Director of the Innovations Program, Harvard Kennedy School
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Humanity has faced urgent threats in the past, but never one as all-encompassing as the climate crisis. The living systems of the planet are fraying and the fabric of society cannot hold without them.
Building on her strategic advisory experience at The Boston Consulting Group and the purpose consultancy BrightHouse, Wilkinson advises leaders on responsible, sustainable and regenerative practices. She has worked with global organizations including American Express, Interface, KPMG, Kroger, New Chapter, Purpose Built Communities and SunTrust Bank.
In March 2020, before leaving her post as editor-in-chief at Project Drawdown, Wilkinson and her team released “The Drawdown Review,” a comprehensive, research-driven publication cataloging the world’s top climate solutions. Later that year, she and her co-editor released the critically hailed bestseller “All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis” (One World, 2020) and co-founded the All We Can Save Project. A profoundly inspiring anthology of writings by women climate leaders, “All We Can Save” was named among the 10 best science books of 2020 by Smithsonian magazine. Rolling Stone called it “a mosaic that honors the complexity of the climate crisis like few, if any, books on the topic have done yet … a feast of ideas and perspectives, setting a big table for the climate movement, declaring all are welcome.” In 2021, she introduced All We Can Save Circles, a self-led framework that follows the course of the All We Can Save anthology, designed to nurture connection, encourage generous dialogue, and seed action for climate solutions.
Wilkinson articulates a bold vision for the future grounded in climate solutions that are economically viable and scientifically proven. Given the urgency of change required, investing in existing solutions and promising innovations is essential. Wilkinson is equally convicted that we need the biggest, strongest team possible to turn the promise of those solutions into reality.
Through her eloquent and accessible keynotes – such as her 2018 TED Talk, which has nearly 2 million views – Wilkinson conveys a powerful call to heal the Earth and humanity in the process. As a speaker, writer and researcher, she highlights three critical dimensions of climate action strategy: the truth of where we are and why we’re here, the courage to stand up and lead, and the solutions that can move us toward a just and livable future. She stresses that changemakers and organizations need all three.
We call it climate change, but it’s more accurately everything change. The impacts of a warming world are already evident all around us, and science has made clear that to stem that warming will require profound transformation. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has put it: We need “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” and we need them this decade. That will require a new breed of transformational leadership across every sector. In this presentation, climate strategist Katharine Wilkinson offers a framework for how to lead in this time of transformation. Weaving together guiding principles, ecological insights, and powerful examples, she illuminates the immense opportunity for “life-force leadership” and equips audiences to step into it with truth, courage, and solutions.
More and more companies are asking why: What’s the purpose of business beyond profit? If we exist for more than short-term gain, what “more” do we serve? Climate strategist Katharine Wilkinson argues that it’s impossible to answer these questions without grounding them in the current and future realities of the planet we call home. When organizations fail to do that, they play far too small. When they embrace it, they take purpose to another level. In this keynote, Wilkinson invites a deepening, expansion, and reinvigoration of why by setting purpose in the context of climate change and the planetary need for regeneration. With tailored guidance for a given sector or company, Wilkinson helps audiences clarify a purpose that is significant, impactful, and necessary.
Covid-19 emerged on the heels of the hottest decade on record. Now, the daunting imperative to rebuild our economy collides with the need for urgent, wholesale action to address climate change. These concurrent crises call for solutions that can create good jobs, remedy inequality, and stem greenhouse gas emissions — simultaneously. The good news, says Katharine Wilkinson, is that climate solutions can do just that. Wisely deployed, the practices and technologies that can ensure a livable planet can also make life on that planet healthier, more meaningful, and more just. Growing a life-giving future must mean growing a life-giving present for workers, communities, businesses, and the economy.
Inclusive climate leadership is about more than fairness, says author and strategist Katharine Wilkinson. A growing body of research shows it’s about efficacy. We need the biggest, strongest team possible, one that puts the work and wisdom of women at its center. In this keynote, Wilkinson draws on her viral TED Talk, which has nearly 2 million views, and the acclaimed anthology she co-edited, “All We Can Save,” which features writings by women at the forefront of the climate movement. The climate crisis and its solutions are best understood through a kaleidoscopic lens, Wilkinson explains, and whatever your unique superpowers are, there’s a role for you in this diverse ecosystem of transformation.
Climate change is increasingly present in our lives and increasingly occupies our minds and hearts. More and more people are concerned and want to be part of the solution, but it can be hard to get clear on where we are, much less where we want to go. In this accessible and inviting presentation, climate leader Katharine Wilkinson provides a snapshot of the present and paints a picture of the future that is both aspirational and possible. She then outlines ways we can realize it and reestablish balance with the planet’s living systems and within our human systems. Climate change is the feedback, not the problem, says Wilkinson. She shows us how to respond to that feedback with solutions for saving our planet and ourselves.
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