A wide range of local people and organizations are addressing the climate crisis in areas such as water, air, food, energy, health, public transit, housing, jobs, movement building, education, and more. Each will be offering perspectives on what a Green New Deal could look like in Western Pennsylvania and what actions we can take right now to make it a reality
Jamil Bey, PhD
Jamil is the founder and president of the UrbanKind Institute, a think-and-do consultancy committed to providing direction to improve policies, programs, and practices that are kind to urban people and environments; the root of sustainability. Under Dr. Bey’s leadership and direction, the UrbanKind Institute has become one of the Pittsburgh region’s premier public policy consultancies. Prized for our ability to do the complicated tasks of bringing people from all sectors and with often competing interests together to create actionable solutions.
Jamil is a human geographer with 8 years of post-doctoral research and analysis of policy and practices that improve efficiency and outcomes in human experiences. As a researcher, analyst, and consultant he specializes in challenging common assumptions about ordinary concerns while bringing alternative perspectives for consideration. Trained as both a professional geographer and as an educator, Dr. Bey excels in spatial analysis and synthesis, pedagogy, and instruction. His primary focus is on spatial, and location analysis. His integrated-systems view of the world provides highly contextualized conclusions, and recommendations that consider the interconnectivity of economics, politics, history, culture, health, social movements, and the environment in his analyses.
Continued Service Position Since
• Pittsburgh Food Policy Council Steering Committee Ex Officio 2015
• Pittsburgh Land Bank Board Vice Chair 2015
• Landforce Board Member Board member 2015
• Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission Commissioner 2016
• Penn State Center Pittsburgh Advisory Council Council member 2016
• Beltzhoover Consensus Group Board member 2017
• Rethinking Education, Advocacy, & Development for Youth (READY) Network Founder 2017
• The Forbes Fund Advisory Council Advisor 2018
• Black Environmental Collective Founder 2018
• Pittsburgh Housing Opportunity Fund Board member 2018
The Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh
Raqueeb Bey iis an urban agriculturist, community activist and mother of six phenomenal children. She is the Garden Resource Coordinator for Grow Pittsburgh Garden Resource Center, a tool lending library in Pittsburgh’s East End. In 2011, Raqueeb founded Mama Africa’s Green Scouts, a youth program that teaches community gardening, green sustainability, African-centered culture and community leadership skills. She also founded the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op (BUGS FPC) in June of 2015, where she is the Executive Director. Raqueeb also volunteers for Landslide Community Farms. She has served as steering committee member for the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, is a steering committee member for PaWagn and a steering committee member for the Homewood Collaborative and chairs the Homewood Sustainability Action Team. Raqueeb is on the subcommittee for the eco innovation district and The Real Estate Task Force Committee for the Uptown Partners. Raqueeb attended Alleghany County Community College for Business Management and enjoys working with diverse organizations and people to create sustainable food sovereignty solutions for our communities.
President & CEO of The Forbes Funds, a supporting organization of The Pittsburgh Foundation, and a philanthropic organization focused on strengthening the management capacity and impact of community nonprofits in the Pittsburgh area. Mr. Brown has been a climate justice trainer, environmental justice leader, policy analyst, adjunct professor, dean of students, teacher, coach, mentor, certified Juvenile Justice Judge’s trainer (TOT), certified conflict mediation and resolution trainer (TOT), master consultant, supervisor, director, and executive director of non-profit organizations since 1987. A specific focus of Mr. Brown’s work includes bridging the divide between minority communities and their knowledge regarding energy reduction planning, carbon footprint analysis, and environmental justice leadership. Mr. Brown has helped to rewrite public policy through the Transportation Equity Network (WIN) that revised federal guidelines regarding public participation and transportation equity. He has also previously worked for the Kingsley Association developing green/sustainable communities through holistic visioning, resident capacity building, community empowerment, micro/macro planning and sustainable redevelopment implementation. Mr Brown helped to launch the first Transition Towns approved Urban Transitions Cities Movement, working with the City of Pittsburgh for the last two years to establish Pittsburgh as the second US city to adopt the UNSDGs. He served as one of the tri-chairs of the 2019 Ecodistricts conference, held in Pittsburgh.
President of Sunrise Movement Pittsburgh Chapter
Planetary scientist turned environmental educator and activist ( GASP, PASUP, 350Pgh, CCL, CRL), organizer/ host of Sustainability Salons and MarensList, urban permaculture micro-farmer.
