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On The Cusp Of Change – A Talk By Guy O. Williams

Event Type
Guest Lecture
Guy O. Williams
Center for Sustainable Systems
School for Environment and Sustainability
Office of Campus Sustainability
Student Life
Graham Sustainability Institute
September 14, 20205:00pm - 6:00pm

Guy O. Williams will share his experience and encouragement on facing tough issues such as environmental justice, climate change, and racism. From his perspective, as transformative as these last 30 years have been, to move forward, we all must intentionally consider how we will address these challenges in our daily lives. An introduction and closing remarks will be presented by Rosina M. Bierbaum.

Watch the recorded talk.

About Guy O. Williams

Guy O. Williams is most noted for his focus on, and dedication to, the fight for environmental justice. People affiliated with the University of Michigan have been important sources of inspiration, colleagues, and role models since the earliest days of his career. Williams met Drs. Bunyan Bryant and Paul Mohai of the University of Michigan in 1990 while planning the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit.

Over the next 30 years, Williams guided many initiatives to fruition, including the publication of the first, and only, Detroit Climate Action Plan, in 2017, one of only a handful of community-generated plans in the country. The recipient of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy’s William Milliken Leadership for the Common Good Award in 2017, he was honored by his alma mater, Bucknell University, with its prestigious Alumni Association Award for Service to Humanity in 2016 and named the 2014 Michigan Green Leader by the Detroit Free Press.

In his roles at National Wildlife Federation and Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, he was active in partnerships with an assortment of University of Michigan schools and their centers—for example, the Law School, School of Public Health, Erb Institute, Graham Sustainability Institute, Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessment Center, Center for Sustainable Systems and the School for Environment and Sustainability.

He is Chair Emeritus of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy Board of Governors. A Director on the Board of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (Chair 2013–2016), he has, until recently, also served on the Boards of the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (Wayne State University) and the Detroit Urban Research Center (University of Michigan). For over two decades, Williams has served on the External Advisory Board of the Center for Sustainable Systems (University of Michigan).


About Rosina M. Bierbaum

Dr. Rosina Bierbaum is a Professor and Dean Emerita of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment (now School for Environment and Sustainability) and the Roy F. Weston Chair in Natural Economics at the University of Maryland. She chairs the Science and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility, and serves as a Science Adviser to the Global Adaptation Commission.

Bierbaum’s experience extends from climate science into foreign relations and international development. Rosina served for two decades in both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government, and ran the first Environment Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She served on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, as an Adaptation Fellow at the World Bank, and co-author of the 2010 World Development Report on Climate Change. She has lectured on every continent.