Internationally Acclaimed Environmentalist, Author, Sustainability Pioneer to Deliver Inspiring Lecture in Pittsburgh

Paul Hawken will discuss project Drawdown and hold book signing

Green Building Alliance will host world-renowned Paul Hawken at its season finale installment of the Inspire Speakers Series on May 19. Recently named one of the top three Pioneers of Sustainability, and an accomplished author and environmentalist, Hawken will talk about his newest endeavor, Drawdown – a research and solutions-based approach to addressing climate change that describes how to achieve “drawdown,” the point in time when greenhouse gases peak and begin to decline on a year-to-year basis. Hawken’s work as an entrepreneur and author of best-selling books has greatly contributed to the start of the corporate social responsibility sector and social innovation.

“It is an exceptional honor to host Paul Hawken here in Pittsburgh,” said Jenna Cramer, Vice President of Transformation and Community. “His work at the intersection of social justice, sustainability, innovation, business, creativity, and design has changed the way the world operates. He is also a powerful and inspirational speaker. In fact, he was GBA’s inspiration to create the Inspire Speakers Series four years ago, so we’re excited and humbled for him to join us.”

At a young age, Hawken participated in the civil rights movement as a press coordinator for Martin Luther King, Jr. (acting as a marshal for the final march) and a staff photographer for the Congress of Racial Equality. These experiences deeply impacted his life-long commitment to social justice and environmental activism – two areas that he views as inseparable.

“As a city, Pittsburgh continues to delve into more complex concepts related to resiliency so that our region can ultimately absorb the stresses and shocks to our infrastructure and system, should those events occur,” said City of Pittsburgh Chief Resilience Officer Grant Ervin. “Ideas and opportunities related to addressing these challenges are at the heart of our planning for the future. Having Paul Hawken in Pittsburgh to talk about these topics – resiliency and climate change – from his many years of experience is not to be missed.

Hawken’s accomplishments include starting ecological businesses (including some of the first natural food companies, OneSun, and Drawdown), writing about the impact of commerce on living systems, and consulting with heads of state and CEOs on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. He is the author of several best-selling books, including “The Ecology of Commerce,” “Blessed Unrest,” “Growing a Business,” and “Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution.” Hawken has been a guest on “The Today Show” and “Larry King Live,” as well as profiled by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many others.

The event, Planet & People: Connecting Climate Change, Social Innovation & Inspiration, will also feature Dr. Joylette Portlock, president of local nonprofit Communitopia, which focuses on climate change communication. Portlock stars in a series of funny, short web videos on climate change called, “Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something!” She has worked on environmental issues at the local, state, and federal level, is a Huffington Post blogger, and currently serves on the Allegheny County Board of Health. The event will take place on Thursday, May 19 at the Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at the Kaufmann Center. Lectures begin at 5:30; networking, food, and drinks begin at 4:30 p.m. Paul Hawken will hold a book signing after the lectures. Learn more here.

Event information:

Thursday, May 19 at Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at Kaufmann Center

  • 4:30 – 5:30:         Food, drinks and networking
  • 5:30 – 6:45:         Presentations by Paul Hawken & Dr. Joylette Portlock
  • 6:45 – 7:00:         Q&A
  • 7:00 – 7:15:         Book Signing with Paul Hawken

About the Inspire Speakers Series

Inspire Speakers Series, an initiative of Green Building Alliance, is a sequence of lectures that brings fresh, innovative thinking on topics of sustainability to Pittsburgh, with the goal of inspiring and motivating our citizens and leaders to think bigger and bolder about what is possible for our region. The series features nationally renowned thought-leaders from various sustainability fields, as well as local experts who can share their experiences of promoting environmental quality, social equity, and economic vitality in Western Pennsylvania. This season’s series is presented in collaboration with p4 Pittsburgh and The Heinz Endowments.

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