Rev. John Creasy
Rev. John Creasy is the founder of Garfield Community Farm and the Farm’s current Executive Director. He is also a Pastor at The Open Door Church, a missional church community that worships at the Bloomfield/Garfield Activity Center in Garfield. John has loved the steep learning curve of becoming an urban farmer, using permaculture design, and learning to engage the community over the past twelve years. In 2016 John was recognized at one of PIttsburgh’s 40 under 40 by PIttsburgh Magazine, highlighting his work with Garfield Community Farm. Since it’s inception Garfield Community Farm has been a place of experimentation around sustainable urban food production, ecological restoration and community activism. John also does permaculture design consultation and contracting for home owners and farmers in and around the Pittsburgh region. John lives with his family a mile from the farm in Stanton Heights where they practice permaculture in their 90 year old home with rainwater collection, solar power, off grid heating and a small backyard garden. In addition to farming John and his wife Alyssa create music together as This Side of Eve.
Rosamaria Cristello: Executive Director and Founder of the Latino Community Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Before launching the community center, Rosamaria directed the Latino Family Center under the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, which focuses on early childhood development. Rosamaria serves on several boards. She is the Co-Chair for the Immigrants & Internationals Advisory Council for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, which was created to advance the Department’s vision of an accessible, culturally competent, human services system. She also serves on the board of the Office of Child Development under the University of Pittsburgh.
Originally from Guatemala, Rosamaria grew up in Arlington, Virginia and now resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. First to go to college in her family, she received her bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Regional Planning and Geographic Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in Public Administration through the Graduate School of Public & Internationals Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Rosamaria was named one of Pittsburgh’s 40 Under 40 in 2016 and was the first recipient of the Barbara McNeese Spirit of Athena Award which provides free tuition to the CMU Women’s Leadership and Negotiation Academy.
Dr. Patricia DeMarco
Patricia M. DeMarco is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. with a doctorate in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. She has spent a thirty -year career in energy and environmental policy in both private and public sector positions. She is a Rachel Carson Scholar and served as Executive Director of the Rachel Carson Homestead Association and Director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University. She holds the office of Vice President of the Forest Hills Borough Council. She sits as Secretary on the Board of Trustees for Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Her book, titled “Pathways to Our Sustainable Future – A Global Perspective from Pittsburgh” explores positive pathways toward sustainability, based on 28 case studies in Pittsburgh. She is the Executive Producer of a documentary film with Mark E. Dixon, “The Power of One Voice- A 50 Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson” and has served as technical advisor for a video series with Kirsi Jansa titled “Sustainability Pioneers” Awards include the 2019 Carnegie Science Award in Environment, the Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light Visionary Award for 2018 and the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences 2017 William R. Freudenburg Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Neil Donahue
Director, Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research
Neil Donahue is a professor in the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. He seeks to understand how Earth’s atmosphere works, and how humans affect the atmosphere. One of his objectives is to help all graduating Carnegie Mellon students understand the climate problem and to apply their outstanding problem solving skills to solutions of this enormous challenge. He is a member of numerous professional societies, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for Aerosol Research, and an editor with several academic journals. Donahue’s research group focuses on the behavior of organic compounds in Earth’s atmosphere. They are world experts in studying what happens to compounds from both natural sources and human activity when they are emitted into the atmosphere. Recently his research has focused on the origin and transformations of very small organic particles, which play a critical role in climate change and human health. Donahue received a B.S. in Physics from Brown University in 1985, a Ph.D. in meteorology from MIT in 1991, and spent nine years as a research scientist at Harvard before returning to Pittsburgh in 2000. He lives with his wife Maren Cooke and daughters Kielan and Innes in Squirrel Hill. They have three kW of photovoltaic solar panels on their roof. Donahue is also an avid road cyclist; you may find him on one hill or another around town.
Rachel has worked at GASP since 2001, and became executive director in 2004. She has a degree in environmental studies from the University of Pittsburgh.During her tenure here, she has spearheaded new Allegheny County air quality legislation, increased GASP’s educational work in local communities and schools, and kept air pollution issues in the public eye. Under her leadership, GASP has developed a comprehensive diesel program and the Athletes United for Healthy Air campaign. In 2009, she was named one of Pittsburgh’s “40 Under 40,” and in 2011 one of the Women and Girls Foundation’s “Women Greening the Pittsburgh Region.” Rachel was appointed to Allegheny County’s Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee in 2017 and she currently serves on the board of Pittsburgh United.
Al Hart joined the United Electrical Workers (UE) his first day on the job at the Erie GE plant in October 1973, and was a UE activist until his retirement in 2017. He worked at GE for 13 years and later served the union as a field organizer and negotiator for 20 years in Connecticut, West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana. In 2006 he became managing editor of the union’s national newspaper, the UE News, and moved to Pittsburgh, which is UE’s national headquarters.
