Our Dual Citizenship: Nature & Democracy
Senior Fellow, Center for Humans and Nature
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Protect Democracy
President & CEO, Partnership for Public Service
President & CEO, Emerald Cities Collaborative
Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
Clinical Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University
Terry Tempest Williams
Writer, educator, conservationist, and activist
Journalist & Author
Founder of the State of American Democracy Project
In this final episode of the Democracy Unchained: A Conversation Series, environmentalists, activists, journalists and scholars come together to discuss ways to repair and rebuild America and the dual citizenship we all hold: in a decent and durable democracy and in a changing global climate.
Bruce Jennings, Senior Fellow, Center for Humans and Nature
Bruce Jennings is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society and the Department of Health Policy at the Vanderbilt Medical Center, and holds a faculty appointment as Lecturer at the Yale University School of Public Health. In addition, he is Senior Fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature in Chicago; and Senior Advisor and Fellow at The Hastings Center in Garrison, NY, where he was on the research staff from 1980-2006, and served as Executive Director and Executive Vice President from 1991 through 1999.
Since coming to Vanderbilt in 2015, he has taught in Foundations of Clinical Care, Learning Communities program in the School of Medicine and has delivered guest lectures in in the Masters of Public Health program and in undergraduate courses on bioethics. His research interests are interdisciplinary, spanning work in ethics and political theory in relation to policy, health, and environmental issues. He is a participant in the TIPs Ethics and Practices of Care Faculty Working Group and the Social and Political Thought seminar sponsored by the Political Science and Philosophy departments.
Ian Bassin, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Protect Democracy
Ian served as Associate White House Counsel from 2009-2011. In addition to counseling the President and senior White House staff on administrative and constitutional law, his responsibilities included ensuring that White House and executive branch officials complied with the laws, rules and norms that protect the fundamentally democratic nature of our government. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal and President of the American Constitution Society.
Max Stier, President & CEO, Partnership for Public Service
As the founding president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, Max has overseen the creation and growth of a network connecting more than 1,000 colleges and universities with 80 federal agencies; a center focusing on the presidential transition; an awards program that recognizes exceptional civil servants for their extraordinary accomplishments; annual rankings that examine employee engagement; numerous leadership development programs; and more.
Before coming to the Partnership he worked in each of the three branches of federal government. In the summer of 1982, he served on the personal staff of Congressman Jim Leach. In 1992, he clerked for Chief Judge James Oakes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and in 1994 for Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court. Between these two positions, he served as special litigation counsel to Assistant Attorney General Anne Bingaman at the Department of Justice. In 1995, Stier joined the law firm of Williams & Connolly, where he practiced primarily in the area of white-collar defense. And in his most recent federal position, Max served as the deputy general counsel for litigation at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
While in the executive branch, Max realized just how much influence great leaders have on improving their organizations. While at Justice, he started a paralegal program modeled after the private sector and watched as an influx of talented young graduates energized and transformed the agency’s culture. His HUD experience underscored that skillful leaders also have a potent role in making a difference for the American public.
Max’s favorite fed is Teddy Roosevelt who, along with his many other accomplishments, is the father of the civil service.
Denise Fairchild, President & CEO, Emerald Cities Collaborative
Denise Fairchild is the inaugural President of Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC), a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., with affiliates in major urban centers across the United States. She is charged with advancing ECC’s “high-road” mission to green our cities, build resilient local economies and ensure equity inclusion in both the process and outcomes of a new green and healthy economy.
Denise is nationally recognized and respected for her 40-year successful track record and innovative programs in sustainable and community economic development, domestically and internationally. In 1995 she founded and directed the Community and Economic Development (CED) Department at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, as well as an affiliated nonprofit community development research and technical assistance organization, CDTech. She founded the Regional Economic Development Institute (REDI), an initiative of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, to provide inner-city residents with career and technical education for high-growth/high-demand jobs in the L.A. region, with a focus on the green economy. From 1989-1995 she served as executive director of LISC-LA, helping to build out the region’s community development industry creating nonprofit housing, jobs and businesses that strengthened and improved the health and environments of L.A.’s low-income communities of color.
Her civic and political appointments have included the California Commission on Regionalism, the California Economic Strategy Panel, the California Local Economic Development Association, the Urban Land Institute National Inner City Advisor, the Coalition for Women’s Economic Development and the Los Angeles Environmental Quality Board. She has lived, worked and educated her two sons in South Los Angeles since 1977 and also served as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s special advisor for South L.A. Investments.
Denise received her B.A from Fisk University in 1972, a masters in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in urban planning from UCLA. She holds a number of academic distinctions, including serving as a senior fellow at M.I.T., U.C.L.A. and The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship.
