The Public Lecture Series

Acterra’s Public Lecture Series features prominent voices from throughout the environmental sector, addressing urgent issues that face region and our planet. With series in both fall and spring, we offer many opportunities to learn about and discuss environmental issues with like-minded community members.

Our lectures take place in and around the Palo Alto area, and are often hosted by corporate partners like Microsoft, Facebook, and LinkedIn. They are open to the public, and cost $10 to attend. For an annual membership starting at $40, you can get free access to our public lecture series for one year.

Spring 2017 Lecture Series

A Conservative Case for a Carbon Tax with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz
in conversation with Acterra Executive Director Adam Stern
Tuesday, April 4, 7:30 pm
Palo Alto Arts Center, 1313 Newell Road at Embarcadero, Palo Alto

George P. Shultz is a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He served as Secretary of State (1982-89) under President Reagan, and Secretary of the Treasury (1972-74), Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1970-72), and Secretary of Labor (1969-70) under President Nixon. He is one of only two people to serve in four cabinet positions. Shultz has taught at MIT, University of Chicago, and Stanford. In 2010, Shultz co-chaired the campaign to stop Prop 23 in California, a ballot measure that would have rolled back the state's climate and clean energy law (AB 32). Thanks in part to Shultz's leadership, Prop. 23 was defeated with 61% of the electorate voting no. In February 2017, he became a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council, an international research and advocacy organization, which supports carbon taxes.

Read an in-depth article about the conversation here.

Sponsored by


Flying the (Climate) Friendly Skies: Sustainability @ SFO with Erin Cooke
Thursday, May 11, 7:30-8:30 p.m
Microsoft, Mountain View Campus, 1065 La Avenida, Mountain View

Find out how the Bay Area’s busiest international airport serves ~53 Million passengers, employs 36,000 workers, contributes over $1B in regional economic impact AND will be carbon neutral, zero waste-to-landfill, and use net zero energy by 2021. Erin Cooke’s career has focused on assessing how climate risks affect varied businesses, nonprofits and the publics they serve, and building pathways to cut carbon and achieve resilient outcomes.  As San Francisco International Airport's (SFO) first Sustainability Director, Erin oversees sustainability and net zero investments in capital projects, and develops and implements the Airport's Strategic, Sustainability and Climate Action Plans. Erin previously served the City of Cupertino as its Assistant to the City Manager & Sustainability Manager. Erin is a LEED AP and earned a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and holds a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 

Host sponsor


Past Lectures

Peter Drekmeier, Protecting California's Water: The Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan, Mar. 2, 2017, Video

John Wick, Lowering Earth’s Temperature and Stabilizing Our Climate: A Report From The Field, Nov. 10, 2016

Chris Field & Katharine Mach, After the Paris Agreement, Oct. 5, 2016, Video

Dr. Stefan Heck, Insights and Updates on the Self-Driving Car, Sept. 13, 2016

Paul and Anne Ehrlich, The Annihilation of Nature: A Clarion Call for Engagement and Action, May 18, 2016

Astronaut Steve Smith, Earth Beautiful: Reflections from Space, Apr. 14, 2016, Video

Peter Gleick, Water and California: Where Do We Go From Here?, Feb. 17, 2016

Gretchen Daily, Harmonizing People and Nature: A New Business Model, Jan. 20, 2016

Jared Blumenfeld, Fossil Fuels, Power Plants, and Greenhouse Gasses: Next Steps for the EPA, Apr. 30, 2015

Wade Crowfoot, Climate and California: An Update from Sacramento, Apr. 15, 2015

Felicia Marcus, California Water 2015: Where are we and where do we need to go?, Mar. 5, 2015