When he started at Erie GE, the plant employed nearly 20,000 and manufactured locomotives, commuter rail cars, and a variety of electrical products. (Workers at the plant still build locomotives.) Al noticed that members of several other UE locals, including Local 610 in Allegheny County, also produced equipment for the railroad industry. So he wrote a resolution, which his local submitted to the 1975 UE National Convention, where it was adopted, that called for expanding rail transit and rebuilding the U.S. rail system, not only to create jobs, but to reduce energy consumption and improve the environment. The ideas in that resolution have remained UE policy to this day.
Kirsi Jansa is a documentary filmmaker and a journalist specializing in environment, health and sustainability. She is also a visiting research scholar and video journalist. Kirsi is the producer of Gas Rush Stories, a series of short documentaries on shale gas exploration. In 2014 Kirsi started producing Sustainability Pioneers, short documentaries on transition to renewable energy future. Kirsi is a native of Finland, where she worked for the Finnish Broadcasting Company, TV2, and several magazines as a freelance reporter and journalist since 1993. She has been living in Pittsburgh since 2008.
Stewardship and Community Engagement Manager for City of Bridges Community Land Trust, building diverse, equitable community ownership that preserves permanent affordability.
Ned Ketyer, M.D., F.A.A.P.
AAP Council on Environmental Health
SWPA Environmental Health Project (consultant)
Physicians for Social Responsibility – Pennsylvania (board member)
Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps
Dr. Ned Ketyer is a Pittsburgh-area pediatrician with special interests in developmental pediatrics, preventative medicine, and environmental health. After practicing for more than 26 years at Pediatric Alliance, Dr. Ketyer retired from office practice at the beginning of 2017, however, he continues to write and edit his practice’s popular blog, The PediaBlog. Before his retirement, Dr. Ketyer was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Currently, Dr. Ketyer is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health. He serves on the Breathe Collaborative in Allegheny County, raising the awareness of health care providers about the region’s historic and contemporary air pollution and health challenges. He is a consultant for the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project bringing attention to the health impacts of shale gas development in the Marcellus Shale gas patch, a board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility – Pennsylvania, and a Climate Reality Project Leader. In all these roles, Dr. Ketyer connects the vast petrochemical “clusterfrack” underway in SW Pennsylvania with the local and regional health impacts currently experienced by residents, and the global ecological and public health catastrophes resulting from plastic pollution and climate change that threaten the health and well-being of all travelers on this shining ball of blue.
Verónica Lozada is our newly appointed Community Organizer. Verónica started with Casa San José as a volunteer in 2016 when she relocated to Pittsburgh from the Philadelphia area. With a degree in Psychology from the University of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, she brings great insight and skill resolving the daily emotional challenges for our families. Verónica joined our staff as an ISAC Services Coordinator for our immigrant families, with the primary role of providing referrals and coordination to social service opportunities that are imperative for long-term self-sufficiency. She developed a unique insight in working with high need communities in the West Chester and Kennett Square communities of Pennsylvania, managing public charter school operations and community service organizations.
Verónica has also managed and developed food service programs developed a local gardening program, and she has expertise in volunteer management. Verónica’s years of experience in social services and family-based education enhance our organization with innovative solutions, personal insights, creative perspectives and high level of cultural sensitivity for our immigrant families.
The Our Water Campaign works to ensure safe, affordable, publicly controlled water for all. The coalition is comprised of local groups who recognize that our need for safe and healthy drinking water is too important to be left in the hands of corporations. A lack of investment and repair of Allegheny County’s public water systems has contributed to disastrous flooding and sewer backups, along with dangerously high levels of lead in our drinking water. All the while our water and sewer rates continue to increase. The OWC is working with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint, and ALCOSAN to address these problems with sustainable and equitable solutions. OWC Coalition partners include: Pittsburgh United, Clean Water Action, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, Grounded Strategies, Sierra Club, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, Nine Mile Run Watershed, Women for a Healthy Environment, Hill District Consensus Group, Thomas Merton Center, and One Pennsylvania.
Heather McClain is an Environmental Justice Organizer for One PA and part of the Our Water Campaign. She has a background in public radio journalism and community relations. Her drive as an organizer is fueled by a love for people who work to build equity where they live and preserve nature within urban settings. Heather is originally from the southwestern suburbs of Philadelphia. And while she misses the Philadelphia area in many ways, Pittsburgh feels like home because of its unique neighborhoods, its steep green hillsides, and the small town experience of running into familiar faces anywhere in the city.
