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Nov
29

Global Environment Speaker Series: Change Leadership for a Changing Climate

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Gottwald Center for the Sciences, Gottwald Auditorium
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The Global Environment Speaker Series welcomes Dr. Abigail Abrash Walton, Professor of Environmental Studies at Antioch University and Founder of ActionWorks.

Climate change, or global warming, has emerged as one of the most significant dynamics of our time. Scientists have identified combustion of fossil fuels by humans as the predominant contributor to climate change. World leaders, activists and others have called for urgent action, at all levels of society, to combat carbon pollution. Creating a sense of urgency is only the first step in a change process, and many change processes fail. Knowledge or awareness does not necessarily lead to action. Encouraging individuals to engage in pro-environmental behavior at an organizational level – or for sectors of society – where individual behavior is shaped and aggregated by organizational or sectoral policies and practices, is a critical locus for change. 

This talk focuses on one change leadership approach to effectively addressing climate change. Since 2011, an active and expanding movement has emerged focused on divestment of all fossil fuel company holdings and reinvestment of those resources in climate solution-oriented approaches, including clean energy technologies. Pledged and/or already-divested global institutional assets total more than $5 trillion. 

Dr. Abrash Walton will present empirical research results from a qualitative study investigating what explained the readiness of leaders to commit to institutional divestment of fossil fuels. This study gained the firsthand reflections, through in-depth interviews, of 18 philanthropic leaders who were navigating the relatively uncharted blue ocean of fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment. Total combined assets of the population organizations equaled US$3 billion, with mean asset size of $83 million. Research questions focused on the divestment behavior change process and the outcomes of divestment on leaders and their organizations.

This talk is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Department of Geography and the Environment, Environmental Studies Program, International Studies Program and special Co-Sponsorship with the Jepson School of Leadership Studies

Contact: Nancy Propst