Opening Keynote – “To Win on Climate, NY Must Go Big!”
Presenter: Aaron Mair
New York’s goals for energy efficiency & carbon reduction are not enough. More importantly the grassroots environmental movement is still in a silo & too narrowly focused on clean energy and not the human condition that drives dirty energy uses and practices. I will explore this problem and why the climate movement must go big or go home.
Opening Panel – “Summit Solutions Overview”
Panelists: Anne Reynolds, Bill Nowak, Chris Carrick, Amanda Lefton
Moderator: Betta Broad
Discussion and Q&A about the climate solutions that are available to us in NYS and barriers to implementing them.
Wind Power Case Studies
Presenters: Marguerite Wells, Susan Campbell, Cat Mosley
“Community Wind: Lessons learned from NY’s 1st crowdfunded wind farm”
The good and bad about bootstrapping a multi-million dollar energy project. How we raised $2.7 million, found friends, got approvals and contracts, and got stopped in our tracks by NIMBYs at the last minute.
“My journey to becoming a Lighthouse Wind Supporter”
When Susan first heard about the proposed Lighthouse Wind project in her community 2 years ago, she wasn’t sure what she thought of it. Now she is an ardent supporter of the project, and will be sharing her story of how she came to a strong advocate for Lighthouse Wind, and an advocate for wind power more broadly. Wind power is one source of clean energy our children and grandchildren need to inherit a livable planet and Lighthouse Wind will have a positive impact on her community. She will address myths and misconceptions commonly used to turn public opinion against wind power. Attendees will learn about the ways they can support her and other community supporters in moving the Lighthouse Wind project and other NYS wind projects forward.
“Heritage Wind: An Ongoing Case Study”
Cat will discuss the launch of Heritage Wind in Barre, New York and applying lessons learned. She will also discuss the Article 10 permitting process in New York.
Solar Power Case Studies
Presenters: Susan Spencer, Jonathan Comstock, Adam Flint
Beneficial Electrification is the shifting of heating and transportation energy demands from fossil fuels to electricity. This can be accomplished through individual action on a house by house basis, and then the energy needs can be met by renewable electric generation. All of these technologies are somewhat new, and individual action can often be enhanced by community programs such as Solarize. In Solar Tompkins’ Switch to Solar campaign almost a MW of solar PV was installed, doubling the amount of residential solar in the county in a single year. These programs are based on providing education on the technologies, which are often unfamiliar to people, clarifying costs, benefits, and economic opportunity, and providing people with confidence to act. This confidence is enhanced by having vetted installers, pre negotiating low prices, and, when appropriate, programmatic tiered pricing (cost goes down further if many people go forward together). We have since been pioneering Heat Smart, modeled after the Solarize concept but addressing home heating needs. HeatSmart promotes improvement of insulation and air sealing to reduce energy waste and then adopting heat pumps or other renewable technologies for heating. We advocate for both air source- and ground source- heat pumps in our program. While we have had moderate success to date, the results have been less spectacular than those of the Switch to Solar Campaign. This can be attributed in part to the current very low cost of fossil fuels and several years that have not had particularly cold winters. We also think that the community program concept needs to be modified to accommodate the large number of choices to be made with regard to heating options, the lower familiarity of residents with heat pump technologies, and the underappreciation that 75% of home energy use is for heating and cooling in our climate zone.
“Making Energy Democracy R.E.A.L.: Community-Owned Shared Renewables”
In fall of 2015, The Energy Democracy Alliance (EDA) convened the Community Owned Shared Renewables (CoShare) working group as a space for its members to learn from and support one another as they endeavor to achieve their project goals and collectively create an new energy paradigm for New York State that is diverse, carbon-free and democratic. CoShare is an network of organizations and individuals who are working to advance locally controlled, community-based and shared renewable energy projects across New York State. CoShare has partnered with experienced community developers in other states to develop business models, training curricula, and financing resources for its members, while serving as an expert resource for the EDA’s advocacy, program and policy work. Currently, CoShare’s activities are focused on Community Shared Solar (CSS), as this is the most viable shared renewable form currently available in New York. CoShare’s goal is to be the go-to resource for communities that wish to develop shared renewables projects on their own terms, and, as a result of our work, make shared renewable access for those who have hitherto been excluded scale in New York State. As a result, communities would enjoy lower cost, stable energy prices, an equity stake in these valuable assets, as well as increased employment in the renewable energy sector. Reduced healthcare costs, increased well being, and making a robust contribution to addressing climate change are other key outcomes of scaling our work. This presentation will summarize our work and the challenges we are addressing in the space. Info about our work is at CoShareNYS.org.
