Plenary Presenters

Tuesday, September 24

Sylvester (Jim) Gates
Brown Theoretical Physics Director, Ford Foundation Professor of Physics, Department of Physics, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island https://sites.brown.edu/sjgates/

Presentation Time: Tuesday, September 24, 7:15 PM

Presentation Title: Challenges of ‘Anthropocenic' Policy-Making: A View From Inside A Policy-Formation Organization

Presentation Abstract:
As a member of the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology during the Obama administration, the speaker had the opportunity to view the process of formulating policy to deal with the challenges of Global Climate Change as the topic competing with other similar challenges for the nation. A retrospective on this will be given.

Sylvester James "Jim" Gates, Jr., (born December 15, 1950) is an American theoretical physicist. He received two B.S. degrees and a Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the latter in 1977. His doctoral thesis was the first one at MIT to deal with supersymmetry. In 2017, Gates retired from the University of Maryland, and is currently the Ford Foundation Professor of Physics, an Affiliate Mathematics Professor, and a Faculty Fellow, Watson Institute for International Studies & Public Affairs at Brown University. While at the University of Maryland, College Park, Gates was a University System Regents Professor, the John S. Toll Professor of Physics, the Director of the String and Particle Theory Center, and Affiliate Professor of Mathematics. Gates served on the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, contemporaneously on the Maryland State Board of Education from 2009-2016, and the National Commission on Forensic Science from 2013-2016. He is known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory. In 1984, working with M.T. Grisaru, M. Rocek, W. Siegel, Gates co-authored Superspace, the first comprehensive book on the topic of supersymmetry. In 2017, working with Frank Blitzer and Stephen Jacob Sekula, he co-authored Reality in the Shadows (Or) What the Heck's the Higgs? In 2019, together with Cathie Pelletier, he co-authored Proving Einstein Right: The Daring Expeditions that Changed How We Look at the Universe. In 2006, he completed a DVD series titled Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality for The Teaching Company composed of 24 half-hour lectures to make the complexities of unification theory comprehensible to non-physicists. In 2012, he was named a University System of Maryland Regents Professor, only the sixth person so recognized in the system's history. He is a past president of the National Society of Black Physicists, and is a NSBP Fellow, as well as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Physics in the U.K. He also is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first African-American theoretical physicist so recognized in its 150-year history. On November 16, 2013, Prof. Gates was awarded the Mendel Medal by Villanova University "in recognition of his influential work in supersymmetry, supergravity and string theory, as well as his advocacy for science and science education in the United States and abroad." President Obama awarded Prof. Gates the 2011 National Medal of Science, the highest award given to scientists in the U.S., at a White House ceremony in 2013. During 2014, he was named the Harvard Foundation's "Scientist of the Year." In 2018, he was elected to serve in the presidential line as Vice President of the American Physical Society. In 2015, he became a member of the Board of Directors of the Achieve, Inc. He continues to broadly engage video documentaries with appearances or cameos. He currently continues his research in supersymmetry in systems of particles, fields, and strings.

Wednesday, September 25

Mary Jane Angelo
Professor of Law, Director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Program, and University Term Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law https://www.law.ufl.edu/faculty/mary-jane-angelo

Presentation Time: Wednesday, September 25, 9:15 AM

Presentation Title: Food Security, Industrialized Agriculture, and a Changing Global Climate

Presentation Abstract:
Despite the dramatic improvements in food production in developed countries due, at least in part, to a system of industrialized agriculture that grew out of the "Green Revolution" of the mid-20th century, food security has been elusive throughout much of the world. The promise of high production agriculture feeding the world was never realized and industrialized agriculture brought with it serious human health and environmental problems including, widespread water pollution, toxic air pollution, farmworker poisonings and birth defects in children of farmworkers, the global pollinator crisis, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and harm to threatened and endangered species. Global climate change will intensify the enormous challenge of achieving world-wide food security, particularly in the poorest and most vulnerable countries. Although the impacts of climate change on agriculture will vary based on geographic location and other factors, there is widespread agreement that climate change will result in significant reduction in crop yields, increased food prices, and decreased food security for millions of people, particularly in the developing world. Crop yields are predicted to decrease by 10 to 25% globally, and up to a 40% in some regions, during the same timeframe that a growing population will raise the demand for agricultural production by approximately 60%. Decreased agricultural productivity coupled with increased food prices resulting from climate change could cause millions of people to fall into poverty in the next 15 years. Historically, U.S. agricultural policy has incentivized industrialized agriculture while at the same time, U.S. environmental law has failed to adequately address the serious health and environmental risk of these practices. Climate impacts make it imperative to develop agricultural systems that are more adaptive and resilient. Policy choices today could dramatically influence whether future generations have adequate food and food security.