As Director of Tree Care and Reforestation, Jake oversees tree maintenance operations in the field. Working with volunteer groups and seasonal staff, Jake coordinates projects to keep street trees healthy in commercial and industrial portions of the city where there is little Tree Tender support. In residential areas where there is Tree Tender support, Jake works directly with neighborhood Tree Tenders to schedule and support their communities’ tree care through regular events like Mulching Parties and Pruning Workshops. Jake is also in charge of Tree Pittsburgh’s reforestation projects along greenways where the tree canopy has been impacted by invasive species. To advance these projects, Jake organizes volunteers and staff to plant new trees and maintain these sites. Jake holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Bucknell University and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Horticulture and Ecological Restoration from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Jake is an ISA Certified Arborist and an active member of the Pennsylvania/Delaware chapter of the ISA.
Wasiullah (Wasi) Mohamed
Wasiullah (Wasi) Mohamed is a life-long Pennsylvania resident. He was born in Harrisburg, raised in Enola, and moved to Pittsburgh in 2011 to attend the University of Pittsburgh.
After serving as the Director of Islamic Center of Pittsburgh Food Pantry for two years, Wasi was selected to be ICP’s Executive Director in 2015. In this position, Wasi worked to empower, educate, and unite the diverse community in Western PA through social services and outreach programs. From 2016 to 2018, Wasi was the Executive Director of Emgage PA, where he coordinated political education and organizing activities throughout the commonwealth. Wasi currently is the Pittsburgh Director of Community Entrepreneurship at Forward Cities, national capacity-building and learning network working within and between cities and micropolitans to create more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem development. Wasi will be working with FC the next two years to make Pittsburgh a place that will no longer leave minority entrepreneurs under-resourced, under-connected, and under-represented. In 2016, he was appointed by Mayor Bill Peduto to the Commission on Human Relations (protecting civil rights) and Welcoming Pittsburgh Commission (encouraging immigrant and refugee inclusion), and was elected chair of both Commissions. He was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf to serve on the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, and he has recently been appointed chair. Also in 2018, Wasi was elected to the ACLU Pennsylvania State Board of Directors.
BS in Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh ’17
BA in Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh ’17
BA in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh ’17
Masters in Public Management, Carnegie Mellon University ’21
build power with multi-racial working people who have been directly impacted by environmental injustices throughout Wetern PA. While the work is local, Briann is committed to building a movement which will liberate working people from the harms and pains that capitalism, racism, and other systems of oppression bring. Through endless reading and learning from past struggles and imagining what a better, brighter future might bring, Briann is motivated by Assata Shakur’s wisdom: “Dreams and reality are opposites. Action synthesizes them.”
Paul O’Hanlon is a 1979 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. For 14 years, Mr. O’Hanlon worked for a disability rights law firm where he specialized in matters around housing, voting, and transportation. Before that Mr. O’Hanlon was the Senior Housing Attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services Association in Pittsburgh, where he worked for more than twenty years. Mr. O’Hanlon has served in a leadership capacity of various state and local disability advisory bodies, as well as non-partisan voting coalitions. He has also served on the boards of several local community non-profits. Mr. O’Hanlon is currently active with several local advocacy efforts around disability, poverty, housing, transportation and voting issues. Mr. O’Hanlon was the recipient of the 2007 Allegheny County Bar Foundation Edward G. O’Connor Fellows Award, which recognizes attorneys who have shown a commitment to excellence in charitable, community, professional and public service activities. Mr. O’Hanlon was also the 2007 ACHIEVA Excellence in Advocacy awardee.
Before joining the United Steelworkers Education & Membership Development Department as a labor
educator in January of 2011, Guillermo worked as a labor educator with the Civil Service Employees
Association, AFSCME Local 1000, based in Albany, New York. He has worked as a trainer/recruiter with
the AFL-CIO’s Organizing Institute and an organizer with the Service Employees International Union
Guillermo holds a Juris Doctor (JD) from the Illinois Institute of Technology, a Master’s in
Communication from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor’s in English Literature from the
University of Chicago. He currently serves on the national executive board of the Labor Council for Latin
American Advancement (LCLAA) and the executive board of Casa San José, a nonprofit welcome and
resources center for Latino families in Pittsburgh. He is also the president and a founding member of
the Pittsburgh chapter of LCLAA.
Emergency Response Organizer
Laura Perkins is Casa San Jose’s Emergency Response Organizer. In addition to immediately responding to ICE detentions and their consequences, she accompanies people to ICE check-ins, coordinates Casa San Jose’s PA is Ready! community engagement, and generally responds to many of our urgent organizing needs.