Building Efficiency Case Studies
Presenters: Brian Paterson, Gay Nicholson, Scott Oliver
The presentation will describe PUSH Buffalo’s “PUSH Green” initiative, a 3.5 year effort to connect Low to Moderate (LMI) communities, residents, small businesses, and job seekers to energy efficiency and renewable energy resources deployed statewide by NYSERDA and other government and private entities. We will talk about the “concierge approach” employed by PUSH Green’s team of community energy advocates, our “Friends and Neighbors” residential customer aggregation program, and engagement with “high road” contractors to bring our customers a whole house approach to energy issues.
“Local Carbon Offset Fund Helps Low-Income Residents”
Climate justice includes helping everyone participate in the transition to clean energy. The Finger Lakes Climate Fund uses carbon-offset donations to fund energy efficiency projects that would not otherwise be possible in lower-income households, increasing their comfort and security. It’s local, transparent, and supports green jobs. Created in 2010 by Sustainable Tompkins, the Climate Fund has awarded 19 grants worth about $34,000 to a diverse mix of households in the region to offset 1,733 tons of emissions from travel and building energy use.
“Rochester Aggregation Project”
PathStone worked with the City of Rochester and the Community Foundation to combine Lead Abatement, Targeted Neighborhood grants, NYSERDA and the Rochester Safe and Efficient Homes Initiative to increase the energy efficiency of low income households.
Transportation Case Studies
Presenters: Melissa Chanthalangsy, Heather O’Donnell, Kat Fisher
“Rochester EV Accelerator: An Electric Vehicle Movement”
The Rochester Electric Vehicle Accelerator (ROC EV) is an innovative, community-wide initiative aimed at achieving widespread deployment of plug-in electric vehicles in the greater Rochester region. Learn how ROC EV and local partners are working with public and private sector leaders to facilitate the necessary infrastructure, educational outreach, coordination, and commitment from local businesses to transform greater Rochester into a model EV accelerator community.
“Electric Bus Initiative”
Learn how the Sierra Club has engaged businesses and local government to engage in electric bus advocacy. This case study will discuss strategy and tactics, successes and opportunities in their first year to step out as the premier organization leading this work on the ground, engaging communities, partnering with manufacturers and utilities to gain awareness for this emerging issue.
Land Use Case Studies
Presenters: Tonya Noel Stevens, Elizabeth Henderson, Elizabeth Murphy
“Rootwork: Reclaiming the Land”
“Soil Carbon Restoration: Farmers Teaching Farmers”
I will talk about the network NOFA has developed through 7 of the NE states, the field days and workshops on increasing soil carbon, reducing tillage, and our policy agenda to support improving soil health.
Environmental Justice Case Studies
Presenters: Dorian Hall, Eleanor Stein, Joe Heath
“Empowering Communities Affected by Contaminated Land, While Planning for Neighborhood Future”
A Grassroots neighborhood struggles to be heard while redeveloping contaminated land. The community wants to keep land natural, include renewable energy, and use innovative ways to cleanup contamination. They experience environmental injustice, stakeholders greed and corruption.
“The Case of Puerto Rico Post-Maria: Ending Fossil-Fuel Colonialism”
A month after Hurricane Maria, most Puerto Ricans do not have electricity restored – some may not for many months. This is the time to replace an expensive fossil fuel system with local solar and wind power: many are working to make that possible against huge obstacles.
