EPA Official Opens Lawrence University International Lecture Series on Climate Change

Governmental policy-making processes — national and global — will be examined in Lawrence University’s 2010 Povolny Lecture Series in International Studies “The Climate for Climate Change.”

George Wyeth, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Policy and Program Change Division, opens the three-part series Tuesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in Thomas Steitz Science Hall 102 with the address “Change Isn’t Easy: An Inside Perspective.”

The presentation, part of Green Roots’ celebration of Earth Week, is free and open to the public.

George Wyeth

A 1973 Lawrence graduate, Wyeth is spending Term III as Lawrence’s Stephen Edward Scarff Memorial Visiting Professor in the government department, where he is team-teaching the class “Environmental Politics” with professor emeritus Chong-do Hah.

The Scarff Memorial Visiting Professorship was established in 1989 by Edward and Nancy Scarff in memory of their son, Stephen, a member of the Lawrence class of 1975, who died in an automobile accident in 1984. It brings civic leaders and scholars to Lawrence to provide broad perspectives on the central issues of the day.

Swept into office on the promise of change, President Obama has found that promise difficult to fulfill, even with the advantage of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Wyeth offers first-hand perspective from inside the EPA on how change efforts have progressed under President Obama, where change has or hasn’t occurred and what barriers have stifled change.

He also will discuss the gradual decay of the process for orderly transition from one administration to the next and its consequences for effective government.

At the EPA, Wyeth tests and promotes innovative approaches to environmental protection within the EPA, states and business as the county transitions to a “green economy.” He has played a lead role in overseeing the use of Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma strategies to achieve environmental improvement, streamlined EPA’s administrative processes and developed agency strategies to promote the use of sustainable products.

After graduating from Lawrence with a bachelor’s degree in government, Wyeth earned a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a law degree from Yale Law School.

Prior to joining the EPA in 1989, Wyeth spent three years as a staff member in the Wisconsin State legislature working with the Joint Finance Committee and practiced law from 1982-89 with a Minneapolis law firm.

Joining Wyeth on this year’s series are:

• Yoram Bauman, professor of economics at the University of Washington and a touring “stand-up” economist, “Comedy, Economics and Climate Change,” Monday, April 26, 7 p.m.

• Lee Paddock, associate dean for environmental studies and professorial lecturer in law at George Washington University Law School, “Environmental Change: A Legal Perspective” Monday, May 10, 7 p.m.

“The Climate for Climate Change” lecture series is sponsored by the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies. Named in honor of long-time Lawrence government professor Mojmir Povolny, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.