Advisory Committee

The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to help VNRC stay at the forefront of research, education and advocacy for Vermont’s natural resources and environment. Membership: Membership on the Committee will be limited to those individuals who the VNRC Board feels are making seminal contributions in the fields embraced by VNRC’s mission or are acknowledged leaders, elders, or commentators in those arenas. Membership Responsibilities:

  1. Provide VNRC board and staff with advice on issues that are critical in their fields of endeavors as well as germane to VNRC’s mission.
  2. Promote VNRC where appropriate.
  3. Encourage students, employees and colleagues to get involved with VNRC as members, advocates and donors.
  4. Participate in VNRC events as time and resources allow.

Maude Barlow
Bill McKibben
Will Raap
James Gustave Speth

Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the United Nations General Assembly. She also chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch and is a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council. Maude is the recipient of eight honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, and the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award. She is also the best selling author or co-author of 16 books, including the recently released Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water.  Back to top


Bill McKibben is an American environmentalist and writer, the founder of, an international climate campaign.

He was president of the Harvard Crimson newspaper in college. Immediately after college he joined the New Yorker magazine as a staff writer, and wrote much of the “Talk of the Town” column from 1982 to early 1987.

His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 by Random House after being serialized in the New Yorker. It is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has been printed in more than 20 languages. Several editions have come out in the United States, including an updated version published in 2006.

In March 2007 McKibben published Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. It addresses what the author sees as shortcomings of the growth economy and envisions a transition to more local-scale enterprise.

In late summer 2006, Bill helped lead a five-day walk across Vermont to demand action on global warming that some newspaper accounts called the largest demonstration to date in America about climate change. Beginning in January 2007 he founded to demand that Congress enact curbs on carbon emissions that would cut global warming pollution 80 percent by 2050. With six college students, he organized 1,400 global warming demonstrations across all 50 states of America on April 14, 2007. Step It Up 2007 has been described as the largest day of protest about climate change in the nation’s history. A guide to help people initiate environmental activism in their community coming out of the Step It Up 2007 experience entitled Fight Global Warming Now was published in October 2007 and a second day of action on climate change was held the following November 3.

Bill is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine.

Bill has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He has honorary degrees from Green Mountain College, Unity College, Lebanon Valley College and Sterling College.

Bill currently resides with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and his daughter, Sophie, who was born in 1993, in Ripton, Vermont. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.  Back to top


Will Raap lives in Shelburne, Vermont.  He founded the Gardener’s Supply family of companies in 1983, and he is chairman of the board.  This year Gardener’s Supply employs more than 250 people and is one of the largest on-line and catalog gardening companies in this country. Will is the founder and past Chairman of the Intervale Center.  The mission of the Intervale Center is to develop farm-and land-based enterprises that generate economic and social opportunity while protecting natural resources.  The Intervale, which had long been a landfill for old cars, tires, used appliances, and other trash, is now a wonderful pastoral area of small farms close to downtown Burlington. Will saw the Intervale as a lost farming resource for the Burlington area and sought to return it to its agricultural heritage.  There are now 12 farms employing 70 and producing over a million dollars of food, flowers and conservation plants.

Will’s commitment to build linked enterprises guided by social missions has extended to Costa Rica where is founder of Greening Paraiso, a watershed restoration initiative; founding partner in El Centro Verde, a sustainable agriculture and agroforestry education and demonstration center; founding partner of Finca Lagunita, the first organic CSA membership farm in Central America; and partner in two conservation developments.

Currently, Will is focused on two new environmental restoration enterprises.  The Earth Partners works with degraded and vulnerable ecosystems to develop and implement science-based, investment-optimizing restoration projects funded by multiple revenue sources including carbon and other payments for ecosystem services.  Carbon Harvest Energy builds landfill gas-to-energy projects on sites that are below economic viability and makes them profitable by capturing the full value of the gas and land to create renewable distributed energy, run greenhouses and aquaculture from the waste heat, and filter and capture all remaining gas and waste to produce algae for feed and biodiesel.  Back to top


James Gustave Speth is Sara Shallenberger Brown Professor in the Practice of Environmental Policy at Yale where he served as Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies from 1999 to 2009.  From 1993 to 1999, Dean Speth was Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Development Group.  Prior to his service at the UN, he was founder and president of the World Resources Institute; professor of law at Georgetown University; chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality; and senior attorney and cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council.  Throughout his career, Dean Speth has provided leadership and entrepreneurial initiatives to many task forces and committees whose roles have been to combat environmental degradation, including the President’s Task Force on Global Resources and Environment; the Western Hemisphere Dialogue on Environment and Development; and the National Commission on the Environment. Among his awards are the National Wildlife Federation’s Resources Defense Award, the Natural Resources Council of America’s Barbara Swain Award of Honor, a 1997 Special Recognition Award from the Society for International Development, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Environmental Law Institute and the League of Conservation Voters, and the Blue Planet Prize.  He holds honorary degrees from Clark University, the College of the Atlantic, the Vermont Law School, Middlebury College, and the University of South Carolina. Publications include The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability, Global Environmental Governance, Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment, Worlds Apart: Globalization and the Environment and articles in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The Nation, The Harvard Business Review, and other journals and books.

Professor Speth currently serves on the boards of the Natural Resources Defense Council, World Resources Institute, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Population Action International, The Center for Humans and Nature, 1Sky, and Climate Central.

In July 2010, Professor Speth joined the faculty of the Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vermont.  Back to top