Meet Our Keynote Speakers

Robert Bullard

The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice: Why Equity Matters

Robert D. Bullard is distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University in Houston. Often referred to as the “father of environmental justice,” he received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University and is co-chair of the National Black Environmental Justice Network and cofounder of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Climate Change Consortium. He is the author of 18 books, including “Race, Place and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina” (2009), “Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States” (2011), and “The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities” (2012).

In 2008, Newsweek named him one of 13 Environmental Leaders of the Century. That same year, Co-op America honored him with its Building Economic Alternatives Award (BEA). In 2010, The Grio named him one of “100 Black History Makers in the Making,” and Planet Harmony named him one of “Ten African American Green Heroes." In 2013, he was honored with the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award, becoming the first African American to win the award. In 2014, the Sierra Club named its new Environmental Justice Award after Dr. Bullard. In 2015, the Iowa State University Alumni Association named him its Alumni Merit Award—an award also given to George Washington Carver (1894 ISU alum) in 1937.

In 2017, the Children Environmental Health Network presented him with the Child Health Advocate Award. In 2018, the Global Climate Action Summit named Dr. Bullard one of 22 Climate Trailblazers. In 2019, Apolitical named him one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy; Washington State University honored him with the William Julius Wilson Award for the Advancement of Justice; and Climate One named him the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication. In 2020, WebMD named Dr. Bullard its Health Heroes Trailblazer and the United Nations Environment Program honored him with its Champions of the Earth Lifetime Achievement Award, the United Nations’ highest environmental honor, recognizing outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have a transformative impact on the environment.

Radley Horton

Pathways to Advancing Climate Justice

Radley Horton is a research professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.  His research focuses on climate extremes, tail risks, climate impacts, and adaptation.  Radley was a convening lead author for the Third National Climate Assessment and served on the Sea Level Rise and Climate Scenarios task forces for the Fourth National Climate Assessment.

He is the lead principal investigator for the NOAA-Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments-funded Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast. Radley also teaches in Columbia University’s Sustainable Development Department. Radley is a leading climate science communicator, appearing regularly on television, radio, and in print.

Peggy Shepard

Working to Achieve Climate Justice in New York City

Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities — to ensure that the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment extends to all.

She serves on the executive committee of the National Black Environmental Justice Network and the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health Board of Advisors. She was the first female chair of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Her work has received broad recognition—she received the Jane Jacobs Medal from the

Rockefeller Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 10th Annual Heinz Award for the Environment, the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and honorary doctorates from Smith College and Lawrence University.