Cities & Communities Leading Change

TUE, NOV 10, 2015 (1:32:03)

Here are examples of cities pursuing resilience through green energy and community organizing. Examples come from New York City and the South Bronx, and from Holyoke, Massachusetts. The final speaker describes the new Carbon Conversion XPrize challenge. Speakers Kara Miller 00:00:25 Adam Freed 00:01:56 Angela Tovar 00:19:04 Elena Letona 00:38:40 Marcius Extavour 01:00:58 Panel Three Q&A 01:16:57

+ BIO: Kara Miller

Kara Miller is the host and executive editor of the public radio program Innovation Hub, which she helped launch in 2011. The program now airs on more than 120 stations, including New York, Chicago, Boston, Houston, and Philadelphia. Innovation Hub is a weekly, hour-long show that focuses on big ideas and new research. As a host, Kara has interviewed Steve Wozniak, Sherry Turkle, Jared Diamond, Sal Khan, Yo-Yo Ma, Marissa Mayer, and Garry Kasparov, among others. Her writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, The National Journal,, The Huffington Post and The International Herald Tribune. Kara has also contributed to other national radio programs, including “The Takeaway,” “Marketplace Tech,” and “The World.” Kara holds a Ph.D. from Tufts and a B.A. from Yale.

+ BIO: Adam Freed

Adam Freed leads Bloomberg Associates’ Sustainability Practice, where he helps cities craft and implement sustainability strategies that go well beyond the environment— cutting costs, protecting health, and creating jobs. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Adam was the deputy managing director of The Nature Conservancy’s Global Water Program, where he helped cities have safe, sustainable, and reliable water supplies. From 2008–2012, he served as deputy director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability, overseeing the implementation of PlaNYC and related sustainability initiatives and developing the city’s first climate resilience program. As part of PlaNYC, NYC planted 1 million trees, enacted aggressive green buildings legislation, achieved the cleanest air quality in over 50 years, launched a $2 billion green infrastructure program, and lowered its GHG emissions 19%. Adam was also an assistant comptroller in the Office of the New York State Comptroller, where he worked on economic development issues and crafted corporate governance strategies for the State’s $150 billion pension fund. Adam is a lecturer at Columbia University and a member of the NYC Water Board. He received his master’s in urban planning from NYU and was a Mel King Community Fellow at MIT.

+ BIO: Angela Tovar

Angela Tovar has worked as a community planner, advocate, and non-profit manager for over 10 years. She currently serves as the director of community development for The POINT CDC, a non-profit organization located in the South Bronx. In her current position, Angela oversees community partnerships, advocacy, and environmental justice efforts, including the development of a community-based climate resiliency plan. Prior to joining The POINT CDC, Angela spent 4 years at Sustainable South Bronx as the director of policy and research, where she managed the organization’s policy and community greening programs. Angela has also worked as a research fellow for The Center for Community Planning and Development at Hunter College and served as a senior manager of corporate volunteerism for Chicago Cares, where she coordinated large-scale community volunteer projects for companies, including Target, Home Depot, and Deloitte. Angela’s passion for social and environmental justice stems from her experience growing up on the industrial waterfront of Lake Michigan on Chicago’s south side. She holds a BA in urban studies from the College of Charleston, in Charleston, SC, and a master’s degree in urban planning from Hunter College in New York City.

+ BIO: Elena Letona

Elena Letona directs Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, a membership organization of the New Majority—people who are low-income, working class, women, immigrants, and people of color—that deeply cares about economic and environmental justice. Neighbor to Neighbor advances its mission through community organizing, leadership development, voter empowerment, and movement building. Elena was previously executive director of Centro Presente, an immigrant rights organization dedicated to achieving the self-determination of the Central and Latin American immigrant community of Massachusetts. While at Centro Presente, she was named a Barr Foundation Fellow.

+ BIO: Marcius Extavour

Marcius Extavour, director of technical operations at NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, is a leader working at the intersection of science, technology, policy, and public engagement. His primary interests are the social, policy, and technology approaches to clean and sustainable energy systems, as well as the quantum technologies of the future.He has held a variety of leadership and team-oriented roles within government, academia, and industry, including at the US Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, where he held the OSA/SPIE/AAAS Congressional Science & Technology Policy Fellowship, and more recently at the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto, where he served as director of government and industry partnerships. Marcius holds a PhD and MSc in quantum optics and atomic physics and a BASc in engineering science from the University of Toronto. Outside of the office and the lab, Marcius loves teaching and is active in engaging young and early-career scientists interested in careers outside of academia.

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