January 14, 2008   

AMHERST, Mass.—Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Bill McKibben, environmentalist and writer, will participate in a discussion titled “Containing Carbon: Markets, Morals and Mobilization” at a forum at Amherst College on Wednesday, Feb. 4. The event, which will take place on campus at 4 p.m. in Johnson Chapel, is part of the Amherst College Colloquium Series (ACCS) and is free and open to the public. 

Whitman is currently the president of The Whitman Strategy Group, a consulting firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues. She is also co-chair of the Republican Leadership Council, which she founded with former Missouri Sen. John Danforth. Author of the New York Times best seller It’s My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America, she was the 50th governor of the state of New Jersey, serving as its first female chief executive from 1994 to 2001, and went on to serve in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from January of 2001 until June of 2003. In the former position, she earned praise from both Republicans and Democrats for her commitment to preserve a record amount of New Jersey land as permanent green space. She was recognized by the Natural Resources Defense Council as well for instituting the most comprehensive beach-monitoring system in the nation. As EPA Administrator, she promoted watershed-based water protection policies and championed regulations requiring non-road diesel engines to reduce sulfur emissions by more than 95 percent. In addition, she established the first federal program to promote redevelopment and reuse of “brownfields,” or previously contaminated industrial sites. Before becoming governor, she was the president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and served on the Somerset County board of Chosen Freeholders.

McKibben, who currently serves as scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, writes about global warming, alternative energy and the risks associated with human genetic engineering. He has published several books, including The End of Nature; The Age of Missing Information; The Comforting Whirlwind; Maybe One; Deep Economy and The Bill McKibben Reader, a collection of 44 essays written for various publications over the past 25 years. A former staff writer for The New Yorker magazine—he penned many of the “Talk of the Town” columns from 1982 to early 1987—he is also a frequent contributor to various publications, such as The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone and Grist Magazine. He has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. A passionate environmental activist, he helped organize one of the largest demonstrations against global warming in American history in 2006 and founded 350.org, a worldwide, grassroots effort demanding action on climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million.

Amherst’s ACCS explores pressing societal concerns in depth and features renowned speakers taking divergent positions on the issues. Each colloquium includes two days of seminars with the speakers and culminates in an open forum that is free to the general public. It is funded through the Office of the President of Amherst College and the generosity of Michael Keiser ’67.