Midday Keynote: “Indigenous Views on Climate Change: Business as Usual is Over”
Presenter: Oren Lyons
“Social Sustainability: Intersectionality and Response to Climate Change”
Presenter: Kristen Walker
What is intersectionality and how does that affect how people are able to respond to climate change. We will explore classic and contemporary examples of climate change, and the effects on marginalized groups.
“Campaign Planning & Coalition Building 101”
Presenters: Renee Vogelsang, David Alicea, Dominic Frongillo
“Engaging across political ideology”
Presenter: Linda Pratt
The #CovertLibertyProject was designed to measure changes in residents’ opinions at the community level by communicating with key words and phrases and personal stories. This presentation will show how to apply these principles when engaging with others of differing and oppositional viewpoints.
“Understanding how our electricity system works”
Presenter: Doug Kelley
“Making NYSERDA Work for You”
Presenter: Jason Kulaszewski
Find out about available NYSERDA resources for residents and municipalities. The discussion will focus on how resources that encourage energy efficiency and investments in renewables are implemented in communities across New York State.
“Community Choice Aggregation – Sample Programs in Development”
Presenters: Ben Frevert and Betta Broad
The CCA presentation will provide an overview of CCA in New York, will discuss two efforts underway and their status and then will highlight some of the challenges that these programs are facing.
“Opportunities and challenges of creating an antiracist environmental justice movement”
Presenters: Kathy Castania and Ricardo Adams
Participants will engage in interactive activities to problem-solve together the barriers to being inclusive.
“Recruit, Train & Sustain: Building Grassroots Volunteer Leadership”
Presenters: Neely Kelley and Lisa Marshall
“Raising the Business Voice for Climate Solutions”
Presenters: Bob Rossi, Rob Levine, Suzanne Hunt
A discussion on how to engage business leaders in an effort to mitigate the effects of global warming.
“The New York Energy Democracy Alliance: Making REV R.E.A.L.”
Presenters: Adam Flint and Eleanor Stein
Created on the eve of the Sept. 2014 Climate March in NYC, The New York Energy Democracy Alliance (EDA) is a statewide alliance of 23 community-based organizations, grassroots groups, and policy experts working together to advance a just and participatory transition to a resilient, localized, and democratically controlled clean energy economy in New York State. The EDA formed in response to New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding – a state overhaul of energy policy and renewable energy funding. The REV is a historic process that will shape our energy future for generations to come. The EDA holds regulators, political leaders, and energy companies accountable, and works to ensure that the benefits of our energy system flow to all New Yorkers, especially poor, working class people, and communities of color. We transform our communities’ relationship to power through advocacy, organizing, job creation, coalition-building, policy research, and public education for an equitable, sustainable energy future.All New Yorkers, regardless of their background, should have access to the benefits of renewable energy and a sustainable and equitable energy future.
“Lobbying for Climate Action”
Presenter: Sarah Mittiga
In today’s political world, working with members of congress can feel like a dead-end. But at Citizens’ Climate Lobby, our motto is “Politicians don’t create political will, they respond to it”. This session will be a step-by-step walk-through of CCL’s strategic methods for effective lobbying. Action-focused and packed with practical tips, this session will empower you to partner with your elected officials for climate solutions.
“Participating in a NYS Public Service Commission Proceeding”
Presenter: Richard Berkley
The presentation explains the different type of proceedings that take place in front of New York’s public utility regulatory agency, the Public Service Commission (“Commission”). Then, there is some discussion about how proceedings are begun, and why one might wish to become involved in either a utility rate case or a “generic” policy case. The presentation then discusses, with examples from 2016 cases, why one might wish to become a party, and how one might maximize their impact on the issues at hand, while choosing between differing levels of involvement.
“Clean Energy Map by Fractracker”
Presenter: Karen Edelstein
The Clean Energy Map will show where clean energy jobs and projects are happening statewide as more New Yorkers make the switch over to clean energy solutions.
Presenter: Sandra Steingraber
In Alphabetical Order
Ricardo Adams is a local activist/change agent in Rochester working tirelessly on issues of social justice. He works for Center for Youth and is an assistant facilitator in the Opening Doors Diversity Project.
