Climate change is upon us, and how we adapt to it is crucial as we enter an uncertain future. The impacts of climate change are already being felt, and improper adaptation only exacerbates the problem. This phenomenon, known as climate change maladaptation, has been displayed through years of “band-aid” policies; how do we avoid making these same mistakes and find a workable solution before it’s too late?
- Jim Blackburn, Professor in the Practice in Environmental Law, Rice University
Jim Blackburn has been a practicing environmental lawyer and planner since 1973. He is a Professor in the Practice in Environmental Law in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Rice University, where he teaches courses in sustainable design and advanced sustainable design and is the Director of the Undergraduate Minor in Energy and Water Sustainability. Blackburn is the Co-Director of the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center at Rice. He is also a Rice Faculty Scholar at the Baker Institute and is the owner of a planning firm called Sustainable Planning and Design. Blackburn authored The Book of Texas Bays, published in 2004 by Texas A&M Press, and he has written a new book, A Texan Plan for the Texas Coast, published by Texas A&M Press in September 2017. In 2009 he published a book of poems and paintings with his co-author, artist Isabelle Chapman, titled Birds: A Book of Verse and Vision. He has also authored numerous legal papers and has received several local, state and national awards for environmental advocacy.
- Barrett Ristroph, Ristroph Law, Planning, and Research
Barrett works as a lawyer and planner with Alaska Native Villages and other entities to support climate change adaptation (including relocation), increased jurisdiction, natural resource protection, and the appropriate use of indigenous knowledge. She also serves as counsel to Gazewood and Weiner, P.C. She is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii-Manoa on how Alaska Native Villages are adapting to climate change and how laws and planning help or hinder. Originally from Cajun Country, Louisiana, USA, she has gained perspective from living and working in the Northern Mariana Islands, the Philippines, Hawaii, Arctic Alaska and Russia. She now lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her husband, Chief Pj Simon, and their son Magnus. Through her work, she hopes to build bridges between communities in South Louisiana, Alaska, and the Pacific Islands that are struggling with climate change and the need for sustainable development.
- Dr. Will Burns, Founding Co-Executive Director, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, School of International Service, American University
Dr. Wil Burns is the founding Co-Executive Director of the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, a scholarly initiative of the School of International Service at American University. he is based in its western office in Berkeley, California. He also serves as a Senior Research Fellow for the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and as a Research Fellow for the Center for Science, Technology and Medicine in Society (CSTMS) at the University of California-Berkeley. He previously served as the Director of the Energy Policy & Climate program at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. He also serves as the Co-Chair of the International Environmental Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association.He is the former President of the Association for Environmental Studies & Sciences, and former Co-Chair of the International Environmental Law interest group of the American Society of International Law and Chair of the International Wildlife Law Interest group of the Society. He has published over 80 articles and chapters in law, science, and policy journals and books, and has co-edited four books. He also served as founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy and Case Studies in the Environment. He holds a Ph.D. in International Environmental Law from the University of Wales-Cardiff School of Law.Prior to becoming an academic, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs for the State of Wisconsin and worked in the non-governmental sector for twenty years, including as Executive Director of the Pacific Center for International Studies, a think-tank that focused on implementation of international wildlife treaty regimes, including the Convention on Biological Diversity and International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. His current areas of research focus are: climate geoengineering; international climate change litigation; adaptation strategies to address climate change, with a focus on the potential role of microinsurance; and the effectiveness of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.
- Ken Gelburd, Board Member and past Chair, Federal Bar Association, Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources (moderator)
Ken Gelburd is pleased to return to the Summit as part of the Section’s long-standing practice of Summit co-sponsorship. Ken holds a B.A. from Syracuse University and an M.A. from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and received his J.D. from the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania. He spent thirty-five years in public sector environmental law, practicing successfully before Pennsylvania administrative bodies, trial and appellate courts, as well as the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Third Circuit and the Supreme Court. Any opinions he expresses during the Summit are his personal views and not necessarily those of the Federal Bar Association or the Section.