Laura came to Casa San Jose after nonprofit human rights work in Honduras and Nicaragua, throughout two political crises. Before that, she ran an ESL program in Washington, DC, where she obtained her B.A. in International Relations and interned at various nonprofits. Laura is a native of the mighty hills of Pittsburgh, and she feels a personal obligation to put her international crisis experience to work by actively challenging the status quo and responding to the injustices her neighbors suffer.
Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council
Dawn has extensive experience serving as director, co-founder and coordinator of local, national and international networks, researcher, coalition builder, community organizer, fundraiser, event and program developer, and has worked for 19 years alongside leaders most impacted by critical issues of food, food systems, as well as economic, social and racial inequality.
Since 2014, Dawn has worked with her team to strengthen the Council as a regional mechanism for food systems decision-making, priority setting and cross sectoral collaboration that aims to build a just, equitable and sustainable food system. She has served in various leadership roles working on issues of poverty, food, sustainable agriculture, health, human rights and community development. Dawn has an MA from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. She serves on the Allegheny County Health Department Food Safety Advisory Committee, ACHD Plan for a Healthier Allegheny -Chronic Disease Working Group, Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations -Fair Housing Task Force, Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance, the PA Department of Agriculture Urban Agriculture Advisory Committee, the Johns Hopkins Food Policy Networks, and the Food Systems Leadership Network.
Carl Redwood, Jr. is a social worker and has participated in various community organizing efforts on the local, national, and international levels. He has been a part time faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work for many years. Carl is active with the Hill District Consensus Group and the local chapter of Homes for All, working to build the leadership and power of low-income and working class residents of the Hill District to advance racial and economic justice in our neighborhoods, our schools and our city. Carl serves as Co-Chair on the board of Pittsburgh United, a coalition of community, labor, faith, and environmental organizations committed to advancing the vision of a community and economy that work for all people. He is also a board member of The Abolitionist Law Center, a public interest law firm inspired by the struggle of political and politicized prisoners, and organized for the purpose of abolishing class and race based mass incarceration in the United States.
Dr. Dan Sheid
Duquesne University Associate Professor of Theology; author of The Cosmic Common Good: Religious Grounds for Ecological Ethics; research focus on interreligious ecological ethics.
Jackie Smith is professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and an activist/organizer who co-founded and co-coordinates the Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance. Smith serves on the national steering committee of the National Human Rights Cities Alliance, and is co-founder of the International Network of Scholar-Activists. She also works closely with May First/People Link, a technology and communications justice organization. An article on the Human Rights City project in Pittsburgh appeared in a recent issue of Studies in Social Justice (available online).
For more than 50 years, Mike Stout has been an anti-war, union and community organizer. He was the last Local 1397 Union Grievance Chair at the U.S. Steel Homestead Works, where he won more than $10 million in back pay, severance pay and pensions for displaced employeed. He ran a successful printshop worker-owned cooperative for 25 years, and currently is President of the Allegheny Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, the oldest environmental conservation organization in the United States, which is currently working on cleaning up our air, water, and foodchain, as well as building the biggest coalition possible for this year’s Earth Day. He is a singer/songwriter and recording artist, with 18 CDs and more than 150 labor, environmental, anti-war and social justice songs written and recorded, having used his music to raise tens of thousands of dollars for a host of social and economic justice causes.
Jay Ting Walker
Jay Ting Walker is a Community Organizer at Pennsylvania environmental non-profit Clean Air Council. Jay is a member of Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Bike Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh DSA. He’s also the Chair of the Green Party of Allegheny County and the Secretary of the Allegheny County Transit Council. Jay studied Biology and Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he was active in environmental activism. In his free time, Jay is passionate about ultimate frisbee, board games, Starcraft, and watching soccer.
Director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit
Laura Chu Wiens has been a member of the PPT board since 2013 and involved in its resident campaigns to restore bus service to transit deserts. She assumed the staff position in June 2017. Laura has her roots in labor organizing with Unite HERE, and draws from her experience recruiting and training leaders in the service industry to Laura is Chinese-American, and believes in the collective power of people to transform their communities. In her free time, she sings with a jazz ensemble and plays with her two babes, Gabriel and Hazel.
An organizer with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America based in Pittsburgh, Ben represents and organize workers from a variety of industries, including manufacturing and education. Before that, I worked for SEIU out of Cleveland and Youngstown working as an organizer representing workers in the hospital, mental health, nursing home, and assisted living industries. I was formerly a graduate student in anthropology and member of the graduate student union (TUGSA) at Temple University. At Temple, I worked as a teaching assistant, served as President of the Visual Anthropology Society at Temple (VAST), and earned my MA doing fieldwork (in Tel Aviv) and writing my thesis on Zionist Ideology and the African Asylum Seeking Community in Israel.