David Alicea is a Senior Organizing Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign covering Western and Central New York. For the past four years, David has been leading Sierra Club’s grassroots work in transitioning New York from coal to renewable energy. During this time Sierra Club has worked with partners to secure an enforceable target of 50% renewable electricity in New York by 2030, as well as a commitment to phase out coal by 2020 and to scale up on wind power across the state. David is a lifelong New Yorker and currently lives with his wife, Carly, in Henrietta, NY. On weekends the two often can be found either hiking in the region’s scenic areas or enjoying the Chautauqua or Seneca wine trails.
Richard A. Berkley, Esq. is the Executive Director of New York’s Utility Project. Previously Mr. Berkley was Chief of Staff and Counsel to Senator Kevin Parker of the New York State Senate, and before that, he was Director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications. He was Counsel to Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, Chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, and served as Information Technology Attorney and Assistant Counsel for the State Office of Children and Family Services. He was also Telecommunications and Cable Franchise Counsel for the City of New York, and worked at the State of Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission while in law school. He is a member of the bar of the State of New York and the State of New Jersey. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, master’s of arts from New York University, and bachelor’s of arts from Fordham University-College at Lincoln Center.
Elizabeth (Betta) Broad is the Outreach Director for the New Yorkers for Clean Power campaign, working to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, energy efficiency and electric vehicles in New York State. She serves on the board of Citizens for Local Power and is a co-founder of the NY Energy Democracy Alliance. Since moving from Brooklyn to Kingston, she was appointed to the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council, the Kingston Climate Smart Commission and the Ulster Climate Smart Committee.
Susan Campbell is a grassroots advocate for positive change and responsible environmental policy. As a grandmother and long time child care professional she feels it is imperative that we act now to ensure not only the health and well being of future generations, but their ability to enjoy all the beauty nature can provide. She lives in her hometown, Lyndonville, New York with her husband and enjoys spending time with her family.
Chris Carrick directs the Energy Management Program for the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, a public agency that serves Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties. Chris and his team help municipalities and communities to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions through sustainability planning and development of clean energy projects including solar, wind and energy efficiency. Chris received his Master’s degree in Community Development from the University of California-Davis and was a Fulbright scholar as a doctoral student in City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. He has over twenty years of experience and has worked in British Columbia, California, Maine and New York.
Kathy Castania is a lead facilitator in the Opening Doors Diversity Project. She has been a national leader on diversity for over 25 years. Most recently she has helped to form a SURJ Chapter in Rochester and conducts workshops on how white people can become allies.
Melissa Chanthalangsy works in the City of Rochester Office of Energy and Sustainability as a core partner in the Rochester EV Accelerator program. She manages projects, grants, partnerships, and programs to advance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation within the city. Previously, Melissa worked at the US Department of Energy’s Office of International Affairs in Washington, DC, and graduated from the University of Chicago.
Jonathan Comstock’s career began as a researcher in physiological plant ecology. During the last two decades he became increasingly involved with climate change issues, co-authoring the Ecosystems and Agriculture chapters of a NY report on climate change adaptation and coordinating content for http://climatechange.cornell.edu/. He also serves on Energy Independent Caroline, an advisory committee to the Caroline Town Board, and was a founding member of Solar Tompkins, chairing its board of directors during its first three programs. He now works as the Program Director for HeatSmart, a Solar Tompkins initiative that attempts to apply Solarize program concepts to the transformation of the heating sector from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps.
Karen Edelstein‘s work with FracTracker involves mapping oil and gas infrastructure and associated community responses such as our NY Bans and Moratoria Maps, transitions to clean energy, and demographics of impacted communities. Primarily she works on oil and gas development issues along the East Coast. Karen has been using GIS for environmental conservation and landscape planning since 1999. Prior to and while working with FracTracker she has contributed her mapping expertise to county and municipal governments, land trusts, environmental groups, and grassroots community organizations. Karen received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cornell University. Karen enjoys gardening, hiking, making pickles and sourdough bread – and the best office-mate, ever: Frida, her energetic and loyal dog.