Michael Oppenheimer, Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
Michael Oppenheimer is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), the Department of Geosciences, and the High Meadows Environmental Institute at Princeton University. He is the Director of the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment (C-PREE) at SPIA and Faculty Associate of the Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences Program and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.
Oppenheimer joined the Princeton faculty after more than two decades with The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a non-governmental, environmental organization, where he served as chief scientist and manager of the Climate and Air Program. He continues to serve as a science advisor to EDF.
He is the author of over 200 articles published in professional journals and is co-author (with Robert H. Boyle) of a 1990 book, Dead Heat: The Race Against The Greenhouse Effect. He is coauthor of the book Discerning Experts: The Practices of Scientific Assessment for Environmental Policy, published in 2020 by the University of Chicago Press.
Oppenheimer is a long-time participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, most recently serving as a Coordinating Lead Author on IPCC’s Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019) and as a Review Editor on the upcoming Sixth Assessment Report. Oppenheimer served previously as a member of several panels of the National Academy of Sciences as well as the National Academies’ Board on Energy and Environmental Studies and the New York City Panel on Climate Change, providing technical advice to the City. He is also a winner of the 2010 Heinz Award and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Oppenheimer is co-editor-in-chief of interdisciplinary scientific journal, Climatic Change .
His interests include science and policy of the atmosphere, particularly climate change, the risks and impacts climate change entails, and adaptation and other human responses. His research aims to understand the potential for “dangerous” outcomes of increasing levels of greenhouse gases by exploring the effects of global warming on the ice sheets and sea level, on the risk from coastal storms, and on patterns of human migration. He also studies the process of scientific learning and scientific assessments and their role in understanding problems of global change.
In the late 1980’s, Dr. Oppenheimer and a handful of other scientists organized two workshops under the auspices of the United Nations that helped precipitate the negotiations that resulted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (signed at the 1992 Earth Summit) and the Kyoto Protocol. During that period, he co-founded the Climate Action Network. His research and advocacy work on acid rain also contributed to the passage of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act. Dr. Oppenheimer has been a guest on many television and radio programs, including ABC’s This Week, The News Hour(link is external), The Oprah Winfrey Show, Colbert Report(link is external), and 60 Minutes.
Prior to his position at The Environmental Defense Fund, Dr. Oppenheimer served as Atomic and Molecular Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Lecturer on Astronomy at Harvard University. He received an S.B. in chemistry from M.I.T., a Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Chicago, and pursued post-doctoral research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Ann Florini, Clinical Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University
Ann Florini’s research, teaching, and consulting address innovations in governance of both the public and private sectors. She currently directs programs at the Washington DC campus of the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. She also serves as a founding Board Member of the Economics of Mutuality Foundation.
In addition to her academic and think-tank work, she designed and ran the Global Governance Initiative on behalf of the World Economic Forum (2000-2005), releasing the Initiative’s reports each year at the Forum’s annual meetings at Davos. Prior to joining Thunderbird, she was full Professor of Public Policy at Singapore Management University, where she conceived and directed the innovative Masters of TriSector Collaboration. She previously served as the founding director of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the National University of Singapore (2006-2011), where she created and led programs of research on the intersections of business and public policy, Asia’s roles in global affairs, and energy and natural resources policy. She was co-director of the International Task Force on Transparency, Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University (2000-2005), and Director, Project on Transnational Civil Society, Japan Center for International Exchange (1998–2000).
Among her books are China Experiments: From Local Innovation to National Reform (with Hairong Lai and Yeling Tan, Brookings Press 2012); The Right to Know: Transparency for an Open World (Columbia University Press, 2007); The Coming Democracy: New Rules for Running a New World (Island Press, 2003/Brookings Press 2005); and The Third Force: The Rise of Transnational Civil Society (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/Japan Center for International Exchange, 2000). She has published numerous scholarly and policy articles in such journals as Energy Policy, Foreign Policy, Global Governance, Global Policy, International Security, and International Studies Quarterly.
Terry Tempest Williams, Writer, educator, conservationist, and activist
Terry Tempest Williams has been called “a citizen writer,” a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown us how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. “So here is my question,” she asks, “what might a different kind of power look like, feel like, and can power be redistributed equitably even beyond our own species?”
Williams, like her writing, cannot be categorized. She has testified before Congress on women’s health issues, been a guest at the White House, has camped in the remote regions of Utah and Alaska wildernesses and worked as “a barefoot artist” in Rwanda.
