The Movers and Shakers Across Time: Norman Williams and Bill McKibben

Norman Williams was a mover-and-shaker in the Land Use world.

Williams’ career focused on Land Use in various geographically settings, and work environments. Straight out of Yale Law School, Williams was President of the private Citizens Housing and Planning Council in New York and also advised the City Planning Commission on its rezoning plan. Williams served the city for ten years, ultimately overseeing the long-range planning for the city.

Williams joined the faculty at Rutgers, and a year later, joined the VLS faculty where he played a key role in found the Environmental Law Center. Throughout his career, he published many articles and books related to land use planning, including a five-volume work which illuminates how city zoning prevented the construction of low and middle-income housing in certain communities. Also of note, is his work on Act 250, a comprehensive law regulating Vermont’s growth and protecting the environment.

To celebrate Williams’ legacy, Mary Beth Blauser has assembled a display highlighting his scholarship, selected papers which include correspondence with Vermont State officials related to Act 250, as well as the publication which unveiled Act 250 to Vermonters. Please stop by the library to view the display.

It is not surprising that mover-and-shaker, Bill McKibben, of Middlebury College, will deliver “The Most Important Number in the World,” for the 7th Annual Norman Williams Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Planning and the Law on Thursday February 17.

An author search in JULIEN will return all of McKibben’s books. The library selected a few of our McKibben favorites and placed them on Reserve in anticipation of the lecture.

McKibben’s first book, The End of Nature, made a splash when published in 1989. McKibben discusses the implications of global warming and man’s dominion over earth. Beyond the depressing news, McKibben offers alternatives and ways for humans to “live more humbly” so as to preserve the earth in its “natural state.” GF75 .M38 1990

In Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, McKibben explores how technology is taking over our lives and threatening our identity as human beings. Technology keeps advancing with: genetically engineered plants, cloned animals, and now babies that can be created in test tubes—where are we headed and how do we control these seemingly endless “advances”? McKibben says this book is a “passionate argument” for having a debate about technology because the stakes are “absurdly high.” In fact, they are “nothing less than the meaning of being human.” Norman Williams Lecture Series

Economic growth, who needs that? In Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future McKibben argues that we don’t. Instead of more, McKibben argues we need less for “richer” lives. He offers a new paradigm for getting us to a more humane and meaningful way of life. HD75 .M353 2007

The Bill McKibben Reader: Pieces from an Active Life is a collection of all of his essays. McKibben’s hope is that readers are “mov[ed] to act.” Norman Williams Lecture Series

Fight Global Warming Now: The Handbook for Taking Action in your Community is a guide to organizing communities. Strategies are offered about engaging with the media, building a coalition of diverse stakeholders, and being creative. The book also includes additional resources and points to organizations who are doing good work. Norman Williams Lecture Series