Kat Fisher, former public education advocate and political organizer with leading statewide advocacy groups, has lead the Sierra Club’s Electric Vehicle Initiative in New York, building a campaign from the ground up, activating allies around pro-EV initiatives.
Adam Flint is Southern Tier (NY) Solar Works Program Manager at the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, which he co-founded in 2008. From 2011-2013, he ran the Energy Leadership Program at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, where he coordinated the Southern Tier Green Jobs Green New York program. He has worked as an educator in the Southern Tier for more than twenty years, including posts as Assistant Professor of Sociology at Hartwick College and as lecturer in Environmental Studies at Binghamton University. Adam co-founded the NY Energy Democracy Alliance, serves on the steering committee, and coordinates COSHARE, the Community Owned Shared Renewables Working Group. He also works on NY State energy policy with a focus on the ‘Reforming the Energy Vision (REV)’ proceeding, He is also a founding member of the Tier Energy Network of the Southern Tier, and the National Energy Democracy Solar FUND, aka RISE national.
Ben Frevert is an engineer with an MS in Alternative Energy and a deep concern about the increasing impacts of climate change. He has worked in the highway industry and the commercial solar industry. His current focus in on Community Choice Aggregation in the Rochester Area and savoring the world as we know it.
Dorian Hall is a community builder in Rochester NY and know for his involvement with (PLEX ) Plymouth Exchange Neighborhood Association. He chairs both PLEX NA BOA -Brownfield Opportunity Area and BCP-Brownfield Cleanup Program committees. His goal is to help empowering communities and protecting natural resources while building relationships with like minded organizations.
Joe Heath has been General Counsel for the Onondaga Nation since 1982 and an attorney since 1975. For the Nation, his work centers on environmental protection, particularly under the Clean Water Act, focusing on Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Creek; archeologic site and unmarked burial site protection; Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act repatriation and litigation; Indian Child Welfare Act litigation; hunting and fishing rights; treaty rights; excise tax issues; and land rights.
Joe researched the issues of fracking and shared his knowledge of the many different environmental dangers created by fracking with community groups for six (6) years. For four of those years, he also educated landowners on how to terminate their leases and manage the many questionable ways gas companies are seeking to extend old leases and he spoke to land owners in over 40 towns.
In addition to these current areas of work, Joe has extensive experience in civil rights litigation, as one of the four lawyer who represent the class action against NY state for the 1971 Attica prison assault and brutality; criminal defense; constitutional law and protection of free speech and assembly; protection of abused and neglected children; and fighting domestic violence.
Joe is also an active member of Veterans for Peace.
Elizabeth Henderson farmed using organic methods for over 30 years and initiated Peacework Organic CSA, one of the oldest Community Supported Agriculture projects in the country. She serves on the Board of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, and was the lead author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (Chelsea Green, 2007).
Suzanne Hunt founded Hunt Green LLC in 2007 to provide strategic advising on energy, agriculture, transportation, and the environment. Her clients have included private equity firms, UN bodies, government agencies, clean tech start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, and non-profits.
Doug Kelley is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and earned a PhD in physics from the University of Maryland. He held postdoctoral appointments at Yale University (in mechanical engineering) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (in materials science and engineering). Previously he earned an MS from Auburn University and a BS from Virginia Tech. Doug is a member of the American Physical Society, ASME, Electrochemical Society, and AAAS.
Neely Kelley’s first active involvement with the climate movement was to lead the fossil fuel divestment campaign of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. She has a B.S. in Animal and Poultry Sciences, and a B.A. in French Languages and Literature from Virginia Tech as well as an M.S. in Animal and Avian Sciences from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Rochester. Neely has committed to full time organizing because of the urgency of the climate crisis. She served with the Peace Corps in Gabon, Central Africa, but now lives in Rochester, NY with her husband Doug, two daughters and a small menagerie of pets.
Jason Kulaszewski is the Clean Energy Coordinator at the University at Buffalo’s Regional Institute (UBRI), and has been working with municipal leaders across Erie and Niagara Counties to take sustainability actions in their community. Prior to his work at UBRI Jason was the Program Director at PUSH Green, PUSH Buffalo’s energy efficiency and renewable energy team, and is a 2012 Graduate from SUNY Buffalo State with his Degree in Urban Analysis and Regional Planning.