Mary Jane Angelo is a Professor of Law, Director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Program, and University Term Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She is also Affiliate Faculty in both the University of Florida School of Natural Resources and Water Institute. Professor Angelo has published extensively on a variety of environmental law topics including pesticide law, endangered species law, water and wetlands law, sustainable agriculture, the regulation of genetically modified organisms, and the relationship between law and science. Her articles have been published in the Texas Law Review, the Wake Forest Law Review, The Colorado Law Review, the George Mason Law Review, the Harvard Environmental Law Review, Ecology Law Quarterly, and Environmental Law. She recently publish the book: Research Handbook on Climate Change and Agricultural Law (co-editor with Anel Du Pleissis, Edward Elgar, 2017). In 2013, she published two books: Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Law (with William S. Eubanks and Jason Czarnezki, Environmental Law Institute 2013) and The Law and Ecology of Pesticides and Pest Management (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2013). Professor Angelo has served on two National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council Committees: The Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress; and the Committee on Ecological Risk Assessment under FIFRA and the ESA. She is a former a member of the Vermont law School Summer faculty and has taught and lectured throughout the United States and other parts of the world, including Brazil, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Belize and Poland. Professor Angelo is also a Member-Scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining academia, she practiced as an environmental lawyer for many years. She served in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of the Administrator and Office of General Counsel in Washington, D.C., and as Senior Assistant General Counsel for the St. Johns River Water Management District in Florida. She received her B.S., with High Honors, in biological sciences from Rutgers University, and both her M.S., in Entomology, and J.D., with Honors, from the University of Florida.

Wednesday, September 25

Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda
Professor of Theological and Social Ethics, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California, Lutheran University, Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Core Doctoral Faculty, The Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley

Presentation Time: Wednesday, September 25, 11:00 AM

Presentation Title: Hope, Radical Love, and Moral-Spiritual Power in Age of Climate Colonialism

Presentation Abstract:
Caused overwhelmingly by the world's high-consuming people, climate change is wreaking death and destruction first and foremost on impoverished people around the world who also are disproportionately people of color. Moreover, ‘climate privileged' societies and sectors may respond to climate change with policies and practices that enable us to survive with some degree of well-being under the limited conditions imposed by the planet's warming, while relegating the most ‘climate vulnerable' to death or devastation as a result of those conditions. Many leading voices of the Global South refer to this situation as "climate colonialism." However, an alternative justice-seeking response to the climate crisis is possible. In this context: where will we find the moral-spiritual power to resist ways of life that generate climate change and to rebuild more just and sustainable lifeways? What are the pathways to climate justice? This presentation raises these questions and then pursues them by identifying higher education and religion as profound sources of hope, courage, wisdom, vision and other ingredients of moral-spiritual power. What, we will ask, do the university and religion offer in the quest for climate justice?

Cynthia Moe-Lobeda has lectured or consulted in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and many parts of North America in theology; ethics; and matters of climate justice and climate racism, moral agency, globalization, economic justice, public church, eco-feminist theology, and faith-based resistance to systemic oppression. Her most recent book, Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation (Fortress, 2013), won a Nautilus Award for social justice. She also is author of Healing a Broken World: Globalization and God (Fortress, 2002), Public Church: For the Life of the World (Fortress, 2004), and numerous articles and chapters. She is co-author of Saint Francis and the Foolishness of God (Orbis, 1993, 2015); Say to this Mountain: Mark's Story of Discipleship (Orbis, 1996); and The Bible and Ethics: A New Conversation (Fortress Press, 2018). Dr. Moe-Lobeda was appointed theological consultant to the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and has served as a health worker/church worker in Honduras and as Director of the Washington, D.C. office of Augsburg College's Center for Global Education. She is a co-founder of Seattle University's Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability. Moe-Lobeda is Professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (of California Lutheran University), Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She holds a doctoral degree in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminary, affiliated with Columbia University. She loves hiking in the woods and mountains, and spending time with family and dear friends. The website for her most recent book is: http://resistingstructuralevil.com/