Known for her impassioned and lyrical prose, Terry Tempest Williams is the author of the environmental literature classic,Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field; Desert Quartet; Leap; Red: Patience and Passion in the Desert; and The Open Space of Democracy. Her book Finding Beauty in a Broken World, was published in 2008 by Pantheon Books. She is a columnist for the magazine The Progressive. Her new book is The Story of My Heart by Richard Jeffries, as rediscovered by Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams (Torrey House Press), in which she and Brooke Williams expand upon the 1883 book by Richard Jeffries. Her most recent book is The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The book was published in June, 2016, to coincide with and honor the centennial of the National Park Service.
In 2006, Williams received the Robert Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society, their highest honor given to an American citizen. She also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association and the Wallace Stegner Award given by The Center for the American West. She is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction. In 2009, Terry Tempest Williams was featured in Ken Burns’ PBS series on the national parks. She is also the recipient of the 2010 David R. Brower Conservation Award for activism. The Community of Christ International Peace Award was presented in 2011 to Terry Tempest Williams in recognition of significant peacemaking vision, advocacy and action. In 2014, on the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Ms. Williams received the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award honoring a distinguished record of leadership in American conservation.
Terry Tempest Williams is the Provostial Scholar at Dartmouth College. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Orion Magazine, and numerous anthologies worldwide as a crucial voice for ecological consciousness and social change. In 2015, She and her husband, Brooke Williams, purchased BLM oil and gas leases in Utah as conservation buyers. They divide their time between Castle Valley, Utah and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Richard Louv, Journalist & Author
Richard Louv is a journalist and author of ten books, including Our Wild Calling: How Connecting With Animals Can Transform Our Lives – And Save Theirs, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, and Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life: 500 Ways to Enrich Your Family’s Health & Happiness. His books have been translated and published in 24 countries, and helped launch an international movement to connect children, families and communities to nature. He is co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the , an organization helping build the movement.
He appears frequently on national radio and television programs, including the Today Show, CBS Evening News, and NPR’s Fresh Air. He speaks internationally on nature-deficit disorder, a concept he first introduced in Last Child in the Woods; on the importance of children’s and adults’ exposure to nature for their health, and on the need for environmental protection and preservation for greater access to nature and the health of the Earth. Among others, he has presented keynote addresses at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference; the USC Institute for Integrative Health Conference; the first White House Summit on Environmental Education; the Congress of the New Urbanism; the International Healthy Parks Conference in Melbourne, Australia; and the national Friends of Nature Conference in Beijing, China.
In 2008, he was awarded the national Audubon Medal; prior recipients included Rachel Carson, E.O. Wilson and President Jimmy Carter. He is also a recipient of the San Diego Zoological Society Conservation Medal; the George B. Rabb Conservation Medal from the Chicago Zoological Society; the International Making Cities Livable Jane Jacobs Award; and the Cox Award, Clemson University’s highest honor for “sustained achievement in public service.” In 2018, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the NewSchool of Architecture & Design.
As a journalist and commentator, Louv has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Times of London, Orion, Outsideand other newspapers and magazines. He was a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribuneand Parents magazine. Louv has served as a visiting scholar for Clemson University and Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal, Ecopsychology. With artist Robert Bateman, he serves as honorary co-chair of Canada’s Child in Nature Alliance. He is also on the advisory boards of Biophilic Cities and the International Association of Nature Pedagogy.
Married to Kathy Frederick Louv, he is the father of two young men, Jason and Matthew. He would rather hike than write.
David Orr, Founder of the State of American Democracy Project
David W. Orr is Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics Emeritus and senior advisor to the president of Oberlin College. He is a founding editor of the journal Solutions, and founder of the Oberlin Project, a collaborative effort of the city of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to improve the resilience, prosperity, and sustainability of Oberlin. Orr is the author of eight books, including Dangerous Years: Climate Change, the Long Emergency, and the Way Forward (Yale, 2016) and Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (Oxford, 2009) and coeditor of three others. He has authored over 200 articles, reviews, book chapters, and professional publications.
In the past 25 years, he has served as a board member or advisor to eight foundations and on the boards of many organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Currently he is a trustee of the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado and the Children and Nature Network. He has been awarded eight honorary degrees and a dozen other awards including a Lyndhurst Prize, a National Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, and a Visionary Leadership Award from Second Nature. Orr is a frequent lecturer at colleges and universities throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. While at Oberlin, he spearheaded the effort to design, fund, and build the Adam Joseph Lewis Center, which was named by an AIA panel in 2010 as “the most important green building of the past 30 years,” and as “one of 30 milestone buildings of the twentieth century” by the U.S. Department of Energy and was instrumental in funding the Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center.