As the Deputy Policy Director for The Nature Conservancy, Amanda Leftonworks to advance policy and secure public funding to address some of the greatest environmental challenges in New York, including critical investments in clean water and policies to help communities prepare for a changing climate. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Amanda worked directly for the legislature and other organizations involved in New York State government.
Rob Levine joined CCL Roch in early 2016 and is working diligently with Rochester business leaders, Municipalities and institutions of higher learning to increase support for local Members of Congress to join the House Bi-Partisan Climate Solutions Caucus and pass legislation for a Price on Carbon.
Oren Lyons is a Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation Turtle Clan and serves on the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs. He is a tireless internationally recognized advocate for indigenous rights and respect for the laws of nature, including the need to address climate change. He has been involved in many of the most significant events for Indigenous people over the last four decades, including the 1972 delegation of Indigenous leaders to the United Nations in Geneva, the passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the creation of the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth, and the 1978 Longest Walk. He most recently spoke at the memorial service for Muhammad Ali, reflecting on Ali’s support of The Longest Walk. Lyons is a professor emeritus of Native American Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Syracuse University. He has been the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the National Audubon Society’s Audubon Medal, the Earth Day International Award of the United Nations, and the Elder and Wiser Award of the Rosa Parks Institute for Human Rights. Lyons serves on the board of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and is board chairman of Honoring Contributions in the Governance of American Indian Nations. Lyons is also remembered for his time as a lacrosse player. He is Honorary Chairman of the Iroquois Nationals. In 1989 he was named Man of the Year in Lacrosse by the NCAA.
Aaron Mair is an epidemiological-spatial analyst, environmentalist, and current president of the Sierra Club. As an advocate for environmental justice and activist in the Arbor Hill, NY community, he responsible for the creation of the W. Haywood Burns Environmental Education Center and the Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corporation. He lives in Schenectady,New York and works for the New York State Department of Health. Mair was elected president of the Sierra Club on May 16, 2015. He is the organization’s first African-American president. Mair has been a member of the Sierra Club since 1999. Since that time, he has held many leadership positions with the Sierra Club: National Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Chair 2010–present; National Diversity Council 2008-2010. Atlantic Chapter: Environmental Justice 2003-2004; Chapter Chair 2002-2003. Hudson Mohawk Group: International Human Rights/Environment 2003–present; Environmental Justice 2002-2008; Water Quality/Habitats 2006-2011. He is a graduate of Binghamton University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology and a certificate in Southwest Asia and North Africa Studies. Mair also trained at Rhode Island’s Naval Education and Training Center and attended The American University in Cairo. He participated in Binghamton University’s Political Science Doctoral Program, but left the program to begin State service in 1988. In 1995, Mair founded the Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corporation, which was a member of the White House Council on Environmental Quality from 1998 to 2000. He also founded, served as board member, and lectured at the W. Haywood Burns Environmental Education Center in the Albany Capital region of New York. In 1999, Mair was a member of Friends of Clean Hudson. In 2000, Mair received an EPA Environmental Quality Award for cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the Hudson River. Mair also served as a board member at the New York League of Conservation Voters in 2000.
Before working with Mothers Out Front, Lisa Marshall was dedicated to empowering mothers in childbirth, breastfeeding, parenting, homemaking and homeschooling while also raising and homeschooling her own three children. She has also worked as a middle school science teacher and a fiber arts teacher in a variety of educational settings. Lisa holds an M.S. in earth science from Dartmouth College and a B.A. in geology from Claremont McKenna College. In her free time she enjoys reading, knitting, quilting, doll-making, felting, yoga and walking her dogs. She and her family live in the town of Horseheads in New York’s Southern Tier.
