Planet & People: Connecting Climate Change, Social Innovation, & Inspiration | May 19, 2016

Paul Hawken, an inspiration from the beginning to start something like the Inspire Speakers Series, joined us in Pittsburgh! This event featured thought-leaders who are tackling climate change in a positive way that engages people, inspires social innovation, and presents solutions.

One of the most transformational people in the sustainability and business fields, Paul Hawken shared his newest endeavor with Drawdown, a positive, solutions-based approach to addressing climate change that maps, measures, and models the beneficial financial and atmospheric impact from reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

Dr. Joylette Portlock shared her work with Communitopia, a nonprofit based in Pittsburgh that focuses on climate change communication. Joylette stars in a series of funny, short web videos on climate change for the general public, called “Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something!

Inspire Speakers Series, May 2016

More About Our Speakers:

Photo credit: Raymond Baltar
Photo credit: Raymond Baltar

Paul Hawken

Paul Hawken, an environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author, was recently named one of the top three Pioneers of Sustainability along with Professors Peter Senge and Michael Porter. His work includes starting ecological businesses, 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 has appeared on numerous media including the Today Show, Larry King, Talk of the Nation, Charlie Rose, and has been profiled or featured in hundreds of articles including the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Washington Post, Business Week, Esquire, and US News and World Report.  His writings have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Resurgence, New Statesman, Inc, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Mother Jones, Utne Reader, Orion, and many other publications.

He authors articles, op-eds, and peer-reviewed papers, and has written seven books including four national bestsellers. His books have been published in over 50 countries in 30 languages, and include:

  • The Next Economy (Ballantine 1983),
  • Growing a Business (Simon and Schuster 1987); the book serves as the basis of a 17-part PBS series hosted and produced by Paul that explored the challenges and pitfalls of starting and operating socially responsive companies; the PBS series was shown on television in 115 countries and watched by over 100 million people
  • The Ecology of Commerce (HarperCollins 1993); a national bestseller and voted #1 college text in 2013 on business and the environment by professors in 67 business schools
  • Blessed Unrest (Viking, 2007).
  • Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (Little Brown, September 1999) co-authored with Amory Lovins, has been read and referred to by several heads of state including President Bill Clinton, who called it one of the five most important books in the world today.
  • He is currenlty writing Carbon, The Business of Life, to be published by Viking/Penguin.


Paul has founded several companies, including:

  • Some of the first natural food companies in the U.S. that relied solely on sustainable agricultural methods;
  • OneSun, an energy company focused on ultra low-cost solar based on green chemistry and biomimicry.
  • Drawdown, which he is a co-founder. Working with over two hundred scholars, students, universities, companies and n0n-profit organizations, it defines and describes one hundred rigorously researched, state-of-the-shelf technologies that reduce and sequester greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Drawdown, both the book and an interactive website, maps, measures and models the beneficial financial and atmospheric impact they deliver over the next thirty years and describes how to achieve drawdown—a year-to-year reduction in carbon in the atmosphere.


Portlock-headshot (1)

Dr. Joylette Portlock

Dr. Joylette Portlock is the President of Communitopia, a nonprofit based in Pittsburgh that focuses on climate change communication, where she stars in a series of funny, short web videos on climate change for the general public, called “Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something!”.  She has a degree from MIT and a Ph.D. in genetics from Stanford University; she now works to give the public important scientific information it can use. She has worked on environmental issues at the local, state, and federal level, and has been focused on global climate change since 2007. Dr. Portlock is a Huffington Post blogger and also currently serves on the Allegheny County Board of Health.