September 29: Day of Reflections on Climate Change

September 29, 2018
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Emerson Auditorium

04.20.2017- ICARES Gala at St. Louis Art Museum. Speakers and mingling. Photo by Mary Butkus

Washington University in St. Louis is committed to being a national sustainability leader. The university’s recent inclusion in a newly-formed international environmental coalition and the release of a St. Louis regional proclamation on climate change demonstrate the depth of the university’s efforts.

The effort continues with the hosting of a Day of Reflection on Climate Change at WashU on Saturday, September 29 at Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall from 1 – 4 p.m. This event will bring together community partners, alumni, industry professionals, as well  as WashU faculty, students, and staff to discuss global climate action.

In this afternoon workshop, join Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and key leaders in the fields of policy, advocacy, and industry as they reflect on how climate change impacts communities and discuss solutions both locally and globally. WashU students and alumni will offer personal reflections from their experience attending the last United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP) in Bonn, Germany.

The university is honored to welcome three guest speakers:

Founding Partner, Global Optimism and Convenor, Mission 2020
Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Ms. Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on global climate change. She was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2010-2016. Assuming responsibility for the international climate change negotiations after the failed Copenhagen conference of 2009, she was determined to lead the process to a universally agreed regulatory framework. Building toward that goal, she directed the successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010Durban 2011Doha 2012Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014, and culminated her efforts in the historical Paris Agreement of 2015. Throughout her tenure Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and communities of faith, think tanks and technology providers, NGOs and parliamentarians, to jointly deliver the unprecedented climate change agreement. For this achievement Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy.

She is currently the convener of Mission 2020, a global initiative that seeks to ensure the world bends the curve on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 in order to protect the most vulnerable from the worst impacts of climate change and usher in an era of stability and prosperity.


Executive Director of the Sierra Club

Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s executive director since 2010, is one of today’s most inspiring and effective environmental leaders. After working at Greenpeace for a few years, he joined the Rainforest Action Network in 1998 to serve as executive director. Under Brune’s leadership, the Rainforest Action Network secured a commitment from Home Depot to phase out the selling of wood from endangered forests, after which the organization went on to win more than a dozen other key commitments from some of America’s largest corporations. In March 2010, Brune became executive director of the Sierra Club. One month later, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, leading the Sierra Club to launch the Beyond Oil campaign to prevent another disaster by decreasing oil dependency with better gas mileage and smarter transportation options. Nearly 180 coal plants either have been retired or are scheduled to retire in part because of the Beyond Coal campaign. Under Brune’s leadership, the Sierra Club has grown to more than 3 million supporters and is at the forefront of the drive to move beyond fossil fuels to 100% clean, renewable energy, while also protecting America’s remaining wild places.

A nationally recognized writer, speaker, and commentator on energy and environmental issues, Brune is the author of Coming Clean: Breaking America’s Addiction to Oil and Coal (2010). He holds degrees in economics and finance from West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

[Source: Sierra Club]

Agricultural Environmental Strategy Lead and Associate Science Fellow at Bayer Crop Science

Having worked in the fields of biochemistry and protein science for more than 25 years, Dr. Seale’s mission is to help eliminate poverty through the application of science and technology. At Bayer, Dr. Seale is a recognized technical leader in the application of protein science and cell biology to foster crop improvement. He is currently leading efforts to tackle climate change through technical solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. During his time with the company, he has led teams of up to 45 scientists in supporting research and development within the product pipeline from discovery to commercial launch, driven the creation of a Cambridge, Massachusetts research center and innovation hub dedicated to high throughput protein optimization, and has been awarded 4 U.S. patents. He is the author of 9 peer-reviewed publications and 2 book chapters. Dr. Seale has previously served as the Missouri Second Congressional District Lead for the ONE Campaign, responsible for coordinating activities in support of the organization’s goals of eliminating extreme poverty. He has advocacy experience with Senate and House staff on Capitol Hill, and led local efforts to help pass the Electrify Africa Act of 2015 into law. He also sits on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Soil Health Partnership.

Dr. Seale attended Texas Tech University, where he received his PhD and BA in biochemistry.


Download the event flier here. 

For any questions about this event, please contact Courtney Chazen at or 314-935-8093.