Sarah Mittiga co-leads Rochester’s chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), a national, non-partisan organization laser-focused on putting a price on carbon. In this role, she shepherds an amazing team of volunteers to find their political voices to ask for climate action. Sarah also serves as CCL’s co-coordindator for New York State, and is on the Leadership Team for Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC). She lives in Rochester with her husband and two children, and is an Academic Advisor at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Cat Mosley is the Public Affairs Manager for Apex Clean Energy and its northeast projects, including Heritage Wind, Lighthouse Wind and Galloo Island Wind. She has more than 25 years of experience in marketing, communications and public relations and has taught marketing on the college level at Sweet Briar College. Previous positions include Director of Field Marketing at Discovery Networks and External Communications Specialist at AREVA NP, the latter where she won a TIP (Top Industry Practice) Award in Community Relations from the Nuclear Energy Institute. Cat is a Wake Forest University graduate and will graduate from the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership in December, 2017. Cat is a proud mother and active in education and children’s issues.
Since 2004, Gay Nicholson has led Sustainable Tompkins in designing and implementing an integrated program to advance the creation of a more sustainable regional community. She emphasizes a systems approach to working with partners to build the infrastructure and social capacity for more sustainable ways of living and working. Gay left a career in sustainable agriculture to work in environmental advocacy and education with Cornell’s Program on Ethics and Public Life, and as executive director of the Finger Lakes Land Trust before leading the creation of Sustainable Tompkins. She has been an active volunteer in numerous community and environmental organizations, providing leadership from the local to the national level.
Bill Nowak is the Executive Director of NY-GEO, the New York Geothermal Energy Organization – the statewide trade association for the geothermal heating and cooling industry. He is also a long time environmental and renewable energy activist in Buffalo with the Sierra Club and other organizations.
Scott Oliver is the Deputy for Energy Programs at PathStone overseeing programs that help low to moderate income families make their homes safer, more comfortable, and more energy efficient through rehabilitation and energy services. He currently overseas the PathStone CBO outreach for NYSERDA in the Finger Lakes Region, the Canandaigua Home Energy Improvement Program, and intake for the City of Rochester Lead Hazard and home rehabilitation programs. A certified Building Analyst and Healthy Home Specialist with over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry, Scott serves on the Sustainability Committee for the Finger Lakes Regional Development Council, the Energy Efficiency Steering committee for the Rochester Climate Action Plan, and works with the Rochester Safe and Efficient Homes Initiative.
Brian Paterson is the PUSH Green Program Manager since July of 2017. Prior to that, he has worked in the field of nonprofit residential energy efficiency for 27 years, first managing several Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) subgrantees in Buffalo, then as the President of New Buffalo Impact, a Western New York-based building performance contractor that collaborated with PUSH Green starting in 2014. Currently his priorities and interest are focused on the intersection of health issues and energy efficiency issues in LMI housing, and making homes Green and Healthy.
Linda Doherty Pratt has worked in the field of communications for the past 20 years. This has encompasses the fields of speech pathology, teaching English as a second language, public relations, and community organizing. She hopes to bring diverse opinions together to find common ground.
Since 2014, Anne Reynolds has been the Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY), an organization of renewable energy companies, energy efficiency companies, and environmental organizations in New York. Prior to joining ACE, Anne was at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for seven years, serving in several positions, the last which was Deputy Commissioner for Administration. Before DEC, Anne worked as the Air and Energy Policy Director at Environmental Advocates of New York, at the Tellus Institute for Energy and Environmental Strategies in Boston, MA, and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Bob Rossi serves as the Director for the New York Sustainable Business Council (NYSBC), an alliance of businesses and business organizations committed to advancing a vibrant, just, and sustainable economy in the state.
A Rochester native, Dr. Susan Spencer is President and CEO of ROCSPOT, where she is bringing all of her broad skillset to the table to fight for a solar empowered Rochester. She is a co-owner of a EPC+SAM worker-owned coop, Resilient Energy. In addition, she is the North America Ambassador for SolarAid, an international charity focused on eradicating the kerosene lantern from rural Africa by 2020, and serves as the chair for the Next-Gen Pillar Team of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.
