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Susan  Crawford

Susan Crawford

Expert In Climate Adaptation and Public Policy, Harvard Law Professor, Author

Susan Crawford

Expert In Climate Adaptation and Public Policy, Harvard Law Professor, Author


An inspiring, thoughtful, and ever-optimistic authority on the implications for humanity of rapidly rising sea levels, Susan Crawford is the author of Charleston: Race, Water, and the Coming Storm. A Harvard Law School professor, she teaches courses about climate adaptation and public leadership.

Her energetic, clearly communicated talks have made her a favorite of audiences across the country. She is known for working closely with organizers and always delivering a customized, memorable event.

Before joining Harvard, Susan was Obama’s special assistant to the president for science, technology and innovation policy and co-led the FCC transition team between his and the Bush administrations. Earlier in her career, she was a partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. 

In Charleston, she tells the story of a city that has played a central role in America's painful racial history for centuries and now, as the waters rise, stands at the intersection of climate and race. It chronicles the tumultuous recent past in the life of the city — from protests to hurricanes — while revealing the escalating risk in its future.

In addition to Charleston, she is the author of Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution and Why America Might Miss It; The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance; and Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age

Susan was named one of POLITICO’s 50 Thinkers, Doers and Visionaries Transforming Politics (2015); one of Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology (2009); IP3 Awardee (2010); one of Prospect magazine’s Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future (2011); and one of TIME magazine’s Tech 40: The Most Influential Minds in Tech (2013). She received her B.A. and J.D. from Yale University. She served as a clerk for Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Speaker Videos

Susan Crawford, "Fiber"

Charleston: Race, Water, and the Coming Storm | Susan Crawford

Book Reading: Charleston: Race, Water, and the Coming Storm

Charleston: Race, Water and the Coming Storm by Susan Crawford

Tech & Public Policy: Chat with Harvard Law School Professor Susan Crawford

Making internet widely accessible | Susan Crawford

Speech Topics

What's Ahead for the Coastal U.S. as the Waters Rise

Because of climate change, our sea levels are on the rise — putting millions who live along our coasts in danger — especially the underserved. But the consequences will affect us all, from corporate America to healthcare to everyday citizens across the country. Although we won’t be able to stop what’s happening, there is hope, says Susan Crawford, an expert on climate adaptation and public policy. We have 20 years to plan — after 2050, the sea level is going to rise rapidly and so is extreme heat. But there is a tremendous opportunity to get it right in this country. In this talk, Susan will show how climate adaptation and electing those who support a long-term view on climate change can ensure a thriving future for us all by coming together to build higher, drier, more densely connected places where all citizens can live safely.

Addressing the Health Detriments of Climate Change

Ask any emergency room physician, climate change is already affecting the health of our citizens. They see the consequences of extreme heat all of the time — especially those in underserved communities who are already dealing with health disparities, food insecurity and poor environmental conditions. The dramatic changes in our climate are, indeed, intersecting with existing weaknesses in healthcare and housing and have already affected a large portion of the U.S. population. In this talk, Susan Crawford explores how the underserved are disproportionately impacted and shares steps healthcare professionals can take to mitigate the health risks posed by climate change.

Climate Adaptation Strategies for Corporate Resilience

At least 13 million Americans will have to move away from American coasts in the coming decades as rising sea levels and increasingly severe storms put lives at risk and cause billions of dollars in damages due to the effects of climate change. For corporations to succeed in the future, the time is now to take action and plan how to help their employees, as well as themselves, face the coming storms. In this talk, Susan Crawford, an expert on climate adaptation and public policy, shines a spotlight on the tremendous opportunity for companies to get it right. As the world races against time to confront climate change, Crawford's speech will inspire corporations to proactively adapt to the new normal, fostering a resilient business environment that not only survives but also thrives in the face of climate uncertainty.