Wednesday, September 25

Ronan Barry
Spiritan Identity, Faith, and Mission Officer, Spiritan Education Trust, Dublin, Ireland

Presentation Time: Wednesday, September 25, 12:30 PM

Presentation Title: Spiritan Global Citizenship Education Program: Preparing for the New Challenges in Our Interconnected World

Presentation Abstract:
The Congregation of the Holy Spirit (The Spiritans) are called to serve in hope, solidarity, and faith with those most in need and especially with those who are most abandoned in society. The Congregation continues this mission today. "We count the following as constitutive parts of our mission of evangelization: the ‘integral liberation' of people, action for justice and peace, and participation in development" (Spiritan Rule of Life, 14). Spiritan Schools in Ireland were founded to teach and cultivate young individuals to serve this same mission. These schools share their Spiritan spirituality as a witness to their way of life and function as a local witness to their commitment to the Gospel and with the people whom they are called to attend.

The Educational ethos of the Congregation includes Openness to the Spirit, A Sense of Community, Option for the Poor, Global Vision, Commitment to Service, High Educational Standards and Holistic (Personal and Faith) Development. As part of the Spiritan school experience, the Spiritan ethos acknowledges and highlights the importance of ‘development education' as a vital core of the curriculum. Development education - as a continuing educational process - is intended to increase responsiveness and understanding of the swiftly changing, interdependent and unfair world. They engage students (and their families) in the investigation, reflection and action for local and global citizenship and contribution.

St Michael's College, an Irish College of the Spiritan Education Trust, will present on the Global Citizenship Education (GCE) program in the Irish Spiritan network. Global Citizenship Education aspires to enable learners to participate and undertake dynamic roles, both locally and globally, to face and solve global challenges and eventually to become proactive supporters to a more fair, peaceful, accepting, inclusive, secure and sustainable world (UNESCO, 2014). Built on the missionary tradition of the Congregation, GCE has been a core program within the Irish Spiritan Education experience for the past six years. During this time, school communities have recognized the significance of this program to empower students' personal values, to aid participation in a process of moral decision making, and to engage students in what it means to be active global citizens, with rights and responsibilities in local and wider contexts.

Ronan previously worked in the areas of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care within Spiritan schools. He had many years of experience working with Education and Mission through his work at the Mission Alive program located in the Irish Missionary Union.

Wednesday, September 25

Aurora Sharrard
Director, Office of Sustainability, the University of Pittsburgh https://www.sustainable.pitt.edu/

Presentation Time: Wednesday, September 25, 2:00 PM & Panel at 4:00 PM

Presentation Title: Sustainability Via Patience, Persistence, & Hope

Presentation Abstract:
Balancing equity, environment, and economics is hard. The answers are not always clear, the results must be predicted in advance, and every step is predicated on the assumption that we can make positive change happen despite fear, inertia, and apathy. In spite of the perceived obstacles, chasing true sustainability motivates individuals and organizations in a way that few aspirations can. While the outcomes may not always be ideal, every step is one in the right direction, simultaneously showcasing short- and long-term strategy and action. How do we get there? Together, with tenacity. Is change happening fast enough? Definitely not, but we can speed it up. Should we continue to strive? Every day with new courage and creativity.

Dr. Aurora Sharrard is the Director of Sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh, tasked with enabling the University's first campus-wide Sustainability Plan. Formalizing decades of green initiatives, the Pitt Sustainability Plan includes 61 measurable goals including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, incorporating sustainability into the curriculum, transparently communicating progress, and creating a culture of sustainability at the University. Dr. Sharrard leads Pitt's Office of Sustainability and University-wide sustainability strategy, activities, policies, collaborations, and partnerships. Prior to joining the University, Dr. Sharrard worked at Green Building Alliance (GBA) for 11 years, ultimately serving as its Executive Director. She led the nonprofit in advancing innovation in the built environment by empowering people to create environmentally, economically, and socially vibrant places. GBA is one of the oldest regional green building and organizations in the United States, with a focus on innovative, evidence-based, and collaborative work throughout Western Pennsylvania. In her time at GBA, Dr. Sharrard co-founded the Pittsburgh 2030 District, which boasts 500+ buildings aspiring towards 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by the year 2030. While at GBA, Dr. Sharrard also led the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative (PCI), Pittsburgh Green Story, DASH, and Product Innovation Grants. A nationally recognized green building and sustainability expert, Dr. Sharrard has also provided strategic and technical support to innumerable regional green building and sustainability projects. Aurora holds a Master's and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in Green Design from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Tulane University. She is a LEED AP BD+C and is Living Future Accredited.

