From 1993 to 1999, Gus 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; chair of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality (Carter Administration); and senior attorney and cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council. In 2009, he completed his decade-long tenure as Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
The author, co-author or editor of eleven books, Speth took to poetry late, publishing two books of poems (so far): What We Have Instead in 2019 and It’s Already Tomorrow in 2020.
Among Speth’s awards are the National Wildlife Federation’s Resources Defense Award, the Natural Resources Council of America’s Barbara Swain Award of Honor, and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Environmental Law Institute and the League of Conservation Voters.
Speth now serves as a Fellow at the Tellus Institute, the Democracy Collaborative and the Vermont Law School. He and his wife, Cameron, split their time between central Vermont and coastal South Carolina.
Poetry & Planet is produced by Ethan Goffman. Three Haiku by Basho and “Lines: The Cold Earth Slept Below” by Percy Bysshe Shelley are read by R. Michael Oliver. Musical excerpts from “Elements of Life” and “Earth Revisited” are written and performed by Reginald Cyntje, with vocals by Christie Dashiell. Aural interludes are by Douglas Harvey.
The opening poetry chorus is voiced by Jomo K. Johnson, Dr. Michael Anthony Ingram, Marianne Szlyk, and R. Michael Oliver.