Lisa Jackson

Vice President Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Apple

Presidential Forum Lecturer:

Engineering a Better Future: Applying Apple’s Innovation to Protecting the Planet

A discussion with Lisa Jackson about why she is still hopeful the world can address climate change and the role the private sector should play in spurring smart, innovative environmental action, including in manufacturing and product design.

Monday, 10 December     12:30 – 1:30 pm

Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A-C

Lisa oversees Apple’s efforts to minimize its impact on the environment by addressing climate change through renewable energy and energy efficiency, using greener materials, and inventing new ways to conserve precious resources. She is also responsible for Apple’s education policy programs such as ConnectED, its product accessibility work, and its worldwide government affairs function.

From 2009 to 2013, Lisa served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Appointed by President Barack Obama, she focused on reducing greenhouse gases, protecting air and water quality, preventing exposure to toxic contamination, and expanding outreach to communities on environmental issues.

She has also served as Chief of Staff to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine and as Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Lisa holds a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University. She serves on the boards of Princeton, Tulane, and the Clinton Foundation.

What Science Means to Lisa…

“Through innovation, we can create smart solutions for the future, leaving the planet better than we found it.”

Kara Hurst

Head of Worldwide Sustainability, Amazon

Data Plenary:

How Open Data Powers Sustainability Innovation

Immediately following Kara’s talk will be a panel discussion:


  • Brooks Hanson, Executive Vice President, AGU 


  • Kara Hurst, Head of Worldwide Sustainability, Amazon
  • Ed Kearns, Chief Data Officer, NOAA
  • Brian Killough, Head of CEOS Systems Engineering Office, NASA Langley Research Center
  • Doug VanDyke, Director of US Federal Civilian & Nonprofits, Amazon Web Services 

Monday, 10 December     6:15 – 7:15 pm

Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 202A

Kara Hurst leads Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon. In that role, she is responsible for renewable energy and energy efficiency, Frustration Free Packaging programs and customer packaging experience, circular economy, social responsibility, sustainability science and innovation, and sustainable transportation. Prior to joining Amazon, Kara was CEO of The Sustainability Consortium, named one of Scientific American’s “Top Ten World Changing Ideas” of 2012. For eleven years before that, Hurst worked at BSR, serving in her last role as Vice President of BSR, building several global industry practices and leading BSR’s NY and DC offices, as well the global partnership practice with governments, multilaterals and foundations. Hurst co-founded the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (now the Responsible Business Alliance). Kara has also worked in Silicon Valley as Executive Director of the public-private venture OpenVoice and at the Children’s Health Council. In her early career, she held roles at the Urban Institute as a Research lead and worked for two elected officials – Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco and in New York for the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). Kara holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University and an MPP from the University of California, Berkeley.

James Balog

Founder and Director, Earth Vision Institute and Extreme Ice Survey

Frontiers of Geophysics Lecture:

The Human Element

Tuesday, 11 December     12:30 – 1:30 pm

Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A-C

For three decades, photographer James Balog has broken new conceptual and artistic ground on one of the most important issues of our era: human modification of our planet’s natural systems. He and his Extreme Ice Survey team are featured in the 2012 internationally acclaimed, Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Ice and in the PBS/NOVA special, Extreme Ice. He is the author of ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers and seven other books. His photos have been extensively published in major magazines, including National Geographic, and exhibited at museums and galleries worldwide. His new film The Human Element, is an innovative—perhaps even revolutionary— look at how humanity interacts with earth, air, fire and water. The film will be released later this year.

What Science Means to James…

“Science provides a way for humanity to have a clear vision of what the world is and how it works. Without that vision, we might as well go back to living in caves.”


James Balog will also participate in a live recording of the AGU Podcast, Third Pod from the Sun, on Wednesday, 12 December, from 2-3 p.m, and at a public screening of The Human Element at the National Museum of Natural History, Wednesday evening, 12 December. Registration required for The Human Element screening.


AGU Diversity & Inclusion Plenary

Download and print a full list of Ethics, Response to Harassment, and Work-Climate Related Events at Fall Meeting 2018.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: 

A Panel Discussion on Recommendations from a Consensus Study Report of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine―with Special emphasis on Earth and Space Science Work Environments

Wednesday, 12 December     12:30 – 1:30 pm

Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A-C

Sexual harassment has been highlighted in the news and in AGU program activities over the past two years due to its strong negative impact on many members of our science community.  Studies have documented the detrimental impact on lives and careers of both the targets and the bystanders when sexual harassment is not prevented or is properly addressed.

Recently, a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine completed its study on the impacts of sexual harassment in academia on the career advancement of women in science, engineering, and medicine and approaches for preventing it. The resulting consensus report released in June of 2018 identifies research, policies, strategies and practices to prevent and address sexual harassment.

This AGU Plenary Session will discuss the findings and recommendations from the National Academies’ June 2018 report, with an emphasis on field research situations familiar to the Earth and space science community.  The special assembled panel will also discuss actions underway by those in higher education and in government agencies since the release of the report.  The session will include perspectives from a U.S. Congressional leader, and audience Q&A on how individual researchers, scientific leaders, academic institutions and scientific organizations can adapt and apply the report’s policy and practice recommendations.  Discussion will also include challenges and opportunities for extending the report’s recommendations more broadly to education and field research environments across the AGU international membership.

Opening Remarks and Moderator:

  • Robin Bell, AGU President Elect


  • Kathryn Clancy, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois (NAS Committee Member)
  • Frazier Benya, Senior Program Officer and Study Director, NAS Committee
  • Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Representative for California’s 14th congressional district
  • Rhonda Davis, Office Head, National Science Foundation, Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Eric Riggs, Associate Dean, College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University
  • Susan Webb, Associate Professor, School of Geosciences, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Dr. Jim Reilly

Director, United States Geological Survey 

Agency Lecturer

Thursday, 13 December     12:30 – 1:30 pm

Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A-C

As Director of the USGS, Jim Reilly is responsible for leading the Nation’s largest water, Earth, and biological science, and civilian mapping agency. Prior to joining the USGS, Dr. Reilly served U.S. and allied militaries as a subject matter expert on space operations, and as a technical advisor supporting the National Security Space Institute of the U.S. Air Force. He’s held management positions in academia, as well as at TAEUS Corporation, and PhotoStencil Corporation, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As an astronaut at NASA, he had a distinguished 13-year career where he flew 3 spaceflight missions and conducted 5 spacewalks totaling more than 856 hours in space. Prior to NASA, he served as chief geologist at Enserch Exploration, Inc., working on projects around the world including Antarctica and on the continental slope of the Gulf of Mexico.

What Science Means to Jim…

The name bestowed on our largest rover on Mars:  “Curiosity.”