker

Speech Topics

Leading in a Time of Transformation

We call it climate change, but it’s more accurately everything change. The impacts of a warming world are already evident all around us, and science has made clear that to stem that warming will require profound transformation. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has put it: We need “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” and we need them this decade. That will require a new breed of transformational leadership across every sector. In this presentation, climate strategist Katharine Wilkinson offers a framework for how to lead in this time of transformation. Weaving together guiding principles, ecological insights, and powerful examples, she illuminates the immense opportunity for “life-force leadership” and equips audiences to step into it with truth, courage, and solutions.

The Planetary Purpose of Business

More and more companies are asking why: What’s the purpose of business beyond profit? If we exist for more than short-term gain, what “more” do we serve? Climate strategist Katharine Wilkinson argues that it’s impossible to answer these questions without grounding them in the current and future realities of the planet we call home. When organizations fail to do that, they play far too small. When they embrace it, they take purpose to another level. In this keynote, Wilkinson invites a deepening, expansion, and reinvigoration of why by setting purpose in the context of climate change and the planetary need for regeneration. With tailored guidance for a given sector or company, Wilkinson helps audiences clarify a purpose that is significant, impactful, and necessary.

Growing a Life-giving Future

COVID-19 emerged on the heels of the hottest decade on record. Now, the daunting imperative to rebuild our economy collides with the need for urgent, wholesale action to address climate change. These concurrent crises call for solutions that can create good jobs, remedy inequality, and stem greenhouse gas emissions — simultaneously. The good news, says Katharine Wilkinson, is that climate solutions can do just that. Wisely deployed, the practices and technologies that can ensure a livable planet can also make life on that planet healthier, more meaningful, and more just. Growing a life-giving future must mean growing a life-giving present for workers, communities, businesses, and the economy.

 All We Can Save: Leaderful Is the Way Forward

Inclusive climate leadership is about more than fairness, says author and strategist Katharine Wilkinson. A growing body of research shows it’s about efficacy. We need the biggest, strongest team possible, one that puts the work and wisdom of women at its center. In this keynote, Wilkinson draws on her viral TED Talk, which has nearly 2 million views, and the acclaimed anthology she co-edited, “All We Can Save,” which features writings by women at the forefront of the climate movement. The climate crisis and its solutions are best understood through a kaleidoscopic lens, Wilkinson explains, and whatever your unique superpowers are, there’s a role for you in this diverse ecosystem of transformation.

Climate Change: Where Are We Now and Where Do We Want to Be?

Climate change is increasingly present in our lives and increasingly occupies our minds and hearts. More and more people are concerned and want to be part of the solution, but it can be hard to get clear on where we are, much less where we want to go. In this accessible and inviting presentation, climate leader Katharine Wilkinson provides a snapshot of the present and paints a picture of the future that is both aspirational and possible. She then outlines ways we can realize it and reestablish balance with the planet’s living systems and within our human systems. Climate change is the feedback, not the problem, says Wilkinson. She shows us how to respond to that feedback with solutions for saving our planet and ourselves.

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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Books & Research

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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 “All We Can Save”

“A well-curated collection with many ideas for ways large and small to save the planet.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Women of all backgrounds—artists, writers, scientists, policy makers, and others—are at the forefront of climate action, and with this exquisite anthology, marine biologist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and editor-in-chief of Project Drawdown, Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, bring their voices together.”

— LitHub

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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