AN APPALACHIAN SUMMER FESTIVAL
Music - Dance - Theatre - Visual Arts - Film
Former EPA head Gina McCarthy and Peabody Award winning radio broadcaster Majora Carter will serve as the keynote speakers for the 2017 Appalachian Energy Summit, an annual gathering of progressive energy thought-leaders and innovators from 17 public institutions and seven private colleges and universities.
A career public servant in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than thirty years. As the head of EPA under President Obama, she led historic progress to achieve the administration’s public health and environmental protection goals and Climate Action Plan. In 2015, McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country’s commitment to domestic climate action and spurring international efforts that helped secure the Paris Climate Agreement. During her tenure, EPA initiatives cut air pollution, protected water resources, reduced greenhouse gases and strengthened chemical safety to better protect more Americans, especially the most vulnerable, from negative health impacts. Internationally, McCarthy worked with the UN and WHO on a variety of efforts and represented the U.S. on global initiatives to reduce high risk sources of pollution. Known for her pragmatic approaches and disarming, plain-speaking style, McCarthy has earned the respect of the environmental, public health and business communities with her thorough understanding of all sides of climate, air quality, chemical safety, environmental justice and health equity, and water, land and natural resource protection and restoration discussions. A gifted communicator and strategist with a talent for making environmental issues nonpartisan, highly personal, and solidly backed by science and the law, McCarthy is consistently credited with finding common ground and forging sustainable, common sense solutions.
Gina McCarthy is currently serving as a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard and as a Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, emphasizing her career-long position that public health and the environment are critically interconnected. Before joining EPA, she served five Massachusetts Democratic and Republican administrations and was Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. She joined EPA in 2009 as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. In 2013, she was chosen by President Obama to spearhead his climate efforts at the federal level as EPA Administrator. According to McCarthy, “Most of the rules now being questioned as too costly, out of touch with science or agency overreach were done on my watch. I’m very proud of the public health benefits they bring to American families, the natural resources protections they provide, and the way they have allowed the economy to thrive and jobs to grow.”
Combining a contagious passion for democracy with an urgency to take action, Gina McCarthy has spoken to audiences around the world about the dangers, challenges and opportunities that face our planet and its people. As equally in her element with business audiences and environmental groups, Gina McCarthy leaves audiences informed, energized and inspired that they can—and must—make a difference.
Majora Carter is probably the only person to receive an award from John Podesta's Center for American Progress and a Liberty Medal for Lifetime Achievement from Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. Fast Company named her one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business; The New York Times described her as "The Green Power Broker"; and the Ashoka Foundation's Changemakers.org recently dubbed her "The Prophet of Local."
Carter hosts the Peabody Award-winning public radio series "The Promised Land" and serves on the boards of the US Green Building Council and The Wilderness Society. She has a long list of awards and honorary degrees, including a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship.
Carter founded and led Sustainable South Bronx, from 2001 to 2008, when few were talking about "sustainability" - and even fewer in places like the South Bronx.
By 2003, Carter coined the phrase "Green the Ghetto" as she pioneered one of the nation's first urban green-collar job training and placement systems, and spearheaded legislation that fueled demand for those jobs. Her 2006 TEDtalk was one of six presentations to launch that groundbreaking website.
Since 2008, Carter's consulting company has exported climate adaptation, urban revitalization, and leadership development strategies for business, government, foundations, universities, and economically underperforming communities.
The 2017 Appalachian Energy Summit is the sixth-annual meeting of some of the world’s most brilliant minds in energy policies and practices. This unique three-day event convenes academia, industry, and students in a transformational effort that delivers meaningful ecological, financial and social benefit. The 2017 theme, “Perspectives: Policy & Practice” broadens the conference’s scope, increasing it to include issues of social and climate justice related to energy production, distribution, and consumption.
“This year's Appalachian Energy Summit focuses on learning from a variety of ‘Perspectives’ within the clean energy industry and the field of leadership development,” states Dr. Lee Ball, Director of Sustainability at Appalachian State University. “The Summit and its attendees are demonstrated leaders in advancing clean energy and sustainability. We are concentrating on the process of inclusiveness needed to further our goals of avoided energy costs, carbon reduction, social responsibility and environmental stewardship."