Eleanor Stein served as an Administrative Law Judge at the New York State Public Service Commission from 1994-2014; until November 2015 she was Project Manager for the Commission’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative for a more customer-centered, renewable, and distributed energy future. In 2015 she received a Master of Laws degree with distinction in climate change law from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. She teaches Law of Climate Change: Domestic & Transnational at Albany Law School and at the State University of New York. She serves on the Board of EcoViva, a US-based project in solidarity with climate adaptation and sustainability in rural El Salvador. She was an expert with America’s Power Plan and serves on the Advisory Board of Rocky Mountain Institute’s eLab.
Biologist, author, and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. writes about climate change, ecology, and the links between human health and the environment.
Steingraber’s highly acclaimed book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment was the first to bring together data on toxic releases with data from U.S. cancer registries and was adapted for the screen in 2010. As both book and documentary film, Living Downstream has won praise from international media.
Continuing the investigation begun in Living Downstream, Steingraber’s books, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood and Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis, explore the intimate ecology of pregnancy and reveal the ways which environmental hazards now threaten each stage of infant and child development. Throughout, she calls parents and cancer patients alike to political action.
“We are all members of a great human orchestra,” says Steingraber, “and it is now time to play the Save the World Symphony. You do not have to play a solo, but you do have to know what instrument you hold and find your place in the score.”
Called “a poet with a knife” by Sojourner magazine, Steingraber has received many honors for her work as a science writer, including, in 2011, a Heinz Award. By donating the cash prize to the anti-fracking movement, she became, in 2012, the co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking, a statewide coalition of more than 280 grassroots organizations.
Steingraber has been named a Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine, a Person of the Year by Treehugger, and one of 25 “Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” by the Utne Reader. She is the recipient of the biennial Rachel Carson Leadership Award and the Jenifer Altman Foundation’s Altman Award for “the inspiring and poetic use of science to elucidate the causes of cancer.” Steingraber received a Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund and the Environmental Health Champion Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles.
Recognized for her ability to serve as a two-way translator between scientists and activists, Steingraber has keynoted conferences on human health and the environment throughout the United States and Canada and has been invited to lecture at many medical schools, hospitals, and universities–including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, and the Woods Hole Research Center. She has testified in the European Parliament, at the European Commission, before the President’s Cancer Panel, and has participated in briefings to Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, and before United Nations delegates in Geneva, Switzerland. Interviews with Steingraber have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Rolling Stone, Outside Magazine, on National Public Radio, CBS News, “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” and “Bill Moyers & Company.”
A contributing essayist and editor for Orion magazine, Sandra Steingraber is currently a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.
Renee Vogelsang is a clean energy and climate activist based in Syracuse, NY. Renee has been organizing on social and environmental issues since 2002, working with organizations at the grassroots, local, state and national level. Renee is an alumni of NYPIRG, Clean Water Action, Food & Water Watch and Citizen Action NY. From 2010 to 2015, Renee worked on the historic statewide campaign to ban fracking in New York. She was a co-founder and co-coordinator of the New Yorkers Against Fracking coalition and organized several critical mass actions including the first statewide rally to ban fracking in 2011, the State of the State Address, the New York Crossroads rally and Governors Day at the New York State Fair. Since the ban on fracking, Renee has been working on the transition to renewable energy, energy efficiency and electric vehicles with fellow organizers at New Yorkers for Clean Power, Frack Action, ACE NY, AGREE, NY-GEO and several others. Renee is also working on documenting the transition to renewable energy in New York and beyond. Check it out at RoadtoRenewables.org.
Kristen Walker is the embodiment of #BlackGirlMagic. Armed with a Bachelors in African and African American Studies and English she uplifts black femmes in Rochester, NY as the Co-Founder of Flower City Noire Collective.Her passion for creating inclusive body positive,sex positive,black joy spaces fuels her work as an activist and educator. Follow her on Instagram @heytherekris or on Facebook at Kristen Walker.
Marguerite Wells was originally an organic farmer and green roof plant grower. She then founded Black Oak Wind Farm, a 7-turbine community owned wind project that is not operating in Tompkins County NY. She now works for Invenergy developing large wind, solar, and battery storage projects around NY.