Wednesday, September 25

Patricia M. DeMarco
Forest Hills Borough Council, 2016-2020; Visiting Researcher & Writer, Carnegie Mellon University; Senior Scholar and Adjunct Faculty, Chatham University; 2017 William Freudenburg Lifetime Achievement Award; 2018 Visionary of the Year- PA Interfaith Power and Light

Presentation Time: Wednesday, September 25, 3:00 PM & Panel at 4:00 PM

Presentation Title: Protecting the Rights of the Living Earth

Presentation Abstract:
The people of the 21st century face the existential crises of global warming and global pollution, both products of human activity. As varying responses emerge in a global context, three conditions for resolution are evident: these are not problems of technology with single technical solutions; solutions require integrating social and environmental considerations equal measure with economic considerations; and priorities must shift from monetary gains to preserving the functions of the living Earth if civilization is to survive. We are facing an ethical challenge that requires cooperation across boundaries, across ideologies and across cultures. Recognizing our common essential dependence on the functions of the Living Earth provides a unifying platform forward.

Patricia DeMarco, a Pittsburgh native, received her doctorate in Biology from The University of Pittsburgh. She spent a thirty -year career in energy and environmental policy, including as Demand Side Manager for the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative and as a Commissioner of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. She was Executive Director of the Rachel Carson Homestead Association and Director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University. She was elected in 2016 as a Member of the Forest Hills Borough Council. She is the author of Pathways to Our Sustainable Future, A Global Perspective from Pittsburgh, and teaches "Ethics and Public Policy" at Chatham University. She received the 2018 Visionary of the Year Award from Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light and is the 2019 Carnegie Science Environment Award recipient.

Wednesday, September 25

Thomas McQuillan
Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Culture and Sustainability at Baldor Specialty Foods, Inc.

Presentation Time: Wednesday, September 25, 7:00 PM

Presentation Title: The Food Asset Potential, Changing Cultural Norms to Reduce the Amount of Food We Waste

Presentation Abstract:
"Food assets are ours to cherish and utilize one hundred percent of the time or we can continue to squander these assets allowing them to negatively impact our environment and adversely affect profitability," says Thomas McQuillan, Vice President, Corporate Strategy of Sustainability and Culture at Baldor Specialty Food. Let's take a fresh look at food and how we can put to use all our food assets, waste nothing and learn how this change can put more healthy food into the hands of the food insecure, create additional profits at home and in our businesses and help to preserve and protect our environment for future generations.

Thomas McQuillan is a transformational executive with 25+ years of successful business leadership experience and a demonstrated skill for turning around underperforming organizations and spearheading acquisition and business integration initiatives. His strong convictions, relentless drive, and business acumen have enabled him to inspire personnel and lead organizations in propelling profits and achieving dramatic growth. From 2002 to 20014 Thomas managed the finances of IDC Corporation and eventually became its president. As president he transformed a distressed, privately owned construction materials distribution company with negative profits into a best in class enterprise. Over his more than 10 years with IDC, Thomas created and executed strategic initiatives that reduced debt and cash flow challenges while increasing sales, enhancing operational efficiency, and elevating customer satisfaction. In 2012, Thomas sold IDC to Distribution International based in Houston, and remained as president of IDC until March of 2014. In 2015, Thomas joined Baldor Specialty Foods, Inc. located in the Bronx, New York as serves on the company's executive team. As Director of Food Service Sales and Sustainability, Thomas is tasked with creating the strategic plan to make Balor more Sustainable. Thomas spearheaded the SparCs (scraps spelled backwards) initiative to reduce food waste throughout the company. Baldor's sustainability initiatives are also focused on overall waste reduction throughout the organization and the company has launched a number of initiatives to become more energy efficient. In 2016, Thomas assumed the role of Director of Food Service Sales and Sustainability. Servicing the restaurant trade for over 25 years is the core of our business at Baldor. Delivering world-class customer service and the highest quality produce and specialty food items, on time and complete is our mission and Thomas' number one priority. In 2018, Thomas was promoted to Vice President, Strategy, Culture and Sustainability. The primary sustainability objective this year is to achieve a zero organics waste to landfill goal company-wide.